KOTA KINABALU September 30, 2011: The immigrant population in the Kinabatangan district in 2010 surpassed the local population, according to Women, Family and Community Ministry secretary general Dato Dr Noorul Ainur Mohd Nur.
He told reporters yesterday that out of the total of 150,327 people in Kinabatangan, 117,689 were foreigners.
Only 32,638 were locals,
she said after launching the seminar to present the findings on Indonesian migrant workers in Tawau based on a study conducted last year.
Tawau, on the other hand, is the district with the highest number of foreign population at 171,409 people last year.
And nationwide, Sabah has the highest number of foreign population as compared to other states in the country in the year 2010. Out of its population of 3,206,742 people, 27.7 percent comprised non-citizens.
Based on the Malaysia population and housing census for 2010, Dr Noorul said the total foreign population in Sabah had risen by 44.7 percent from the year 2000 to 2010.
About 614,824 foreigners were recorded in 2000. Last year, the total foreign population in Sabah had gone up to 899,779.
Dr Noorul warned of the impact of having too many foreign labourers in Sabah, saying that they will deprive locals of employment opportunities.
“They are cheap labour hence they become the preference of employers,” she said.
High dependency on cheap foreign labour may also jeopardise the country’s vision to become a developed country by 2020 as it is cheaper to employ foreign labour than adopt high technology.
Nevertheless, it is also a known fact that foreign labour has contributed to the development of the country, she said.
“That is the reason why countries adopt the open economy, and this includes Malaysia,” she said.
Dr Noorul said that foreign labour was crucial in the plantation, construction and service sectors that are categorized as 3D (dirty, dangerous and difficult) by the locals.
Also present at the seminar was National Population and Family Development Board chairman Tan Sri Dato Hajjah Napsiah Omar.
Sabah has the most migrant workers in the country, recording a 44.7 per cent increase from 614,824 in 2000 to 889,779 in 2010.
The figures were based on the 2010 Population and Housing Census, which shows 27.7 per cent out of the 3.2 million population in Sabah comprised migrant workers with a majority of them being Indonesians.
"In 2000, Sandakan recorded the most migrant workers (114,230).
However in 2010, Tawau recorded the most (171,409) most of whom are Indonesians,"
Women, Family and Community Ministry Secretary General, Dato Dr Noorul Mohd Nur