PBK chief: Cheap foreign labour equals ‘modern slavery’, deport illegal foreigners immediately

Voon Lee Shan

KUCHING, Dec 11: Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president Voon Lee Shan has urged the Sarawak government to train local workers to take jobs in the State rather than allowing the employment of illegal foreign workers, claiming that using cheap foreign labour is akin to ‘modern slavery’.

Voon was responding to a statement made today by Datuk Gerawat Gala, Deputy Minister in the Premier’s Department (Labour, Immigration, and Project Monitoring), that the Sarawak Immigration Department will conduct a large-scale enforcement operation against illegal immigrants employed as workers after the Labour Recalibration Programme (RTK) 2.0 ends on Dec 31.

Gerawat noted that the Sarawak government is reminding employers to regularise illegal immigrants as legal workers before the RTK 2.0 deadline.

“We should train our own labour force to take jobs in the State. It should not be made an excuse that labour charges or wages demanded by locals are high and foreign labourers are cheaper than locals.

“Cheap labour means ‘modern slavery’, and we should get rid of slavery of all kinds just because of profits or commercial gains. He said that labourers are human beings and should be treated with respect and dignity,” he said.

He further asserted that the Sarawak government should not permit or encourage the employment of illegal foreign workers because it indicates that the State lacks a proper plan for developing skilled and semi-skilled manpower to assist Sarawak’s industries.

“What the State should do is to build more vocational schools to train workers, and laws should be passed to force industries to train their own skilled and semi-skilled local labourers.”

The PBK president added that the government should give incentives to help local industries train workers or labourers.

“Parti Bumi Kenyalang calls for the deportation of all illegal foreign workers found in Sarawak with immediate effect. They could cause disease and increase of crimes in the State,” he further alleged. — DayakDaily