Malaysia will not hire any new foreign workers until the year's end, the country's leading newspaper The Star reported quoting its Human Resources Minister M Saravanan.
Once in effect, the decision will further delay Bangladesh's efforts to reopen labour markets in the South Asian country for its migrant workers in the Southeast Asian country.
Quoting Saravanan, The Star yesterday in its online version reported that there will be no "new intake of foreign workers in all sectors in Malaysia until the year-end as locals will be given priority to fill up vacancies."
"We will not allow [new] foreign workers until year-end. They [foreigners] can come as tourists, if they are allowed," Saravanan told a news conference.
He said there are now about two million foreign workers in Malaysia.
"We are trying to reduce foreign workers in the workforce besides giving priority to locals to secure jobs," he said.
Saravanan said the ministry would evaluate the move by year-end to see if it was effective in helping the locals.
He advised local job-seekers not to be choosy about jobs to help the country reduce its dependence on foreign workers.
"Don't think about waiting for a suitable job because the right job might not exist in the immediate future," he added.
In September 2018, Malaysia suspended hiring Bangladeshi workers on allegation of malpractices in the recruitment process and high recruitment costs.
After various efforts, resumption of the market seemed likely in February this year when the two countries were scheduled to hold the 4th joint working group meeting in Dhaka to discuss important issues regarding the reopening.
However, the meeting was called off at the last moment after the then Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad resigned following a sudden political change.
The then human resources minister of Malaysia M Kula Segaran was visiting Bangladesh at that time to discuss the issue.