Prime Minister Dato Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has said that the reduced chicken subsidy was to enable the money to be channeled directly as cash aid to Malaysians, since previously the reduced price was benefiting not just Malaysians, but also foreign workers and refugees. First, we discuss whether ‘Malaysian-only’ policies might end up pushing away foreign workers, and whether Malaysia can survive without them. Next, we get into the kind of aid foreign workers have access to, and what needs to be done here.
Addressing Prime Minister Ismail Sabri’s recent statement that singled out foreign workers and refugees as reasons for reducing subsidies, Communications Director Iskandar Fareez likened the PM’s remark as his attempt to divert attention from the government’s inability to address the issue of skyrocketing costs of living.
Foreign workers and refugees should not be taken as an easy target to deflect from the important discussion of curbing the rising prices of goods, more so as they also contribute to the nation’s consumption, and in general, lacked the voice to respond.
Iskandar added the the attacks towards foreign workers only amplify xenophobia, further creating a hostile environment for foreign talents leading to a less competitive market for Malaysia. It should also be considered that such statements could drive foreign labour away from our country, and regress our development by causing stagnation while our neighbouring countries are progressing with social benefit coverage towards non-citizens.
Iskandar ends by saying that policymaking shouldnt be driven by knee-jerk reactions; as inconsistent messaging will only be detrimental to our development.
Produced by: Kelly Anissa
Presented by: Lee Chwi Lynn, Sharmilla Ganesan