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Decline in Nepali workers in Malayasia due to weaker Ringgit

KATHMANDU : There has been a decline of Nepali workers arriving in Malaysia due to the weakening Ringgit. As the number of Nepali migrant workers coming to Malaysia has been decreasing despite rising demand over the last one and half years, there is a fear that employers here could start looking for alternatives to Nepalis. The decline has been attributed to the weakening of the Ringgit and Nepali employment agencies not sending workers to Malaysia in protest against the “free-visa free-ticket system”. “A few months ago, there were reports Malaysia would hire Sri Lankans for security guard jobs,” said a Malaysia-based Nepali entrepreneur. “Nepal is on the verge of losing is primacy in Malaysia.” As of the first 11 months of the fiscal year, a total of 51,484 Nepali workers came to Malaysia, down from 202,828 in the same period last fiscal. According to the Nepali entrepreneur, there is high demand for Nepali security guards, but companies here are finding it hard to hire Nepalis for the job. As per the Malaysian law, only Malaysian nationals and Nepalis can work as security guards here. 

However, due to limited supply of trained security guards from Nepal, Malaysia has been planning to hire workers from other countries like Sri Lanka, local media reported in May, quoting Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed. Besides the falling Ringgit and Nepali manpower agencies’ protests, the Malaysian government’s decision to suspend the recruitment of new foreign workers a few months ago created a severe shortage of workforce in here. The decision, aimed at cracking down on illegal migrant workers, also affected Nepalis working here. However, a rehiring programme has been launched to legalise the status of migrant workers staying illegally here and provide them with job opportunities. Worried employers have urged the government to revoke its decision to stop hiring foreign workers, stating the labour shortage has put their investments at risk. 

 There are about 30,000 security guards, including Nepalis, working illegally in Malaysia, Datuk Seri Mustapa Ali, president of Securities Services Association of Malaysia, told the local media a week ago. After the revelation, the Malaysian government has said it will take action against companies hiring illegal security guards and workers. A Malaysian news agency, quoting an official of the Home Ministry, reported the government would take a “decisive step” to solve the issue. Around 24,000 Nepalis are currently working as security guards in Malaysia, according to the Malaysian Home Ministry. 

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