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Say no to furniture exporters seek foreign worker levy waiver

Furniture exporters seek foreign worker levy waiver
By YUEN MEIKENG

KUALA LUMPUR: Furniture manufacturers want the Government to suspend levies on foreign workers in the industry.

Malaysian International Furniture Fair (MIFF) Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Tan Chin Huat said such a move would help the industry cope with the challenging times.

“It would also be similar to a subsidy for us in this industry, which is 90% export oriented,” he told reporters after speaking at the MIFF 2009 pre-exhibition symposium at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) here on Tuesday.

Tan said furniture manufacturers paid a levy of about RM1,200 for each foreign worker and that 70 to 80% of the work force in the industry was made up of foreigners.

Read more at http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/1/14/nation/20090114090556&sec=nation

These Chinese bosses claimed that foregin workers only consist of 70 to 80% of workforce is an underestimated statistics. My field observation in Bukit Pasir, Pagoh and Gersik Industrial Parks indicated at least 90% of workers in furniture factory are foreigners.

Abundant cheap labor supply has discouraged local people to work in the furniture factories. What is the point if local industry developement does not benefit “rakyat” directly like in providing good job opportunity.

Taxation may not be able to compensate environmental costs like air and river pollution problems. For instance, Gersik Industrial Park is operationg without wastewater sewerage facility for more than a decade.  Muar river is supplying polluted water to a half million of population in Muar district as their drinking water.