Friday March 15, 2013
Malaysia's high-skilled workers being pinched by foreign countries
By ZAZALI MUSA
PASIR GUDANG: Malaysia's efforts and investment to produce highly skilled workers for oil and gas (O&G)-related activities are being hampered by the pinching of workers by foreign countries, said Manpower Department deputy director-general Syed Mohamad Noor Syed Mat Ali.
He said that highly skilled locals were sought after by O&G multinational corporations based in Singapore and the Middle East.
He said Malaysia and companies operating locally were on the losing end as they had invested millions of ringgit to train locals but the foreign countries were the ones benefiting from the efforts.
“There is nothing much that Malaysia can do to stop highly skilled locals in the O&G sector from working in other countries,'' said Mohamad Noor.
He said the problems faced by the country's O&G industry was similar to the aviation sector where experienced Malaysian pilots were being lured by foreign airlines especially those from the Middle East.
Mohamad Noor said an attractive salary and remuneration package were the main reasons for many skilled Malaysians choosing to work in O&G-related sectors in Singapore and the Middle East.
He said that for instance, the monthly salary for a certified welder with the 6G certification working offshore in the oil filed in the country started between RM4,000 and RM5,000.
“The same person will get between S$4,000 and S$5,000 in Singapore and US$10,000 if he chooses to work in any of the oil producing Arab countries,'' he said.
Mohamad Noor said the only way to stop highly skilled Malaysians from working in foreign countries was for companies to pay a good monthly salary plus other perks.
Separately, he said the Manpower Department via its 23 industrial training institutes and five advanced technical centres nationwide would continue producing competent workforce.
“We have shifted our focus from producing semi-skilled workforce previously to highly skilled Malaysians, in line with the country's aspiration to become a developed nation by 2020,'' Mohamad Noor said.
He said currently only 23% of Malaysians were considered highly skilled workers and that it was looking to increase the figure to 33% by 2015 and 50% by 2020.