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MINISTRY OF HUMAN RESOURCES

A STUDY ON MALAYSIANS WORKING


IN SINGAPORE (PHASE 2)

FINAL REPORT
2018
Information compiledby:
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM)

Chief Editor:
Dr. Umar Haiyat Abdul Kohar

Editors:
Dr. Tan Hui Song
Dr. Rabeatul Husna Abdull Rahman
Dr. Aniza Othman
Dr. Noriza Mohd Jamal
Associate Professor Dr. Nanthakumar A/L Loganathan
Associate Professor Dr. Aslan Amat Senin
Dr. Wan Mohd Azam Wan Mohd Yunus
Dr. Halimah Mohd Yusof
Dr. Mohamed Ayyub Hassan
Dr. Thoo Ai Chin
Ainul Syakira Mahidi @Mohyedin
Khairunnisa Abdul Aziz

Graphic and Printing:


JasamaxEnterprise
No 55, Jalan Kebudayaan 2
TamanUniversiti
81300 Skudai
Johor

ISBN: 978-967-15119-3-0

Published by @Institute of Labour Market Information andAnalysis (ILMIA)


January 2019

All right reserved. No part of this publication may be produced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted
in any forms or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, and/or otherwise without
prior written permission from Institute of Labour Market Information and Analysis (ILMIA).
A STUDY ON MALAYSIANS WORKING IN SINGAPORE (PHASE 2)
Lee Chee Sung
Advisor
ILMIA
Ahmad Badri Jaafar@Ismail
Team Leader
ILMIA
Dr. Norshamshida binti Razak
Team Member
ILMIA

CONSULTANT TEAM

Dr. Umar Haiyat Abdul Kohar


Author / Project Leader
UTM

Dr. Tan Hui Song Dr. Wan Mohd Azam Wan Mohd Yunus
Author / Consultant Author / Consultant
UTM UTM
Dr. Rabeatul Husna Abdull Rahman Dr. Halimah Mohd Yusof
Author / Consultant Author / Consultant
UTM UTM
Dr. Aniza Othman Dr. Mohamed Ayyub Hassan
Author / Consultant Author / Consultant
UTM UTM
Dr. Noriza Mohd Jamal Dr. Thoo Ai Chin
Author / Consultant Author / Consultant
UTM UTM
Associate Professor Dr. Nanthakumar A/L Loganathan Ainul Syakira Mahidi @ Mohyedin
Author / Consultant Author / Consultant
UTM UTM
Associate Professor Dr. Aslan Amat Senin Khairunnisa Abdul Aziz
Author / Consultant Author / Consultant
UTM UTM
CONTENTS

CHAPTER 1 CHAPTER 6
INTRODUCTION SOCIAL SECURITY &
EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS
- Project Background 1-1
- Objectives of the study 1-4
- Social Security & Employment Benefits 6-1
- Industry Coverage 1-5
Received by Malaysians Working in
- Scope of Research and Analysis 1-6
- The differences between 2016 1-7 Singapore – Findings from the Survey
Study and 2018 Study - Employment Benefits Received by 6-2
Malaysians Working in Singapore –
Findings from the Interviews
CHAPTER 2 - Satisfaction towards the Employment
Benefits Received
6-3

RESEARCH REVIEW - Dissatisfaction towards the 6-5


Employment Benefits Received
- Malaysian Diaspora and Brain Drain 2-1
- Factors of Job Seeking in Singapore
- Motivating Factors 2-2
- The Challenges of Working in
Singapore
2-3
2-5
CHAPTER 7
- Social Security and Welfare ISSUES & CHALLENGES
- EPF vs CPF 2-11
- Comparison of Personal Tax Rates - Issues and Challenges – Quantitative 7-1
2-16
between Singapore and Malaysia Findings
2-18
- Comparisons between Malaysians 7-2
Residing in Singapore and
Commuting to Singapore
- Statistics from Labour Attaché, 7-3
CHAPTER 3 Malaysian High Commission,
Singapore
METHODOLOGY - Findings from the Interviews - 7-5
- Project Methodology 3-1 Professional Workers (Employment
- Data Collection 3-2 Pass)
- Quantitative Survey 3-2 - Findings from the Interviews - S-Pass 7-7
- In-depth Qualitative Interview and 3-3 - Findings from the Interviews - 7-8
Focus Group Discussion General Workers (Work Permit)
- List of Participants 3-4 - Findings from the Interviews - NGOs 7-10
- Findings from the Interviews - Job 7-14
Agencies

CHAPTER 4
DEMOGRAPHIC FINDINGS CHAPTER 8
- Demographics 4-1 ROLES OF STAKEHOLDERS
- Cross-tab Analysis 4-25 - Findings IRDA 8-1
- Findings from Swadaya 8-3
Insan Johor
- Findings from Talentcorp 8-4

CHAPTER 5
REASONS FOR WORKING IN CHAPTER 9
SINGAPORE RECOMMENDATIONS 9-1
- Extrinsic Factors 5-1
- Intrinsic Factors 5-3
- Intention to Continue Working in 5-4
Singapore REFERENCES R-1
- Reasons to Return to Malaysia 5-5

APPENDICES A-1
LIST OF FIGURES

Figure Page
Figure 2.1 The Malaysian Diaspora and Brain Drain 2-1

Figure 2.2 Factors of job-seeking in Singapore 2-2

Figure 2.3 Model of factors that influence migration 2-3

Figure 2.4 Main Challenges of Working in Singapore 2-5

Figure 2.5 The most expensive cities in the world 2-6

Figure 3.1 Steps Involved for this study 3-1

Figure 3.2 Quantitative Data Collection 3-2

Figure 4.1 Gender of the Respondents 4-1

Figure 4.2 Gender of the Respondents by Residents / Commuters 4-1


Status
Figure 4.3 Age of the Respondents 4-2

Figure 4.4 Age of the Respondents by Residents / Commuters 4-2


Status
Figure 4.5 Race of the Respondents 4-3

Figure 4.6 Race of the Respondents by Residents / Commuters 4-3


Status
Figure 4.7 State of Origin of the Respondent 4-4

Figure 4.8 State of Origin of the Respondent by Residents/ 4-4


Commuters Status
Figure 4.9 Educational Level of the Respondents 4-5

Figure 4.10 Educational Level of the Respondents by Residents/ 4-6


Commuters Status
Figure 4.11 The Length of Employment 4-8

Figure 4.12 The Length of Year Employment by Residents/ 4-8


Commuters Status
Figure 4.13 Work Status of the Respondents 4-9

Figure 4.14 Work Status of the Respondents by Residents/ 4-9


Commuters Status
LIST OF FIGURES

Figure Page
Figure 4.15 Working hours of the Respondents 4-10

Figure 4.16 Working hours of the respondents by Resident / 4-10


Commuter Status
Figure 4.17 Job Category 4-11

Figure 4.18 Job Category of the Respondents by Resident / 4-12


Commuter Status
Figure 4.19 The Range of the Respondents’ Salary 4-14

Figure 4.20 The Range of the Respondents’ Salary by Resident / 4-14


Commuter Status
Figure 4.21 Status of Permanent Resident 4-15

Figure 4.22 Status of Permanent Resident by Resident / Commuter 4-15


Status
Figure 4.23 Type of Employment Pass Hold by the Respondent 4-16

Figure 4.24 Type of Employment Pass Hold by the Respondent by 4-16


Resident / Commuter Status
Figure 4.25 Main Transportation 4-17

Figure 4.26 Modes of Main Transportation of the Respondents by 4-17


Resident / Commuter
Figure 4.27 Place of Residence of the Respondents 4-18

Figure 4.28 Distribution of Malaysians who reside in Singapore by 4-19


Region
Figure 4.29 Distribution Malaysians who reside in Singapore by 4-19
Industry
Figure 4.30 Schedule of Commuting Singapore-Malaysia 4-20

Figure 4.31 Average hour of Commuting Singapore-Malaysia 4-20

Figure 4.32 Source of information in Singapore 4-21

Figure 4.33 Average Income Transferred Or Spent To Malaysia 4-21

Figure 4.34 Average Income Transferred Or Spent To Malaysia by 4-22


Residents/Commuters
LIST OF FIGURES

Figure Page
Figure 4.35 Mode of Money Transferred 4-23

Figure 4.36 Mode of Money Transferred by Resident/ Commuter 4-23

Figure 4.37 Percentage of Saving From Fixed Monthly Salary 4-24

Figure 4.37 Percentage of Saving by Resident/Commuter 4-24

Figure 4.39 Residential Status and Race 4-25

Figure 4.40 Residential Status and Fixed Monthly Salary 4-27

Figure 4.41 Work Status and Age 4-35

Figure 4.42 Working Hours and Fixed Monthly Salary 4-36

Figure 4.43 Races and State of Origin 4-38

Figure 4.44 Races and State of Origin of Sabah and Sarawak 4-38

Figure 5.1 Country-Related Factors 5-1

Figure 5.2 Company-Related Factors 5-2

Figure 5.3 Reason of working in Singapore 5-3

Figure 5.4 Intention to continue working in Singapore 5-4

Figure 5.5 Top 4 reasons to come back to Malaysia 5-5

Figure 6.1 Social security and employment benefits received by 6-1


Malaysian working in Singapore.
Figure 7.1 Breakdown by type of problems 7-4
LIST OF TABLES

