Malaysia to Send 100,000 Indonesian Workers Home

KUALA LUMPUR ~ Nearly 100,000 Indonesian workers in Malaysia will be laid off and sent home by the end of the year as the economic downturn hits, a report said this week.

Malaysia has already banned the hiring of new foreign workers in factories, stores and restaurants due to fears the economic crisis will lead to more job losses for locals.

Indonesia’s ambassador to Malaysia, Da’i Bachtiar, told the New Straits Times that most of the lay-offs this year will be in the manufacturing sector.

He said that nearly 10,000 Indonesian workers in southern Johor state alone had already been sent home since the start of the year.

“We are expecting more workers to be laid off soon,” Da’i told the daily.

The ambassador said there were nearly two million Indonesian workers in Malaysia, including 800,000 illegals, and that 300,000 were employed in the manufacturing sector.

Malaysia is preparing a second economic stimulus package, following a US$2 billion plan unveiled last November, to help companies and workers who have lost their jobs as a result of the global economic downturn.

Malaysia – one of Asia’s largest importers of labor – last year hosted an estimated 2.2 million foreign workers, who are the mainstay of the plantation and manufacturing sectors.

However, the government has become concerned about the ramifications of having such a big migrant workforce and periodically tries to reduce it.

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