The request for more foreign workers was made by the industry players, including members of the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM), said Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi.
The deputy prime minister revealed this after the group came up with a statement yesterday asking Putrajaya to clear illegal foreign workers in the country before bringing in large number of Bangladeshi workers.
He asked FMM to check in advance with their members before making any statements on the issue.
Zahid said three agencies responsible for managing foreign workers in the country had confirmed receiving the request from FMM members.
"Yes they did not give any (official) letter.
"But their members had applied to the Human Resources Ministry, Immigration Department and Home Ministry on the matter," said Zahid, who is also the home minister, told reporters in Shah Alam today.
On FMM's call for the clearance of existing illegal foreign workers, Zahid said the government was merely meeting the demand from industry players short of labour.
"The request came from the employers, we listened to their request, saying that their companies can't run due to shortage of workers," he said.
Zahid said it was not the home ministry's decision but rather, policy-wise, was determined by the human resources ministry.
"As chairman of the cabinet committee overseeing foreign workers and immigrants’ issue, I am sensitive to the demand from the industries," he said.
FMM yesterday said the manufacturers did not specifically requested for the workers, but welcomed the additional source, in view of the challenges faced in hiring foreign workers from countries such as Nepal, Myanmar and Indonesia.
It also urged the government to immediately convene a meeting with employer associations and share the details of the G-to-G arrangement especially on the cost of hiring the workers. – February 13, 2016.