Table Page
Table 1.1 The industry and sub-sectors in Singapore 1-5

Table 1.2 Profile of Malaysians Commuting and working in 1-7


Singapore
Table 2.1 The difference between the social security provided 2-16
by Malaysia and Singapore to their Foreign workers
Table 2.2 Singapore – Resident Tax Rate 2-18

Table 2.3 Malaysia – Personal Income Tax Rates 2-18

Table 3.1 List of Participants 3-4

Table 4.1 Top 10 Job Titles 4-7

Table 4.2 Top 5 Job Titles in Goods Producing Industries 4-7

Table 4.3 Top 5 Job Titles in Service Producing Industries 4-7

Table 4.4 Sector of Industry 4-13

Table 4.5 Top 10 Cities of Residence in Singapore 4-18

Table 4.6 Top 10 Cities of Residence in Johor 4-18

Table 4.7 Residential Status and Education 4-26

Table 4.8 Residential Status and Intention to Continue Working 4-28


in Singapore
Table 4.9 Education level and Age 4-29

Table 4.10 Education Level and Race 4-30

Table 4.11 Education Level and Work Passes and Permit 4-31

Table 4.12 Age and Skill Level 4-33

Table 4.13 Description of Skill Levels Based on Job Category 4-34


LIST OF TABLES

Table Page
Table 4.14 Working Hours and Fixed Monthly Salary 4-36

Table 4.15 Race and Job Category 4-37

Table 4.16 Salary and Education Level 4-38

Table 7.1 General Issues and Challenges 7-1

Table 7.2 General Issues and Challenges for those who reside in 7-2
Johor vs Commute from Malaysia
Table 7.3 Number of Workers Seeking Assistance at the Labour 7-3
Division, High Commission of Malaysia, Singapore
Table 7.4 Specific issues for 2017 7-3

Table 9.1 Summaries of Recommendation on Transforming 9-2


Brain Drain into Mutual Gain
Table 9.2 Summaries of Recommendation on Improving Job 9-6
Opportunities for Malaysians
Table 9.3 Summaries of Recommendation on Improving Salary 9-11
Scheme, Employment Benefit and Welfare
Table 9.4 Summaries of Recommendation Monitoring 9-13
Employment Benefits and Welfare of Malaysian
Working in Singapore and Strengthening Support
System
1
INTRODUCTION
PROJECT BACKGROUND

The close proximity between Johor Bahru and Singapore has attracted many Malaysians to find
employment in the republic. The last available figures from Singapore Department of Statistics
showed that in 2010, there were 385,979 Malaysian residents in Singapore with a majority of them
were Chinese (338,501) followed by Malays (25,036) and Indians (20,483). It was also reported that
most of Malaysians residing in Singapore possessed tertiary education including university
qualifications (73,387), professional qualifications and other diploma (27,746) and polytechnic
qualifications (19,529). Interestingly, these figures are corroborated by a study conducted in 2016,
which investigated Malaysians working in Singapore. A total of 1,972 respondents were surveyed,
and the findings revealed that 70% of them were Chinese, 21.8% were Bumiputera, 7.9% were
Indians, and the remaining were from other ethnic groups. Majority of the respondents were aged
between 25-29 years old (23.7%) and a sizable chunk of them are degree holders (26.3%).

Another noteworthy phenomenon was that a majority of the respondents were residing in Singapore
(60%) and more than half of them were university graduates. Since Singapore is one of the expensive
cities to live in the world, it can be concluded that majority of the educated Malaysians working and
residing in Singapore are quite well paid as they can afford to keep up with the high standard of
Singapore living (Webb, 2017). In terms of job types Malaysians are involved in, the 2016 study on
Malaysians working in Singapore found that majority of the respondents held professional jobs
(26.1%), followed by service and sales workers (17.5%) and associate professionals and technicians
(16.4%). This finding is consistent with Jauhar et al. (2015) who found that more than 34% of
Malaysian accountants belonging to the professional group had migrated to work in Singapore for a
higher salary, better quality work life, ease of migration procedure and international exposure.

On the other side of the coin, many Malaysians


working in Singapore were in fact willing to perform
the 3D works (dirty, dangerous and difficult), which
they otherwise would not consider doing back at
home had it not for the significantly higher wages “The lowest average salary for a
(Today Online, 2016) as average wages in Singapore fresh/entry level engineering job in the
are reported to be five times higher than wages in southern region commands the basic
most ASEAN countries (Nikkei Asian Review, 2018). monthly wage of MYR1,575.00,
The Oriental News Daily survey in 2015 suggested that whereas in Singapore one can get
stronger Singapore dollar currency played a significant SGD2,200.00, that is MYR 6,641.00
role in attracting Malaysian workers to cross the based on the exchange rate on the 19th
border (HR in Asia, 2015). The combination of higher of December 2017 (Jobstreet.com,
average wage and stronger currency make Singapore 2017).”
an attractive destination for a cross-border career
(Jauhar et al., 2016).
However, The Star Online/Asia News Network (2017)
highlighted that many Malaysians express their
keenness to return to work in Malaysia if the salaries
offered matched those that being offered by employers
in Singapore. Otherwise, Malaysians still jump at offers
to cross the border to Singapore despite facing many
challenges such as experiencing stress of constant
commuting (Tan, 2015; Teh, 2015); loneliness and
homesickness towards social well-being (Yeoh and
Huang, 2000); high cost of living (Low et al., 2008; Teh,
2015); as well as unsatisfactory working benefits and
conditions (Low et al. 2008).

1-1
PROJECT BACKGROUND

On the 5th of September 2018, Malaysia and Singapore have officially agreed to postpone the
construction of the KL-Singapore High-Speed Rail for two years until end of May 2020 (Channel News
Asia, 2018). Despite the announcement, this project remains the epitome of inter-connectivity
between modern cities that transcends international borders. In the event the project goes ahead as
planned, it may provide solutions to some of the above challenges as the mega project initially
planned to connect seven stations in Malaysia – such as Bangi-Putrajaya, Seremban, Melaka, and
Iskandar Puteri – with Jurong East, effectively making Singapore only ninety minutes away from Kuala
Lumpur and half an hour from Johor. Even long before the HSR is planned, students are already
eyeing Singapore as their next career destination, as evidenced by a study conducted by Lim et al.
(2016) on 357 final year students in a private higher learning institution. The young Malaysian cites
excellent career prospects and salary as the primary attraction factor.

Singapore stands to benefit from Malaysia’s


best talents as the Ministry of Manpower 61.7% of the
(MOM) is selective about awarding work passes respondents who were
to the approved source countries. Malaysians residing in Singapore
now have to compete with the best of talents possess tertiary
from other countries for the slice of the job pie, education (diploma and
and therefore, it can be concluded that the above).
best of our talents are lost to the republic. A
study on Malaysians working in Singapore in (Malaysians Working in
2016 attested to this talent lost as the result Singapore Survey, 2016)
showed that 61.7 percent of the respondents
who were residing in Singapore possess tertiary
education (diploma and above).

On employment policy, Singapore exhibits a rather rigid stance. MOM safeguards Singapore’s
interest in terms of monitoring the foreign manpower policy so that foreign workers shall serve
the nation’s interest in sustaining economic growth and enhancing competitiveness. MOM is
cautious about excessive numbers of foreign workers fearing the negative impacts they have on
the country’s productivity. This is evident in the closely monitored dependency ratio ceiling (DRC)
which stipulates that a company’s entitlement to foreign workers should be proportionate to the
number of local workers employed and that it differs across industries.

1-2
PROJECT BACKGROUND

However, the lack of social security benefits for Malaysians


working in Singapore has become a pressing concern for the
Malaysian policymakers. This thorny policy issue was highlighted
by the World Bank in its report on labor mobility in Southeast
Asia in 2017. The World Bank pointed out that despite
Singapore’s excellent migration system, its treatment of the
welfare of migrant workers needs further attention (World
Bank, 2017). On the same note, the World Bank also dispelled
the notion that an influx of migrant workers would negatively
impact the receiving economies as none of the recent studies
confirmed such perception. Instead, this perception leads to
rigid employment policy, thus impact migrant workers’ welfare.

On the bright side, Singapore offers a very


competitive salary for Malaysian SPM school
leavers. Under the work pass framework, these
school leavers may belong to the medium and low
tiers and granted S Passes and Work Permits
respectively. These group of workers stand to gain
massive benefit as they are now working
alongside other nationalities in a developed
country. The knowledge and experiences that
come with such exposure may have the spillover
effect to Malaysia in the long run as the workers
are likely to return to work in Malaysia eventually.

Therefore, in the light of the uniqueness of cross-border career phenomenon involving a


considerable number of talented Malaysians, and potentially more Malaysian millennial, the
advancement of the state-of-the-art HSR as well as the social security concern, the need to
.deepen our understanding of the issues become more compelling than ever. Data on varying
categories of issues related to this phenomenon such as economic benefit, social cost,
knowledge transfer, talent mobility and many more may help Malaysia to better manage her
valuable talents, preferably not in pursuit of a zero-sum outcome but rather a win-win situation
with Singapore.

