Approximately 100,000 Indonesian workers in Malaysia will be laid off and packed home by 2009 because of the global economic crisis.
Most of these layoffs are located in the manufacturing sector and they join 10 000 others from Johore who have already been sent home since 1 Jan 2009.
This is done to protect the local jobs in addition to other measures like the hiring of new foreign workers in factories, stores and restaurants.
The issue is particularly sensitive since there were nearly two million Indonesian workers in Malaysia, including 800,000 illegal workers and 300,000 were employed in the manufacturing sector.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian government is planning a second economic stimulus package, following the first one valued at US$2.0 billion plan instituted in November 2009.
Both the first and second packages are designed to help companies in difficulty and retrenched workers.
Malaysia is one of Asia's largest importers of labour, about 2.2 million foreign workers and they serve in the plantation and manufacturing sectors. But this issue has become a politically sensitive issue.
Political stakes are high in this issue as observers argue that Najib needs to convince his party members at the general assembly of the dominant United Malays National Organization (UMNO) that he was bringing Malaysia on an upswing after recent demoralizing electoral losses.
His largest opponent is danger of the global economic crisis affecting Malaysian perceptions of the ruling party’s ability to manage the economy which is deteriorating according to official statistics.
Channelnewsasia/AFP, "Malaysia to send 100,000 Indonesian workers home" dated 4 February 2009 in the Channelnewsasia website [downloaded on 9 Feb 2009], available at http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/406790/1/.ht...
Netto, Anil, "Malaysian economy left to drift" dated 4 Feb 2009 in the Asia Times website [downloaded on 9 Feb 2009], available athttp://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/KB04Ae01.html