PETALING JAYA | Prioritising locals when it comes to employment is the right move as there are over 90,000 retrenched workers registered under the Employment Insurance System (EIS), while there are over 745,000 unemployed Malaysians who are outside the EIS scheme, says the Social Security Organisation (Socso).

During this challenging period, it is sensible that employers prioritise locals before opening up job opportunities to foreigners or expatriates, said its chief executive Datuk Seri Dr Mohammed Azman Aziz Mohammed (pic) concerning a newly-introduced requirement where employers must advertise vacancies and salaries for foreigners on a government portal.

“We see this policy as very timely, considering the rising unemployment due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“While some may see this policy as a short-term strategy that may not be able to address unemployment or may push investors away, Socso sees it as a positive transformation in the labour market, ” said Azman.

Malaysia has a large pool of local job seekers that can fill the openings, he said in a statement yesterday.

There are another 300,000 graduates who will be entering the labour market and competing with experienced workers.

“It is very critical at this point of time to introduce policies for the betterment of Malaysians, especially jobless individuals.

“With this policy implementation, we believe that we can gather sufficient information about the industry requirements in order to provide input for the education system to prepare curriculum that is resilient for future work, ” he added.

On Monday, The Star front-paged an article about the government requiring job vacancies and its details such as salary for foreign workers to be advertised on its official portal.

In the latest move, employers seeking to hire foreign workers and expatriates have to advertise over a fixed period on the national employment portal MYFutureJobs.

Azman said with the Hiring Incentive Programme under the National Economic Recovery Plan, employers could send local talents who might not possess a particular skill for training free of charge.

“Financial incentives are also provided for employers, ranging from RM800 to RM1,000 per employee, for up to six months.

“There are plenty of good talents here in Malaysia who can certainly fill many of the vacancies that employers intend to offer to foreigners, ” he said, urging employers to give them a chance.

He, however, noted that if employers had specific needs concerning their employees, they were allowed to hire foreigners after they failed to find suitable local candidates through job interviews.

“We recognise the need for diversity in the workplace or technology transfer by having expatriates in the country, ” he said.

“In fact, for key posts such as those in Category 1 (skilled employees with monthly salary of RM10,000 and above), employers may apply for exemption from advertising the vacancies or conducting interviews for local candidates.”