1-3
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

There are four (4) main objectives of the study as presented below:

1 To prepare a comprehensive profile of Malaysians working in


Singapore (daily commute or reside in Singapore).

2 To determine the average amount of foreign exchange


brought into Malaysia by Malaysian workers in Singapore.

3 To investigate factors, issues and problems influencing


Malaysians to work in Singapore.

4 To investigate the implications and propose the direction to


improve the current labour policy

1-4
INDUSTRY COVERAGE

The Quarterly Unit Labour Cost Index by Industry published by Singapore Department of
Statistics (2016) has categorised Singapore industry into two main categories, namely: (i) goods
producing industries and (ii) services producing industries. Table 1.1 shows the industry and
sub-sectors in Singapore which is used in this study to investigate the profile of Malaysians
working in Singapore.

Table 1.1: The Industry and Sub-Sectors in Singapore

Overall Economy

Goods Producing Industries

Manufacturing

Construction

Utilities

Other goods industries

Services Producing Industries

Wholesale and retail trade

Transportation and storage

Accommodation and food services

Information and communications

Finance and insurance

Business services

Other services industries

1-5
SCOPE OF RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS

The scope of research and analysis will cover three (3) major areas:

A comprehensive profile of Malaysians commuting daily to-and-from


Singapore/residing and working in Singapore

• Demographic (Gender, highest academic qualifications, state of origin,


duration of time at work, and place of residence)
• Number of Malaysians working in manufacturing, construction and service
sectors (based on The Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC))
• Job classification and job category (based on The Singapore Standard


Occupational Classification (SSOC))
Wages, salaries and other compensation and benefits (e.g. social security)
1

Factors (intrinsic and extrinsic) stimulating Malaysians to work in Singapore

• Number of job vacancies and/or employment opportunities in Singapore


• Type of jobs, type of applicants, salary range, compensation and benefits


Benefits or advantages of working in Singapore
Issues and problems of working in Johor/Malaysia 2
• Expected tenure in Singaporean firms
• Pros and cons of commuting daily and residing in Singapore for work
• Profile of push and pull factors by industry/sector, job classification, salary
range, gender, educational level, job category

Implications and recommendations for future development / improvements of


labour policy.

1-6
THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN 2016 STUDY AND 2018 STUDY

2016 2018
Targeted Respondents: 3,000
Respondents: 1,972
Duration: 7 Months
Duration: 3 Months
Objectives:
Objectives:
• A profile of Malaysians commuting,
• A profile of Malaysians
residing and working in Singapore
commuting, residing and working
• Factors (intrinsic and extrinsic)
in Singapore
stimulating Malaysians to work in
• Factors (intrinsic and extrinsic)
Singapore
stimulating Malaysians to work in
• Social Safety Net (social security)
Singapore
and Remittance (Based on Average)
Method:
Method:
• Interviewed 10 workers and 2 job
• Interviewed 21 workers and 5 job
agencies
agencies

SCOPE OF STUDY

Table 1.2: Profile of Malaysians Commuting and working in Singapore

No. Items 2016 Current study 2018


1 Gender / /
2 Age / /
3 Race / /
4 State of origin / /
5 Educational level / /
6 Job title / /
7 Job category / /
8 Industry / /
9 Monthly earnings / /
10 Status (PR) / /
11 Type of works passes and permits / /
12 Place of residence / /
13 Length of employment in Singapore / /
14 Duration of working hours / /
15 Mode of main transportation to work / /
Frequency of commuting of work between Malaysia and
16 Singapore / /
17 Source of information about jobs in Singapore / /
18 Work status / /
19 Average commuting hours X /
20 Average amount of monthly income transferred to Malaysia X /
21 Methods of transferring income to Malaysia X /
22 Social security benefits X /
23 Intention to continue working in Singapore (by years) X /
24 Reasons to seek employment in Malaysia X /
25 Factors stimulating Malaysians to work in Singapore / /
26 Challenges of working in Singapore / /
Note: Amended in the current study

1-7
2
RESEARCH
REVIEW
FACTORS MOTIVATING MALAYSIANS TO WORK IN
SINGAPORE

2.1 Diaspora and Brain Drain

The term ‘brain drain’ refers to the


international transfer of human capital and
this mainly applies to the migration of
educated individuals from developing to
developed countries (Beine et al., 2008).
Specifically, the World Bank defines brain
drain as the emigration of high-skill
individuals, where a high-skill emigrant is a
foreign-born individual, aged 25 or more,
with an academic or professional degree
beyond high school (i.e. ‘post-secondary’ or
‘tertiary educated’) at the census/ survey
date.

Malaysian diaspora has started as early as


1963 but within the context of people
pursuing tertiary education overseas
(especially to the UK, US, and Australia). In
the 1960s about 10,000 Malaysians left the
country to pursue higher education and to
find career overseas (Jauhar et al., 2015). As Figure 2.1: The Malaysian Diaspora and Brain
of 2010, the worldwide Malaysian diaspora Drain
is estimated to be one million people, one-
third of which were highly skilled, and
tertiary educated (World Bank, 2011).

As shown in Figure 2.1, the Malaysian


diaspora is mainly concentrated in
Singapore, which accounts for 57 percent of
the entire Malaysian diaspora worldwide
(The World Bank, 2011). Singapore also
absorbed most of the brain drains from
Malaysia, accounting for about 54 percent of
the total skilled Malaysian diaspora
worldwide. The Singapore Department of 57 percent of the Malaysian
Statistics reported that there were 385,979
Malaysian residents in Singapore in 2010.
diaspora is mainly concentrated
The actual number of Malaysian born in Singapore
workers in Singapore could be much more
significant as it would include the non-
resident workers for which no official data is (The World Bank, 2011)
available.

2-1
FACTORS MOTIVATING MALAYSIANS TO WORK IN
SINGAPORE

2.2 Factors of Job-Seeking in Singapore


There are various factors that attract Malaysians to seek employment in Singapore. Ho and Tyson
.
(2011) indicated factors such as access to permanent residence, public sector, and university jobs.
As displayed in Figure 2.2, The World Bank Report (2011) mentioned five factors: (1) more
attractive salary/benefits, (2) better career prospects/availability of job opportunities in specific
fields, (3) quality of life, (4) access to high-quality education, and (5) country size and diaspora
network. However, there is an absence of research that investigates the push and pull factors
accounting for the movement of low and unskilled workers. Hence, this study hopes to identify the
factors that influence Malaysians skilled and unskilled workers to work in Singapore.

Country Size
& Diaspora
Network

Attractive Career
Salary Prospect

High-Quality
Quality of Life
Education

Figure 2.2: Factors of job-seeking in Singapore (World Bank Report, 2011)

2-2
FACTORS MOTIVATING MALAYSIANS TO WORK IN
SINGAPORE

2.3 Motivating Factors

Lee (1966) introduced one of the most prominent theories of migration to explain the factors of
migration. According to Lee (1966), there are four factors that influence migration, namely: (1)
factors associated with the area of origin, (2) factors associated with the area of destination, (3)
intervening obstacles, and (4) personal factors. The model is illustrated in Figure 3.

Figure 2.3: Model of factors that influence migration (Lee, 1966)

Lee (1966) suggested that at both sides – origin and destination – there are various factors that
attract (+) and repel (-) the migrants as well as other factors (o) that attract or repel different
individuals. The ease of movement between origin and destination country is influenced by the
intervening obstacles. In sum, this theory suggests that every individual migrates for different or
similar reasons. Nonetheless, there is an inclination to migrate to a more developed economy.
Furthermore, a recent study argued that incentives and cost were the core factors that may
influence the decision to migrate (Collier and Hoefler, 2018).
This classic theory has been applied in many studies as a basis to understand cross border mobility.
For cross border worker mobility between Malaysia and Singapore, Zakariya (2012) for example,
had identified a number of pushing factors that have caused Malaysians to seek work in Singapore
and pulling factors that have attracted Malaysian workers to find jobs in Singapore. Among the
factors that have been found by this study are better employment opportunities, higher earnings
and political stability in Singapore.
Meanwhile, a survey conducted by the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (2014) indicated five
pulling factors that attract foreigners to work in their country, that are (1) good pay, (2) good
working conditions, (3) sense of security, (4) good living conditions, and (5) good working
prospects. Another study by Jauhar et al. (2015) surveyed those in the accounting professions
indicated the pulling factors as: (1) higher salary, (2) quality work life, (3) ease of immigration
procedure, (4) international exposure, and (5) more job opportunities, which attract Malaysian
accountants to work in Singapore.

