| 30 November 2022, Wednesday |

Malaysia firms turn down orders as migrant labour shortage hits

Malaysian businesses ranging from palm oil plantations to semiconductor manufacturers are declining orders and foregoing billions of dollars in sales, handicapped by a labor shortage of over a million people, which threatens the country’s economic recovery.

Despite lifting a COVID-19 freeze on recruiting foreign workers in February, Malaysia has not seen a significant return of migrant workers, according to industry groups, companies, and diplomats, due to slow government approvals and protracted negotiations with Indonesia and Bangladesh over worker protections.

The Southeast Asian nation, an important link in the global supply chain, relies on millions of immigrants for manufacturing, plantation, and service sector jobs that are seen as unclean, hazardous, and demanding by locals.

Manufacturers, who account for about one-fourth of the GDP, are concerned about losing consumers to other nations as development accelerates.

According to industry and government data, Malaysia is short at least 1.2 million employees in manufacturing, plantation, and construction, with the deficit growing everyday as demand rises with the end of the epidemic.

  • Reuters