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Media Statement by DAP Johor Publicity Secretary and Senai State Assemblyman Wong Shu Qi on 15th February 2016 (Monday):

 

Government should help Malaysian manufacturing sector the other way round instead of bringing in more migrant workers

 

If Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi is sincere in helping local manufacturing industry, he should push the government to allocate more to upgrade skills, technology and research and development (R&D) within the industry instead of bringing in another 1.5 million migrant workers. In doing the latter, he is only feeding Malaysians and our local industry sugar-coated poison by defending an irrational manpower policy.

 

In fact, Malaysia has been trapped in the vicious circle of low-skill, low-wage industrial practice and hence is stucked in the middle-income trap since 1990. The failure of BN government’s industrial policy in the 90s is at the expense of our generation. Instead of empowering local industry by spending more effort in R&D, BN enriched theirs cronies in the most crucial infant stage of the industry. Perwaja is the evidence of the failure. We learned nothing except cloning other nations’ products. Today, our national car is still incapable of competing in the global market.

 

30 years ago, it was the Indonesians who came over to work in the 3D (dirty, dangerous, and demeaning) sector in Malaysia. Today, fewer Indonesians want to cross over the strait since Jakarta’s minimum wage is already at a competitive level with Malaysia’s minimum wage. We turn to other neighbouring countries whose economies are much worse than us.

 

A lot of Malaysians are now asking, what’s next? Will there be a day when Malaysians become migrant workers scouting around the world to find better paid jobs to make ends meet at home?

 

In fact, we are already moving towards this direction. For instance, our nurses prefer to work in Singapore and the Middle-East due to higher salaries there, our engineers work in other much developed economies in R&D and even our bus drivers prefer to go over to Singapore though the nominal wage is almost the same here in Malaysia.

 

Currently, there are more than 200,000 Malaysians who commute daily between Johor Bahru and Singapore. They mostly work in the manufacturing and service sectors in the republic. Meanwhile, Johor has 300,000 migrant workers who work mainly in manufacturing, construction and service sectors. What makes our local manufacturing and service sectors less appealing to Malaysians? The answers is, low pay.

 

On the other hand, we must not forget that Johor’s population is only 3 million. The 300,000 migrant workers therefore constitute 10% of the state population and probably is the third largest group in Johor over the Johor Indian community.

 

Bringing in more migrant workers is a sugar-coated poison. Federal policymakers have neglected the fact that our industry is left behind by the global market. We are still producing at the expense of low-wage and low-skill workers, jobs which no local tertiary educated graduate would be interested in.

 

The core issue here is not the 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers, but why do we need them? Zahid Hamid claimed that no locals would be interested in 3D jobs. Yet, has Zahid Hamidi look into the working condition of the manufacturing industry? He should not blame Malaysian workers for not taking up those jobs. How can the government blame local tertiary educated generation for not taking up jobs that do not match with their education level and education investment?

 

The second issue is on the technology we currently employed. Must 3D jobs taken up by cheap foreign labours? If we look at Japan and other more developed countries, we found that the 3D jobs are at least less dirty, dangerous and demeaning. For instances, garbage collector in Japan is also a professional mechanic operating complicated garbage machine. Thus it is a dignified profession.

 

I can only conclude that, bringing more cheap labour is the laziest policy decision a government can make. It is time for us to reverse the vicious circle by stopping the 1.5 million migrant workers from coming in. Malaysians should force the government to spend a lot more in upgrading our industrial technology. We have no other way out in the global market.

 

Government should help the Malaysian manufacturing sector the other way round instead of bringing in more migrant workers. Invest in R&D, impose strict export discipline on our heavy industry sector to make our products competitive, and reduce the reliance on cheap labour are the ways out for all Malaysians.

 

 

Wong Shu Qi

 

Posted by & filed under 文告.

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民主行动党柔佛州宣传秘书暨士乃区州议员黄书琪2016年2月15日(星期一)发表文告:

 

与其引更多外,政府应该调整政策助我国制造

 

若副首相拿督斯里阿末查希是认真的要协助本地制造业,他应该推动政府拔出更多款项,提升我国产业的技术、应用科技以及研发项目,而不是开放150万孟加拉外劳前来我国工作,这项不合理的劳力政策对马来西亚人、对我国产业而言,根本是裹着糖衣的毒药。

 

事实上,马来西亚自1990年代开始,就陷入技术低、薪水低的恶性循环工业政策中,至今困在中等收入陷阱,无法自拔。国阵政府失败的工业政策赔上整整一代人的命运。在应该花更多钱推动研究开发,推动工业技术发展的年代,国阵却是透过工业政策中饱朋党私囊,柏华惹就是失败的铁证。我们花了一大笔钱,却什么也没有学到,除了照版复刻其他国家的产品。时至今日,我们的国产车依然无法在国际市场上竞争。

 

30年前,我们引进的是印尼外劳来做3D工作;今时今日,愈来愈少印尼劳工愿意过来,因为雅加达的最低薪都已经快要和我国的最低薪平起平坐,我们只好把视线转去其他经济更差的周边国家。

 

马来西亚人不禁要问,那接下来呢?接下来会不会有一天,马来西亚人成为全球移动的外籍劳工,到处寻觅比较高工资的工作,养活家乡的一家老小?