2-3
FACTORS MOTIVATING MALAYSIANS TO WORK IN
SINGAPORE

Conventional pull and push theory, however, has its shortcomings as it tends to ignore individual
differences between migrant workers (Ho and Tyson, 2011). Wherein, Malaysian workers in
Singapore are from different ethnics and education backgrounds. In this respect, an alternative
theory proposed by Porter and Lawler (1968) can be used to better capture individual differences in
the migrants’ motivation. Porter and Lawler (1968) in their theory of intrinsic and extrinsic
motivation believed that the intrinsically motivated individuals do things for the appeals of doing it
and acquire the contentment from doing the task itself. In which, Deci and Ryan (1985) described
intrinsic motivation as the kind of motivation that moves a person to do tasks that are pleasant and
fulfilling to them. On the contrary, the extrinsically motivated individuals need some rewards in
return for doing a task. They will only feel the contentment if they get something as a reward for
doing the task (Gagné and Deci, 2005). Thus, extrinsic motivation involves requiring some
compensation in doing a certain task or simply doing the task to avoid punishment.

• Refers to motivation that is internally driven where the


INTRINSIC task or activity itself is the source of encouragement.
MOTIVATION
• Include self-satisfaction and self-fulfilment.

• Known as the instrumental motivation as it involves


getting rewards in return for achieving a goal, which
EXTRINSIC
particularly is in material forms and not for own
MOTIVATION satisfaction, such as pay, bonuses, rewards, promotion
and other material reimbursement.

2-4
CHALLENGES TO WORK IN SINGAPORE

2.4 Challenges to Work in Singapore

There are six (6) main challenges normally experienced by Malaysians working in Singapore. The
challenges are as illustrated in Figure 2.4 below.

Figure 2.4: Main Challenges of Working in Singapore

(a) High Cost of Living

Although Singapore provides lucrative remuneration opportunities, the cost of living in Singapore
puts a strain on the migrant workers’ wages (Low et al., 2008). The migrant workers feel stressful
because of the high costs of living and strict housing policies and thus, affect their attachment to
Singapore itself (Teh, 2015). High standard of living and strict housing policies are the reasons
many Malaysian workers find Singapore unsuitable to live permanently (Malaysian Digest, 2015).

2-5
CHALLENGES TO WORK IN SINGAPORE

For bachelors, life in Singapore could be like living in paradise (Khoo, 2016). Dollar to dollar, it is
cheaper to travel, hang out at popular places, hipster cafes and buy more groceries for SGD50 in
Singapore than what one would be able to get for MYR50 in Malaysia. However, if the Malaysian
workers are planning to settle down and start a family in Singapore, the picture can start to change
drastically. As once we factor the need for a house and a family car, Malaysia would seem to offer a
better deal (Khoo, 2016).
According to Worldwide Cost of Living Report 2017 published by the Economist Intelligence Unit
(CNBC, 2017), Singapore is the most expensive city in the world since 2013. The detailed description
is displayed in Figure 2.5 below. Hence, to earn a living in Singapore would be one of the biggest
challenges experienced by Malaysians working in this country.

Figure 2.5: The most expensive cities in the world (CNBC, 2017)

2-6
CHALLENGES TO WORK IN SINGAPORE

(b) Unsatisfactory working benefits and


conditions
Migrant workers in Singapore, particularly in
the construction industry, encounter few
challenges such as low wages, long working
hours of more than ten hours per day,
compulsory overtime work, poor living
conditions and no assurance of future
contracts once their existing work permits
expire (Low, Liu and Soh, 2008). Workers in
the construction may have to work for more
than 12 hours a day, thus, breaching legislation
on the maximum hours of work allowed
(TWC2, 2017). Aside from that, some of the
workers are housed in cramped, poorly
equipped and ventilated, and unhygienic living
quarters with inadequate nutrition (Kaur,
2013). This situation often occurs as most
employers wanted to avoid the hassle of
transporting them daily back and forth from (c) Discrimination on employment contract
their living quarters to the work site.
Discrimination faced from the host citizen is
Moreover, Malaysian workers who seek to file one of the much-highlighted “traumas”
claims against their employers may also face experienced by Malaysians working in other
the prospect of losing their jobs, being countries including Singapore (SMU, 2015;
repatriated or even intimidated. Even most of Ang, 2007). In fact, the privileges and benefits
those who manage to file claims end up not of the host citizen and foreign workers have
being fully reimbursed after waiting a lengthy become more and more distinct over time,
period for the claim to conclude (Wan, 2017). hence, signaling the trend that the host
Some ended up not filing their claims after country is more inclined to prioritize their own
employers threaten to deport them. Wan citizen in filling the job market.
(2017) also added that when a worker files a
salary or injury claim with the Ministry of
Manpower (MOM), an employer typically
cancels his work permit so as to avoid paying
the monthly foreign worker levy. Once a work
permit is cancelled, the affected worker would
be issued a special pass so that he can stay in
Singapore while waiting for the decision of the
claim. However, this special pass does not
allow the worker to continue working in
Singapore.

2-7
CHALLENGES TO WORK IN SINGAPORE

For instance, Malaysians working in Singapore have no assurance of their future employment
security, and they worry that their work permits would not be renewed upon expiration,
especially for those who wish to continue working in Singapore (Low et al., 2008). Furthermore,
Benjamin (2017) stated that there are cases of Malaysians being deceived into accepting jobs with
no proper employment contracts, lower basic salaries and much longer working hours, while some
even have their passports held by their employers.
Wong (2010) noted that amidst the concerns for the increasing number of immigrants, permanent
resident (PR) and naturalized citizens, the Singapore Government has shifted its stand from being
open and welcoming to being selective towards ensuring quality and assimilability. Stringent
legislations are used to control the number of the immigrants, govern the conditions of their
employment and ensure their short-term migrant status (Yeoh and Lin, 2012; Yeoh and Huang,
2000). In other words, the Singapore government implements policies to moderate the inflow of
Malaysians and other foreign workers over time by tightening the PR or citizenship assessment
framework.

(d) The Sense of not fully-belonging


The cases of Chinese-Malaysians in Singapore further
challenge the notions of “citizens”, “diasporas” and
“transnational migrants”. As Malaysian citizens, they
are not full citizens in the normative sense due to the
ethnic-based policies. As Singapore PRs and/or Citizen,
they enjoy benefits accompanying these legal-political
statuses, but may not subscribe to their cultural
meanings and belongings. Notably, a qualitative study
on immigrants including Malaysians in Singapore
suggested that they were somewhat confused when
asked to define Singaporean culture (Mohanty et al.
2017). As citizens, diasporas and transnational
migrants, they steer away from Malaysia’s politics and
development (in participation or contributions), yet
continue to feel strongly about being a Malaysian.
Nagel and Staeheli (2004) argue that “it is possible to
claim identity as a citizen of a country without claiming
an identity as ‘belonging to’ or ‘being of’ that country”
(p3). This is certainly true as observed by Koh (2015) in
her study of Chinese-Malaysians in Singapore, in
which, it is found that belonging is with “family” first,
while, “ethno-national/cultural” become the second.
Studies in this area also emphasize that it is not
uncommon for immigrants to display strong
connections to their homelands while concurrently
forging new identities in the host countries (Koepke,
2014).

2-8
CHALLENGES TO WORK IN SINGAPORE

(e) Health risks of highly mobile persons

Migrant workers are easily exposed to health risks at all stages of a migration process (origin,
transit, destination and return). This might be due to limited access to medical and health
services. In fact, some of the workers are deprived of medical insurance and medical treatment
by errant employers (Joint Report, 2011). For instance, in November 2011, there was a case of a
Malaysian working in Singapore named Kee Yau Chong who faced with a medical bill exceeding
SGD100,000 after being set on fire by a colleague during a quarrel. The hefty bill is due to the
fact that Mr Kee, 24, is not entitled to the health-care subsidy. Mr Kee, who had 28 per cent
burns in his body, was warded at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) for 46 days, where he
underwent multiple skin grafts. Meanwhile, SGH chief financial officer Wong Loong Kin
highlighted that basic medical treatment is the right of any patients. For those with financial
issues, financial aids are available such as the hospital’s Needy Patients Fund and SingHealth
Foundation. Additionally, some hospitals such as Changi General Hospital (CGH) offer interest
free instalment plans to help Singaporean or foreigner patients who have trouble paying large
bills at one go for their medical treatment (Singapore General Hospital, 2011). .

The healthcare accessibility problem may also force Malaysians to seek treatment in Malaysia
whereby encouraging ethical malpractices. For example, in 2017, an employer exposed a fake
medical certificate (MC) syndicate in Johor involving Malaysians working in Singapore. The
syndicate came to light after an employer queried about an MC given by a Malaysian public
hospital to one of its staff. It was then found that the MC was actually sold for RM25 each via a
middleman. The fake MCs with hospital’s rubber stamp and serial numbers were mainly sold to
civil servants in Johor and Malaysians working in Singapore (The Star, 2017).

2-9
CHALLENGES TO WORK IN SINGAPORE

(f) The Stress of Constant Commuting

The stress of constant commuting for workers who travel through the Johor-Singapore
Causeway and Second Link, the poor traffic management and rising toll fees are sticky issues
for the commuters (Tan, 2015). Everyday, it is estimated that 100,000 motorcyclists endured
stressful daily commutes. Johor authorities reported an average of about 296,000 daily
pedestrians in 2015 traveling to and fro across the Causeway and Second Link. This figure
excludes those travelling on motorcycles, cars, vans, lorries and buses. There are 126,000
vehicles entering Singapore daily, on the kilometre-long Causeway alone, and the Second Link
has capacity for 200,000 vehicles per day. The motorcycles registered for an auto-clearance
crossing number some 100,000 and most would likely use the Causeway. These data suggest
about a quarter million commuters make the land journey between the two countries each
day (Channel News Asia, 2017).

