The ministry of international trade and industry (MITI) and the Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii) collectively aim to phase out the 70,000-strong foreign labour workforce in the local vendor ecosystem by the end of the year, said MARii CEO Datuk Madani Sahari, adding that the target will be spearheaded by national carmakers Proton and Perodua, according to The New Straits Times.

“MARii has had discussions with Proton and Perodua to collaborate together in reducing foreign labour dependency for the local vendors supply chain. Proton and Perodua have about 200 companies involved in Tier 1 local vendors with a total of 40,000 foreign workers. If we can phase out foreign labour, it would create more employments for the locals,” Madani said.

The Malaysian government has been phasing out between 32,000 to 35,000 foreign workers in the country from 2014 until 2019, the news daily reported. The local vendor supply chain currently has a workforce of 220,000 working in 641 companies, the MARii CEO said.

“Previously, the local automotive sector employed about 110,000 (foreign personnel). Presently, we still have about 70,000 foreign workers in the local vendors ecosystem that supply parts for the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) based in Malaysia,” Madani said.

“We also have done cost-benefit analyses (which found that) hiring local workforce would be more competitive and cheaper (compared to) employing foreign labour. Companies would have saved the cost for the foreign labour levy and passports and visas, hence it is more practical for the local automotive sector to recruit locals, creating more jobs,” he said.

MARii has partnered with 439 local vendors since 2012 for various programmes, including the Automotive Supplier Excellence Programme (ASEP), MARii Industry4WRD Technology Platform (MITP), Automotive Industry Certification Engineering (AICE), and Industry Professional – Led Certification: Pengiktirafan Percapaian Terdahulu (IPC-PPT), which serve as tools to enhance the participants’ business capabilities in order to meet industry standards, the report said.