 

事实上,我们今天的状况已经差不多是这样了。例如说,在我国受过训练的护士比较向往新加坡或中东地区工作,因为薪水比较高,我国的工程师也希望前往经济相对发达,研发部门更好的经济体,就连我国的巴士司机,都比较希望到新加坡开巴士,即便是名目薪资(不计算兑换率)实际上与我国相去不远。

 

目前,我们每天有20万马来西亚劳工往返新山与新加坡工作,他们大部分就业于新加坡的制造与服务业。与此同时,柔佛州也有30万外劳,他们工作的领域主要是制造业、建筑业与服务业。究竟是什么原因导致我国制造、服务业完全不吸引我国劳工投身?答案很简单,薪水太低。

 

别忘了柔佛州人口不过3百万,30万外劳整整是柔佛州人口的十分之一,甚至已经是柔佛州第三大族群,超越柔佛州的印裔人口数字。

 

引进更多外劳是个糖衣毒药政策。联邦政府政策的决策人忘了我国产业被全球市场远远抛在后头,我们的生产是建立在低工资、低技术劳工的成本上,这些工作当然无法吸引本地受过大专教育的年轻人投入。

 

问题不在于150万孟加拉外劳,而是我们为什么需要这150万?阿末查希说本地人不要在3D产业工作。但是,阿末查希究竟有没有看看我国制造业的状况?他不应该怪本地人不愿投身3D工作,如果工资、工作条件与个人的教育投资、教育水平不成正比,试问又有谁愿意?国阵政府的做法真的是欲加之罪,何患无辞。

 

另一个问题就是我们目前使用的科技。难道3D工作就一定是廉价外劳的工作?看看日本或其他发达经济体,我们就会发现所谓的3D工作相对不那么肮脏、危险、低下。例如说,日本的垃圾工人,实际上是操作复杂垃圾车这台机器的专业技术员,社会上也给予尊重。

 

我只能说,引进廉价劳力是政府最懒惰最不用脑的决策。我们是时候停止恶性循环,立即停止引进150万外劳。全体国民应该迫使联邦政府拨更多款项提升我国产业技术,否则,我们将无法在全球市场内生存。

 

与其引进更多外劳,政府应该调整政策协助我国制造业,增额投资技术研发、严格约束我国重工业,加强出口,确保我国产品可以在国际上竞争,减少依赖廉价劳力,才是我国未来经济的出路。

 

 

黄书琪

 

Posted by & filed under Media Statement.

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Media Statement by Johor DAP Publicity Secretary and Senai State Assemblyman Wong Shu Qi on 18 December 2015 (Friday):

 

It is all about political will on resolving Causeway congestion that gets worse lately

 

It is very disheartening to see that more than a thousand Malaysians were trapped in Causeway congestion lately. This is not a new issue and many voices including myself have raised criticism as well as proposals on resolving the matter. Both the Malaysian and Singaporean governments should not pass the buck to each other on the issue anymore. It is time to sit down and find a solution or face the ugly outcome.

 

In the World Bank Economic Report on Malaysia this year, it was estimated that the Kuala Lumpur congestion alone cost up to 2.2% of our GDP in 2014. The congestion between Johor Bahru and Singapore was not significant then. However, with the increasingly congested Causeway, the cost would definitely increase and jeopardise all stakeholders’ interest.

 

There are several causes contributed to the latest congestion, namely, school holidays, stringent immigration check at Singapore customs and fewer counters. Besides all these factors, the lack of public transport infrastructure has always been the key problem.

 

We do not have problem with Singapore’s stringent security check, as it is their right to defend their citizens. However, the mechanism for control can be improved to ensure smoother traffic. Does creating a traffic bottleneck at the Causeway an effective way of border control? Ordinary people, especially residents of Johor and Singapore, suffer due to such indiscriminatory control measure. By reducing the number of immigration counters and increasing the difficulties for citizens of both countries to commute, financial and social costs were raised against communities on both sides of the Strait. The Singapore government might as well shut off their borders for this period of time.

 

We have to provide better public transport options for daily commuters; otherwise, the problem will only get worse. In 2013, there was about 200,000 Malaysians who commute daily; we can only estimate that the number has increased to at least 250,000 today. The increase is demonstrated by the worsening congestion commuters faced daily.

 

Ultimately, however, it is all about political will when it comes to resolving the Causeway congestion which is getting worse by the day. There is no reason why the government cannot expand the Causeway to accommodate a proper sheltered pedestrian pathway. This is especially when we are already planning to spend even more to build a third bridge. I was told in the last Johor state assembly sitting that there is no more space to build a proper sheltered walkway, yet, the government is planning to build much fancier project linking two countries at a substantially higher cost.

 

Today, the Causeway is the shortest link which allows many daily commuters to walk with ease given the distance. Hence, allowing commuters to have the option of walking should be part of the overall solutions. The government must explore all possibilities and not just plan to spend more and more money. The key to resolving congestion is not just money but once again, ultimately, it is about the political will of the policy makers.

 

 

Wong Shu Qi

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by & filed under Media Statement.

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Media Statement by Johor DAP Publicity Secretary and Senai State Assemblyman Wong Shu Qi on 11th December 2015 (Friday):

 

The latest censors on The Economist December 5th issue will only make us look worse globally.

 

Five days after the December 5, the subscribers of The Economist in Malaysia has finally received email from the publisher on the delay. The publisher told us as follows:

 

“Due to sensitive content in the December 5th 2015 print edition of The Economist, there has been a delay in distribution as the copies are being held at the Malaysia censorship department (KDN).”

 

I immediately checked the e-paper of the issue. There are only two articles found related to Malaysia. The first one is on the ban on vaping and the second one is a commentary on our Prime Minister Najib Razak.

 

Although the ban on vaping is still a hot issue domestically, it has yet to create any legal suit as the latter has done.

 

The more the authority censored, the more curious the people are.