Despite not having to pay expensive charges,


stressful conditions arise because of frustration
dealing with congested traffic. The commuters
have to leave home as early as 5.00 in the
morning and be back at about 9.00 at night. As
a consequence, they have insufficient time to
spend with their family or watch their children
grow up. This contributes to problems such as
increasing divorce rate and family neglecting
cases among the Malaysian commuters working
in Singapore (Teh, 2015).

In relation to this, a study by National University of Singapore (NUS) researchers found that
checking one’s social networking apps and sites, personal emails, surfing the Web and texting
would lead to less commuting strain and greater relaxation during the morning commute. For
the evening commuters, people watching, looking at the scenery and zoning out, were found to
allow people to better recover from their work day. On the contrary, work-related activities,
such as reading work emails, working on assignments, and thinking about work-related things
are detrimental to commuters’ well-being, regardless of the time of the commute to and pro
the workplace (Today Online, 2015).

2-10
SOCIAL SECURITY AND WELFARE

2.5 Social Security and Welfare For Malaysians Working in Singapore

Social Security is an important aspect in life. Hence, it is important to highlight the welfare and
social security of Malaysians working in Singapore. In both countries - Malaysia and Singapore,
the social security rate is a tax related with labour income charged to both companies and
employees. Revenues from the social security rate are an important source of income for both
governments because they help to pay for many social programs including welfare, health care
and many other benefits. The social security rate in Malaysia stands at 20 per cent in 2018 whilst
in Singapore; the social security rate in 2018 is at 37 per cent and is the second highest after
China among the countries in Asia (Trading Economics, 2018).

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has made comparison of the social security programs
between Malaysia and Singapore in 2016 (SSA, 2017). There are several benefits that include
foreign workers such as voluntary coverage for provident fund, withdrawal of provident funds at
any age for foreign workers who return home after the job contact expires, and voluntary
coverage for medical benefits. In contrast to Singapore, the country does not provide any benefits
for foreign workers except for its residents. Residents of Singapore, however, are only covered in
terms of medical benefits (provident fund and social assistance).

2-11
SOCIAL SECURITY AND WELFARE

2.6 Social Security and Welfare of Malaysians Working in Singapore

Malaysian professionals, middle and low-skilled workers gravitate towards Singapore for jobs due to
the magnetic attraction of earning higher income. However, they also admitted that the work stress
and challenges are also doubled than what their Malaysian counterparts are facing (Ruxyn, 2017).
Malaysians working in Singapore also have to work harder because career development is based on
merit which means that they are competing with other talents, apart from to prove the opposite of
the stereotype. This scenario implies that Malaysians are in fear of their job security; hence they are
in constant pressure to perform and may not be enjoying the work-life balance (Ruxyn, 2017).
Besides, it was found that Singapore companies have the tendencies to discriminate Malaysians
with certain illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and others. It is mandatory for a Malaysian to
undergo medical examination before applying for a job permit (Chan, 2016).

In terms of the social security, the Central Provident Fund (CPF) administers all forms of social
security in Singapore. Currently, there are four vital CPF accounts in Singapore: the Medisave,
Ordinary, Special, and Retirement Accounts (InterNations, 2017). However, social security in
Singapore is only available for citizens and permanent residents, whilst, temporary residents, who
include most migrant workers and expatriates would have to handle their retirement funds
independently. In fact, Singapore has no social security agreements with other countries, either.
Therefore, it is vital for Malaysians working in Singapore to look into social security coverage on
their own before they move to Singapore. For instance, they should consider getting a private
health insurance policy for expats or to invest in the Malaysian Employees Provident Fund to
ensure their own social security.

Upon criticism by many countries on the lack of welfare support by the Singapore government,
the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act was revised in 2007 to include the mandate for
employers to provide free housing. The Foreign Employees Dormitories Bill, passed in early
2015, requires housing units containing more than 1,000 workers to observe stricter
regulations in safety, psychosocial activity, and space requirements. However, smaller housing
units are not subject to the regulations. Although the government legally requires firms to
provide housing for unskilled migrants, the lack of enforcing international norms means that
the government retains the right to withhold them without any repercussions (Sacco, 2016).
This means that migrant workers may not have any recourse rights when it comes to
demanding better treatment.

2-12
SOCIAL SECURITY AND WELFARE

The Singaporean Ministry of Manpower do performs


regular inspections in migrant housing units, and is
empowered to impose huge fines on employers who
fail to secure the safety of their workers (Sacco, 2016).
Furthermore, because they are obligated to pay for
their own workplace training, many migrant workers
arrive in Singapore having already accumulated
substantial debt (TWC2, 2012). In fact, some workers
need to work for long periods just to pay off the agency
fees. Due to the high fees, many workers are beholden
to their employers (Palaniyapan, 2014). Sadly, migrant
workers do not have the right to unionize, making it
difficult for them to fight for their welfares. In fact,
employers have the unilateral right to cancel work
visas, forcing repatriation.

The compensation claim process by foreign workers for


workplace injury has also been subject to criticism.
While the Singaporean Ministry of Manpower reports
that workplace injuries in migrant-heavy industries
such as construction were on the rise between 2010
and 2014, TWC2 reports that the average time it takes
for workers to receive compensation for these injuries
is approximately three to six months, during which
time they are unable to receive any economic benefits
from the government. Employers then have access to a
number of means of either reducing or denying this
compensation entirely. In which, many employ in-
house physicians who will intentionally downplay the
severity of the injury, thus, reducing costs. Singapore's
migration policies send a clear message to the workers
themselves and to the watchful eyes of the
international community, migrant workers will be
treated well, but these benefits are the government's
to give or take away. They are not based on any notion
of inviolable rights, but on the sovereign generosity of
the country.

2-13
SOCIAL SECURITY AND WELFARE

2.7 Malaysia vs. Singapore Social Security First and second year permanent residents
System
contribute at a lower rate, but can apply
jointly with their employer to contribute at
Alfian (n.d.) has compared the social security full rates. A foreigner in or past their third
systems among several Asian countries year as a permanent resident and their
including Malaysia and Singapore. The social employer must contribute normally (Dezan
security system in Singapore is under the care Shira & Associates, 2015).
of the Ministry of Manpower and the Ministry
of Health, whereby in Malaysia, it falls under Although Malaysian EPF does not provide
the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Labour assistance for health care, Malaysia’s
and the Ministry of Health. Malaysia and social security system known as SOCSO or
Singapore are similar in many ways with PERKESO does provide for this. In which,
respect to social security system. Both the system provides assistance in terms of
countries provide fund for retirement benefits regular payments from the government in
that is called Employees Provident Fund (EPF) the event of unemployment, sickness or
for Malaysia and Central Provident Fund (CPF) death. To be entitled to payment, a
for Singapore. This fund not only covers foreign workers has to be a Mykad holder.
retirement benefits but also housing, However, for a brief time, that is between
healthcare and other benefits. Apart from EPF, 1991 to 1993, PERKESO did provide
Malaysia also provide Social Security protection to foreign workers.
Organization (SOCSO) to protect employees
who are at risk of work related sickness and In Malaysia, it is the responsibility of the
accidents at the workplace. employer to ensure their employees are
signed up to the system and contributions
The total contribution rate to Malaysia’s are made from both the employer and the
Employees’ Provident Fund is equal to 22 employee. The system by which these
percent of net wages (as of 1993) and interest payments are managed is the SOCSO and it
earned on contributions accrues to individual is compulsory for citizens to sign up for
savings accounts. Withdrawals may be made in this. The contributions from both are
the event of death, incapacitation or for an based on the earnings of the employees.
optional housing finance scheme. There is no There is no national set standard.
provision for unemployment or health care,
however. Singapore’s Central Provident Fund
has a total long-term contribution rate of 40
percent of net wages. In addition to old-age
and housing withdrawals, the Singapore system
also permits financing of pre-approved
investments, hospitalization and other health
care charges (Rupert, 1999). However, not all
foreign workers working in Singapore could get
access to the CPF. Only the Permanent
residents and their employers are required to
contribute to the CPF. The mandatory
contribution amount varies depending on the
contributor’s age.

