The Ministry of Home Affairs through its agencies such as District Offices and Municipal Departments, and the Department of Immigration and National Registration is reviewing the policy and methods of issuing Miscellaneous Licences and work permits to address the issue of the rising number of foreign workers in the country.
The matter was highlighted by YB Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awg Badaruddin on the final day of 8th LegCo session yesterday.
In 2010, out of a population of 414,400, for every 10 people, there were two or three foreign workers.
"This means we're sharing space and facilities provided by government with them," he said.
He said the foreign workers are here because locals brought them here to help the country.
He said in 2011, 137,167 work permits were issued, including new permits and renewed permits for the government sector, private sector and "individual" sector.
The figure (domestic helpers - 33943, companies - 102380 and government - 844,), he revealed, showed an increase of nearly 25,000.
He said this figure will continue to increase.
In the first two months of this year, 11,948 work permits were issued (5,541 or 46 per cent were new and the rest 6,407 or 54 per cent were existing ones that were renewed).
"We need them to activate our businesses being held by our people, locals and PRs," he said.
Total number of Miscellaneous Licences in 2011 was 9,758. A big portion of that - 3,956 or 41 per cent - was for retail businesses.
"Our people have been given an opportunity to do business and their houses are allowed to be used as business premises.
"This opportunity is indeed being used, but by renting the Miscellaneous Licences to foreigners.
"Is this the reason why the need for such license arises?" he said.
"The government will monitor and follow this situation on the increasing number of foreign workers. Because the government understand its responsibility, what we hope is to take action and not just monitor."