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The introduction of the minimum wages policy has succeeded in encouraging more locals to seek employment in sectors which were previously monopolised by foreigners, said Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC), Deputy Secretary General, A. Balasubramaniam, reports bernama.com.my.
He said that the policy's positive effect was seen in more locals being employed at supermarkets, petrol pumps, cleaning services business, fast food outlets, and many other sectors traditionally staffed by foreign workers.
The policy, he added, had also helped families acquire better living quarters, afford more nutritious food, newer clothes, and a better overall living standard.
The minimum wage of MYR 900 (USD 280) per month in the Peninsular and MYR 800 (USD 249) in the island regions of Sabah and Sarawak was fully implemented in January this year.
Mr Balasubramaniam said the government should continue to maintain this tempo and should drastically reduce the importation of foreign workers.
At present there are an estimated two million legal foreign workers in Malaysia.
He explained that the MTUC was concerned because about 200 to 300 legal foreign workers were entering the country on a daily basis. Mr Balasubramaniam called on the government to temporarily halt the intake of foreigners so as to take stock of the available local labour demand.