2-14
SOCIAL SECURITY AND WELFARE

In Malaysia, foreign workers without MyKad are Malaysia operates bi-lateral agreements on
not covered by the national social security social security matters with a few Asian
system; however, they are covered by a countries such as Singapore, Pakistan, Sri
contributory insurance scheme for employment Lanka and Thailand. Therefore, foreign
injury. The employer is required by law to submit workers from other countries such as the
these contributions and under no circumstance UK and the USA have to make their own
must they deduct this charge from the worker’s arrangements for periods of
salary. This will cover health service expenses in unemployment. There is no recourse to
the event of an injury occurring during the course public funds. Foreign workers who are non-
of employment. Because an employer has a legal holders of a Mykad are not obliged by law
obligation to ensure that all employees are safe to pay contributions into the SOCSO
and properly trained, accidents in the work place scheme. However, there is a hospitalization
are taken highly seriously. Companies have to and sickness scheme which is for foreign
adhere to strict legislation in this regard and workers and as EPF, employers have to
penalties are harsh if any breach is found. In make the contributions. This scheme is
2011, the Malaysian Government introduced the called Foreign Worker Hospitalisation &
compulsory Foreign Workers Hospitalisation and Surgical Insurance Scheme (SKHPPA) and is
Social Insurance Scheme (SKHPPA). Employers for foreign employees between the ages of
must pay SKHPPA for full-time foreign employees 18 to 59. Table 2.1 summarises the
who are aged between 18 and 59. The insured difference between the social security
person receives a fixed amount of healthcare provided by Malaysia and Singapore to
cover each year, which can be used in their foreign workers.
government hospitals only (Angloinfo, n.d.).
Hence, it can be seen that there are differences
between the social security provided by Malaysia
and Singapore to their foreign workers.

2-15
EPF vs CPF

Table 2.1: The difference between the social security provided by Malaysia and Singapore to
their Foreign workers
EPF CPF
Retirement
Upon reaching age 50 Upon reaching age 55
Can withdraw all or partial savings in Account 2 • Full Retirement Sum or Basic Retirement Sum
with sufficient property charge/pledge to be met
Upon reaching age 55
• Any excess above the Retirement Sum can be
Can withdraw all savings in Account 1 and 2 or
withdraw
withdraw partial and transfer the balance to
monthly payments • Can withdraw up to $5,000 if cannot meet Full
Retirement Sum or Basic Retirement Sum
• Savings in Retirement Account will be transferred
to CPF LIFE to provide monthly pay out to
members upon reaching the eligibility pay out
age at 65.

Upon reaching age 65


• Receive monthly pay out from CPF for as long as
you live.

• Amount of monthly pay out is not fixed and


depends on individual’s CPF Life Plan.
Housing
May withdraw: May withdraw:
• 10% of the property price for down • Buy or build new or resale Housing and
payment Development Board (HDB) flats and private
residential properties in Singapore
• To reduce / fully settle outstanding
housing loan • To pay for purchase price of the property
• To pay for monthly housing loan • To pay for monthly housing loan instalments
instalments
• To pay legal and stamping fees
Cannot withdraw for:
When property is sold or disposed:
• Renovation or repairs works for existing
• To refund the principal CPF amount that was
property
withdrawn and the accrued interest which the
• Purchase of third property funds would earned to their CPF Account.
• Purchase for non-residential purposes • The pledged amount if the property is pledged to
meet the Basic Retirement Sum
• Overseas property

• An overdraft loan

When property is sold or disposed:


• Not required to refund the savings to the
EPF Account
• Gets 100% of the sale proceeds minus any
taxes and fees
2-16
EPF vs. CPF

Healthcare
May withdraw: Medisave:
• Medical expenses incurred for the • To pay for medical care and hospitalisation
treatment of critical illnesses expenses at public healthcare institutions, and
approved private hospitals and medical
• Buy medical aid equipment approved
institutions.
by EPF Board for yourself, spouse,
children (including step children and • All CPF members will be covered by Medishield
legally adopted children), parents Life, a compulsory all-inclusive health
(including step parents), parents-in- insurance scheme that provides lifetime
laws and siblings. coverage.

If member becomes physically or mentally May withdraw if member is :


unfit to work: • Physically or mentally unfit to work
• Can withdraw all the savings
• Suffering from an terminal illnesses
• Receive one-time incapacitation
• Have a reduced lifespan
benefit from EPF, amounting RM 5,000
Members will receive:
• Up to $5,000 or
• Savings after setting aside a reduced
Retirement Sum.

• Monthly pay out (minimum $450) from the


Retirement Account
Education
May withdraw: May withdraw:
• To pay tuition fee (including one way • Only approved full time subsidized
airfare & lodging) at an approved diploma/degree courses conducted locally at
Institute of Higher Learning either the approved institutions
locally or abroad
• Do not include foreign Diploma/degree
courses conducted locally but awarded by
foreign institutions

• Have to repay the principal amount withdrawn


plus any accrued interest in cash to the CPF
Account, either by a lump sum or monthly
payment, one year after graduation or
termination of studies
Leaving The Country
May withdraw all savings if: May withdraw all savings if:
• Renounced citizenship • Renounced citizenship
• Ceased employment and plan to • Plan to migrate with no intention to return for
migrate or return to country of origin employment and residence
• Cannot reside in West Malaysia (Only allowed
if you are age 55 and above)

2-17
COMPARISON OF PERSONAL TAX RATES BETWEEN
SINGAPORE AND MALAYSIA

The following figures present the personal Table 2.2: Singapore – Resident Tax Rate
income tax rates for both Singapore and
Chargeable Income Tax Rate Gross Tax Payable
Malaysia. It can be seen that (note that the Income (%) ($)
unit is MYR and SGD respectively without
First $20,000 0 0
conversion), Singapore obviously has a lower
Next $10,000 2 200
tax rate. Singapore's employees only start to
First $30,000 - 200
pay tax when their annual chargeable income
Next $10,000 3.50 350
is above SGD20,000. But in Malaysia, the
minimum annual chargeable income that First $40,000 - 550
Next $40,000 7 2,800
shall incur tax is RM5,000.
First $80,000 - 3,350
The tax bracket in Singapore is also higher. Next $40,000 11.5 4,600
Singapore annual chargeable income range is First $120,000 - 7,950
bigger for each tax bracket. Thus, it is really Next $40,000 15 6,000
helpful for the lower or medium income First $160,000 - 13,950
range employees as they can enjoy the lower Next $40,000 18 7,200
tax rate for a longer period (based on yearly First $200,000 - 21,150
increment). In Malaysia, the increment of tax Next $40,000 19 7,600
rate is also higher, thus, tax payers would feel First $240,000 - 28,750
the tax impact when their income is Next $40,000 19.5 7,800
upgraded to another level of tax bracket.
First $280,000 - 36,550
Furthermore, Singapore's tax rate increase Next $40,000 20 8,000
between tax brackets are not as severe.
First $320,000 - 44,500
Lastly, the maximum tax rate for Singapore
In excess of 22
employees is much lower as compared with
$320,000
Malaysia's, i.e. 22% versus 28%.

Table 2.3: Malaysia – Personal Income Tax Rates

Chargeable Income Calculations (RM) Rate (%) Tax (RM)

0 - 5,000 On the First 2,500 0 0


5,001 - 20,000 On the First 5,000 0
Next 15,000 1 150
20,001 - 35,000 On the First 20,000 150
Next 15,000 5 750
35,001 - 50,000 On the First 35,000 900
Next 15,000 10 1,500
50,001 - 70,000 On the First 50,000 2,400
Next 20,000 16 3,200
70,001 - 100,000 On the First 70,000 5,600
Next 30,000 21 6,300
100,001 - 250,000 On the First 100,000 11,900
Next 150,000 24 36,000
250,001 - 400,000 On the First 250,000 47,900
Next 150,000 24.5 36,750
400,001 - 600,000 On the First 400,000 84,650
Next 200,000 25 50,000
600,001 - 1,000,000 On the First 600,000 134,650
Next 400,000 26 104,000
More than 1,000,000 On the First 1,000,000 238,650
Next ringgit 28 ..........

2-18
3
METHODOLOGY
PROJECT METHODOLOGY

This project employed a mixed-method approach as suggested by Creswell (2014), particularly


through the implementation of concurrent mixed-method research. Both quantitative and
qualitative approaches were employed in order to gain a rich understanding of Malaysians
working in Singapore. Further, the application of this approach enabled the researchers to
uncover factors that motivate these workers to work in Singapore as well as issues and
challenges experienced by them working in Singapore.

The conduct of concurrent (parallel) mixed-method research in this project has been designed
rigorously as depicted in Figure 3.1, in which six steps needed to be undertaken systematically.
This concurrent mixed-method approach is applied to integrate and triangulate both
quantitative and qualitative findings efficiently due to the limitation of time in completing this
project.

Figure 3.1: Steps Involved for this study

3-1
PROJECT METHODOLOGY

3.1 Data Collection

For this study, a total of 3,369 valid responses were obtained from both paper-based and online
surveys (Figure 3.2). For the qualitative study, 32 interviews have been conducted among 21
Malaysians working in Singapore, five Singapore job agencies, two non-government organizations
(NGOs), three government agencies in Malaysia, and a Labour Attaché.

3.2 Quantitative Survey

A quantitative survey among Malaysians who are working in Singapore has been conducted across all
the identified sub-sectors as well as job classifications and categories. Convenient sampling is
employed in distributing the questionnaires given that the size of the population for this study
cannot be obtained due to the absence of reliable data (World Bank, 2015). Snowball sampling
technique is also employed to increase the number of respondents. The quantitative survey is
conducted around 16 weeks to achieve its target in obtaining the required numbers, from 5th April
2018 until 25th July 2018.

