It is evident that Sabah's local construction industry still relies heavily on foreign workers. To avoid a serious social issue of foreigners working illegally in Sabah, Sabah Builders Association President, Lou Chi Nam, called upon the government to extend special work permits, that are granted to plantation workers, to construction workers as well.
According to Lou, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal announced his support for the policy and appeal to the government for the special permit to be granted to the construction sector.
"Although the policy now is to encourage more locals to enter the industry with wage increase and a probable future increase in levy, in Sabah we have a unique situation where we have many illegal workers here without documents.
"So we hope for a solution for those illegals already here to allow them to work so they can contribute to nation building in the construction industry."
Lou made this statement at an SBA Chinese New Year gathering in Penampang. "If the government can get rid of them, then there is no issue but if they are allowed to stay in Sabah and not allowed to work, they would become a serious social problem." He also expressed hope that the new government can improve the economy this year and increase the number of projects for local contractors. This will help keep our local workers and generate more income.