The government should invest in Malaysians, instead of spending money to bring in and train 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers, the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) says.
"MTUC feels it is better if locals are given enough training, as well as good wages, to absorb them into the 3D - dangerous, difficult and dirty sector," MTUC secretary-general N Gopal Kishnam said today.
Gopal ( photo ) said while locals may not be interested in 3D jobs now, better wages could change their minds.
He cited the example of Malaysians thronging to travel back and forth to Singapore for work, including in 3D sectors, due to the good remuneration.
Last year Singapore set the basic wage for cleaners at S$1,000, which at the current exchange rate equals to about RM2,800.
In comparison, the minimum wage in Malaysia is RM900 in the peninsular, and RM800 in East Malaysia.
Besides better wages, MTUC also wants the government to solve the influx of foreign illegal workers before importing in more foreign labour.
"The country should not depend on foreign labour. This will surely be bad for the local economy and have a negative effect on the local people," Gopal added.
His call comes as news emerged that Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's brother, Abdul Hakim Hamidi, is bidding for a lucrative contract to set up a monitoring system for 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers Malaysia intends to bring in.
The Home Ministry has denied any element of nepotism, and said it would review the proposal fairly.