As shown in Figure 3.2, both the paper-based and online surveys are employed to collect data for
this research. With regards to the paper-based survey, 4010 questionnaires have been distributed to
respondents and enumerators. In total, 3282 questionnaires have successfully been collected, while
728 questionnaires were not returned by the enumerators. After the data cleaning process, 2895
responses collected from the paper-based survey were analysed and considered as a valid survey,
while 387 were rejected due to some reasons such as incomplete and invalid respondents.

Data Collection

paper-
Online
based
4010 627

Successfully Google Survey


Not Return
Collected Form Monkey
3282 728 72 555

Valid Rejected Valid Rejected Valid Rejected


2895 387 66 6 408 147
Figure 3.2 : Quantitative Data Collection

3-2
PROJECT METHODOLOGY

For the online survey, both Survey Monkey (SM) and Google Form (GF) were used to collect the
data digitally. Initially, the application of SM is predominantly used for English and Malay, yet since
the Mandarin survey is needed to increase the research data, the online survey form of GF was
used as it’s much easier than using SM for Mandarin. In total, 474 valid online surveys were
obtained from both SM (408) and GF (66 surveys).

3.3 In-Depth Qualitative Interview and Focus Group Discussion

Apart from the quantitative survey, 32 semi-structured interviews have been carried out among
Malaysians working in Singapore to validate the research findings and to gain feedback (Refer Table
3.1). On top of that, several interviews have also been conducted with relevant job agencies and
NGOs to get further details the factors of Malaysians working in Singapore and also the reasons why
Singapore employers hire Malaysians.

Interviews were conducted on face-to-face basis because relational approach is crucial in getting
comments and feedback. Furthermore, by taking this approach, researchers were able to probe
further and read the body language of respondents. Hence, phone interviews will not be as effective
as face-to-face interviews to gain confidence and true feedback from respondents. A set of
interview questions has been developed based on the objectives set in above-mentioned
(Appendix). All interviews were tape-recorded for transcribing purposes.

A focus group discussion has been conducted on 27th July 2018 among 14 relevant agencies to
formulate and validate the recommendations proposed for this study. Among the agencies involved
are representatives from the following agencies

❖ Malaysia Employer Federation (MEF)


❖ Federation of Malaysian Federation (FMM)
❖ Talent Corporation
❖ The Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF)
❖ Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI)
❖ Ministry of Education (MoE)
❖ Malaysia Investment Development Authorithy (MIDA)
❖ Department of Skills Development
❖ Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA)
❖ Institute of Youth Research Malaysia (IYRES), Ministry of Youth and Sports
❖ Social Security Organization (SOCSO)
❖ Employees Provident Fund (EPF)
❖ Labour Attache’ of Malaysia in Singapore
❖ Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC)

3-3
PROJECT METHODOLOGY

Table 3.1: List of Participants

Profile of Professional Workers

No. Name Gender/ Working Current Singapore Type of Place of


(Pseudonym) Race Experience Position PR Status Work Residence
/ Age (Singapore) /Industry Pass

1 Mdm A F 7 years In-house PR NA Singapore


legal
counsel /
Real Estate
2 Mr B M 7 years IT Engineer PR NA Singapore
(Field
Support) /
IT
3 Ms C F 4 years Teacher / PR NA Singapore
Education
4 Mrs D F 5.5 year Operation Non PR EP Singapore
Executive /
Events
Exhibition
5 Mr E M 7 years Structural Non PR EP Johor
Design
Engineer /
Constructio
n - Marine
6 Mr F M 8 years Underwriter PR NA Singapore
/ Insurance
Company
7 Ms G F 2 years Administrat Non PR EP Singapore
or
/Insurance
company
8 Ms H F 4 years Senior Non PR EP Singapore
Engineer /
Creative
Industry

3-4
PROJECT METHODOLOGY

Profiles of Middle Level Workers


No. Name Gender Working Current Position Singapore Type of Place of
(Pseudonym) / / Race Experience /Industry PR Status Work Residence
Age (Singapore) Pass
1 Ms I F 1.5 years R&D Executive Non PR S-Pass Singapore
/ Food
27 Industry
2 Ms J F 2 years Finance Non PR S-Pass Singapore
Executive /
26 Financial
Service
3 Mr K M 4 months Planner / Non PR S-Pass Singapore
Electronic
27 Industry
4 Mr L M 8 months Purchase Non PR S-Pass Singapore
Coordinator /
29 Electronic
Industry

5 Mrs M F 2 years Accountant / Non PR S-Pass Johor


Shipping
28

Profiles of Low Level Worker


No. Name Gender Working Current Position Singapore Type of Place of
(Pseudonym) / / Race Experience /Industry PR Status Work Residence
Age (Singapore) Pass
1 Mrs. N F 3 years Auxiliary Police Non PR WP Johor

26
2 Mr. O M 6 years Technician Non PR WP Johor
(Logistics)
29
3 Mr. P M 2.5 years Admin Non PR WP Johor
Executive
23
4 Ms. Q F 3 years Manufacturing Non PR WP Johor
(Quality
24 Assurance)
5 Mrs. R F 9 Months Operation Non PR WP Johor
(Telecom)
24
6 Ms. S F 1.5 years Logistics Admin. Non PR WP Johor Bahru
/ Logistics
26
7 Ms. T F 4.5 years Trainer / Non PR WP Johor
Manufacturing
27
8 Mr. U M 6 years Operator / Non PR WP Johor
Manufacturing
34

3-5
4
DEMOGRAPHIC
FINDINGS
FINDINGS

This section presents the findings of the study based on survey responses collected from 3369
respondents. The section focuses on two main aspects: (1) demographic data, and (2) cross tabulation
analyses of important findings.

4.1 Demographic Data


1550 1819
(46.0%) (54.0%)
4.1.1 Gender

Figure 4.1 shows that 54.0% of the


respondents are male and 46.0% of them are
female.

Male Female

Figure 4.1: Gender of the Respondents

61.7% 38.3%
Reside in Singapore
Commute to Singapore
55.7%
44.3%

Male Female
Commute to Singapore 1160 720
Reside in Singapore 659 830
Figure 4.2: Gender of the Respondents by Residents / Commuters Status

Figure 4.2 shows that majority of the respondents who commute to Singapore are male with a total
number of 1160 respondents (61.7 %), while 38.3% are female (659 respondents). Meanwhile, 830
female respondents reside in Singapore, which is higher than male respondents of 659 in total. This
represents 55.7% and 44.3% respectively with a difference of 11.4%.

4-1
FINDINGS

4.1.2 Age
1200 30.0%

1000
21.9%
800

600 13.7% 14.3%

9.3%
400
5.8%
200 2.5%
0.7% 1.1%
0.3% 0.3%
0
18-19 20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60-64 65 and
above

Figure 4.3: Age of the Respondents


Figure 4.3 indicates that the respondents aged between 25 to 29 years old represents 30.0%
(1012 respondents) of the total respondents followed by those whose age are between 30 to 34
years old with 737 respondent (21.9%) and between 20 to 24 years old with 461 respondents
(13.7%). Interestingly, 0.60% of the respondents, aged 60 years old and above, are still working in
Singapore despite the fact that they are senior citizens.
1200

1000

800 58.3%
600 57.5%
400 55.1% 57.3%
41.7% 53.2%
200 42.5% 40.0% 44.4% 50.0%
69.6% 44.9% 42.7% 46.8% 48.7% 9.1%
0 30.4% 51.3% 60.0% 55.6% 50.0%
90.9%
18-19

20-24

25-29

30-34

35-39

40-44

45-49

50-54

55-59

60-64

65 and above

Reside in Singapore Commute to Singapore


Figure 4.4: Age of the Respondents by Residents / Commuters Status

Figure 4.4 shows the distribution of age among the respondents residing in Singapore and
commuting to Singapore. The findings uncover that majority of the respondents in both groups
(residing in Singapore and commuters) are aged between 25 to 29 years old representing
approximately 30.0% of the respondents (1012 respondents). In terms of percentage, majority of
the respondents whose age are between 25 to 29 years old commute to Singapore (58.3%, 590
respondents) compared to the respondents who reside in Singapore (41.7%, 422 respondents).
The same goes to other age categories with exception to those in age groups of 40 to 65 and
above whereby, interestingly, the number of those residing in Singapore (5.7%) are higher than
those commuting to Singapore (3.1%).

4-2
FINDINGS

4.1.3 Race

Indian
Figure 4.5 shows that majority of (16.5%)
the respondents are Chinese
(66.2%, 2230 respondents) with Chinese
only 16.6% Bumiputera (558 (66.2%)
Others
respondents), 16.5% Indian (555 (0.8%)
respondents) and 0.8% other races
(26 respondents).
Bumiputera
(16.6%)
Figure 4.5: Race of the Respondents

2500

2000 41.5%

1500

1000
58.5%
500 83.7% 85.0% 57.7%

0 16.3% 15.0% 42.3%


Bumiputera Chinese Indian Others
Commute to Singapore 467 926 472 15
Reside in Singapore 91 1304 83 11

Reside in Singapore Commute to Singapore

Figure 4.6: Race of the Respondents by Residents / Commuters Status

Comparing the results of both groups, respondents who reside in Singapore and respondents who
commute to Singapore, the Chinese respondents who reside in Singapore constitute almost 1304 of
the total respondents of 2230 (58.5%), meanwhile 926 Chinese respondents (41.5%) commute to
Singapore. For Bumiputera respondents, majority of them (467 respondents, 83.7%) commute to
Singapore compared to those residing in Singapore (91 respondents, 16.3%). Similarly, many
Indian respondents are found to commute to Singapore (472 respondents, 85%) as compared to
those residing in Singapore (83 respondents, 15%).

