THE new expatriate hiring process may push multinational companies (MNCs) to flee Malaysia, according to Center for Market Education (CME).

CME said it is perplexed about the new procedures for hiring foreign talent or expatriates, issued by the Human Resources Ministry. 
Its CEO Dr Carmelo Ferlito said the recent policy interferes with employers’ decision process by imposing the presence of government representatives during hiring.

This, CME said, poses serious problems in terms of privacy and independency in the business conduct.  
“It applies not only to new positions but also to the renewal of expatriate positions, making the future of foreigners in Malaysia increasingly uncertain, with the risk that Malaysia will be unable to attract foreign talents,” Ferlito said in a statement today.  
He explained that the procedures apply to business owners as well, which will find themselves in the risk of being replaced in running their own company.

“This further element of confusion adds on to an already confused scenario, where the limits on hiring foreign workers, the new Conditional Movement Control Order in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, and how standard operating procedures are determined and communicated, are discouraging business initiatives, putting at risk existing jobs and the creation of new ones. 
“Malaysia is playing in a global scenario and the attraction of the best talents plays in its favour, not against it,” he said.

According to the ministry’s recent statement, all employers who intend to employ foreign workers through a re-hiring programme and recruit expatriates are first required to advertise job vacancies on the national portal, MYFutureJobs, effective Nov 1, 2020.

The vacancy advertisements must not be less than 14 days for the rehiring programme (foreign workers already in the country) and 30 days for the recruitment of expatriates which will be followed by a candidate interview session with the employer’s representative and the Social Security Organisation (Socso).  

Foreign workers or expatriates will only be considered if there are no Malaysians who are interested in applying for a particular position. 
Ferlito said while the measure aims to reduce unemployment among locals, it presents important unintended consequences that may lead to reduce foreign direct investments (FDIs) and MNCs presence in Malaysia, therefore increasing unemployment rather than reducing it. 
He added that the matter is extremely crucial at the moment, especially compared to neighbour countries that are developing very attractive policies for FDIs such as Indonesia.