4-3
FINDINGS

4.1.4 State of Origin

Figure 4.7: State of Origin of the Respondents

As illustrated in Figure 4.7, majority of the respondents are from Johor (50.4%, 1697 respondents),
followed by the respondents from Perak and Kuala Lumpur (11.75% and 6.69% respectively). The
findings also show that although almost half of the respondents are from the closest neighboring
state Johor, Malaysians who work in Singapore come from all over Malaysia. The lowest percentage
is from Perlis and Putrajaya with, in total, 12 respondents that constitute only 0.33% of the total
respondents.

Sarawak 70.2% 29.8% (171 respondents )


Sabah 69.3% 30.7% (75 respondents )
Pahang 51.5% 48.5% (99 respondents ) Based on Figure 4.8, majority of the respondents
Terengganu 46.2% 53.8% (26 respondents ) are from Johor with 28.3% of them reside in
Kelantan 42.1% 57.9% (38 respondents ) Singapore and 71.7% commute to Singapore.
Perlis 18.2% 81.8% (11 respondents ) This is followed by the respondents from Perak,
Kedah 55.4% 44.6% (83 respondents ) for both groups, which constitutes 53.8% of
Pulau Pinang 70.3% 29.7% (182 respondents ) those residing in Singapore and the balance of
Perak 53.8% 46.2% (398 respondents ) 46.2% are commuters. The respondents from
Putrajaya 0.0% 100.0% (01 respondents ) both states (Johor and Perak) represent more
Kuala Lumpur 74.0% 26.0% (204 respondents ) than half of the total respondents for this study.
Selangor 65.2% 34.8% (138 respondents )
Negeri Sembilan 54.4% 45.6% (114 respondents )
Melaka 49.2% 50.8% (132 respondents )
Johor 28.3% 71.7% (1697 respondents )

0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800

Reside in Singapore Commute to Singapore

Figure 4.8: State of Origin of the Respondent by Residents / Commuters Status


4-4
FINDINGS

4.1.5 Highest Educational Level

34.9%
1200

1000

800 20.3%
17.9%
600

400 8.7%
4.7% 3.9%
200 1.8% 2.0% 3.0% 2.3%
0.4%
0

Postgraduate
Certificate
SPM or equivalent
UPSR/UPSRA or equivalent

Diploma

Bachelor Degree
PMR/SPR/LCE/SRA or equivalent

SKM3, Malaysian Skill Diploma and


STPM or equivalent

No Formal Education
Professional Certificate
Advanced Diploma

Figure 4.9 : Highest Educational Level of the Respondents

As shown in Figure 4.9, majority of the respondents (34.9%, 1176 respondents) hold a SPM
qualification. This is followed by respondents with Degree and Diploma level education, 20.3% (683
respondents) and 17.9% (603 respondents) respectively. Interestingly, 14 (0.4%) respondents
reported that they have no formal education.

4-5
FINDINGS

Meanwhile, Figure 4.10 below displays the distribution of highest educational level among
respondents residing in Singapore and commuting to Singapore. Majority of the respondents who
reside in Singapore possess a bachelor degree that accounts approximately 476 respondents
(32.0%) out of the total of 1489 respondents who reside in Singapore. On the other hand, majority
of those commuting to Singapore hold SPM or equivalent representing 45.0% (846 respondents)
of the total of 1880 commuting respondents.

0.3%
0.9%
0.7%
11.0%
17.8%
Commute to Singapore 3.9%
2.6%
5.6%
45.0%
9.9%
2.3%
0.5%
7.8%
4.4%
32.0%
18.1%
Reside in Singapore 1.8%
1.3%
3.6%
22.2%
7.2%
1.2%

0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900


Reside in Singapore Commute to Singapore
No Formal Education 8 6
Postgraduate 116 16
Professional Certificate 65 13
Bachelor Degree 476 207
Diploma 269 334
SKM3, Malaysian Skill Diploma
27 73
and Advanced Diploma
Certificate 20 49
STPM or equivalent 53 105
SPM or equivalent 330 846
PMR/SPR/LCE/SRA or equivalent 107 187
UPSR/UPSRA or equivalent 18 44

Figure 4.10: Highest Educational Level of the Respondents by Residents/Commuters Status

4-6
FINDINGS

4.1.6 Job Title

Table 4.1 : Top 10 Job Titles

Job Title Total Percentage (%)


Operator 526 15.6
Technician 328 9.7
Engineer 191 5.7
Manager 137 4.1
Executive 116 3.4
Admin 102 3.0
Customers service officer 74 2.2
Accountant 59 1.8
Cleaner 56 1.7
Clerk 56 1.7

Table 5 shows the top ten (10) job titles of the respondents working in Singapore. The findings
show that almost 15.6% of the respondents work as Operator (526 respondents) and 9.7% work
as Technician. These two represent the first two top job titles. Other job titles include Engineer
(5.7%), Manager (4.1%), Executive (3.4%), Admin (3.0%), Customer Service Officer (2.2%),
Accountant (1.8%), Cleaner (1.7%) and lastly Clerk (also 1.7%).

Table 4.2 : Top 5 Job Titles in Goods Producing Industries


Goods Producing Industries Job Title Frequency Percent
1 Factory Operator 488 33.8
2 Technician 265 18.3
3 Engineer 111 7.7
4 Manager 44 3.0
5 Executive 40 2.8

The above table shows the top 5 job titles in the good producing industries. The highest job title
is Factory Operator (33.8%) followed by Technician (18.3%). The other three in the top 5 job
titles are Engineer (7.7%), Manager (3.0%) and Executive (2.8%).

Table 4.3 : Top 5 Job Titles in Service Producing Industries


Services Producing Industries Job Title Frequency Percent
1 Manager 81 4.9
2 Executive 70 4.2
3 Customers service officer 69 4.1
4 Admin 50 3.0
5 Chef 48 2.9
Table 4.3 demonstrates the top 5 job titles in the services producing industries. The highest job
title for the services producing industries is Manager which comprises of 4.9% of the total job
titles in services producing industry. This is followed by Executive and Customer Service Officer
that account 4.2% and 4.1% respectively. The other two in the top 5 job titles are admin (3.0%)
and Chef (2.9%).

4-7
FINDINGS

4.1.7 Length of Employment

1000
900
800 27.6%
700 23.2%
600
500 17.5%
400
300 10.6%
200 6.9% 7.8%
100 3.6% 1.9% 0.9%
0
Less than 1 year to 3 years 5 years 10 years 15 years 20 years 25 years 30 years
1 year 3 years to 5 to 10 to 15 to 20 to 25 to 30 and
years years years years years years above
232 929 589 783 358 264 121 64 29

Figure 4.11: The Length of Employment


Figure 4.11 shows that 27.6% (929) and 23.2% (783) of the respondents have been working in
Singapore between 1 to 3 years and between 5 to 10 years respectively. Only 0.9% (19) of the
respondents have been working for 30 years and above.

600
53.1%
61.0%

46.9%

500
39.0%

59.9%

400
40.1%

57.8%

300
42.2%

51.1%
48.9%
52.2%
47.8%

200
50.4%
49.6%

71.9%

72.4%
28.1%

27.6%
100

0
Less 1 year 3 years 5 years 10 years 15 years 20 years 25 years 30
than 1 to 3 to 5 to 10 to 15 to 20 to 25 to 30 years
year years years years years years years years and
above
Reside in Singapore 111 362 236 367 151 135 60 46 21
Commute to Singapore 121 567 353 416 207 129 61 18 8

Figure 4.12: The Length of Year Employment by Residents/Commuters Status


Figure 4.12 shows the distribution of working period among Malaysians who are working in
Singapore for both groups, those residing in Singapore and those who commute to Singapore. Among
the Malaysians who are working and residing in Singapore, there is about 24.6% of them (367
respondents) have been working between 5 to 10 years in Singapore. Meanwhile, majority of the
respondents who commute to Singapore, which comprises of 30.2% (567 respondents) of the total
number of commuting group, have been working in Singapore between 1 to 3 years.

4-8
FINDINGS

4.1.8 Work Status

Part-Time
2.1%
Temporary
0.6%
Full-Time
93.7% Contract
3.5%

Figure 4.13 : Work status of the Respondents


As illustrated in Figure 4.13, a large majority of the respondents (3158, 93.7%) reported that
they are working on full time basis. Only a small number of the respondents are working on
either contract (3.5%, 119 respondents), part time (2.1%, 71 respondents) or temporary
basis (0.6%,21 respondents).

74.8%
Contract
25.2%

85.7%
Temporary
14.3%

57.7%
Part-Time
42.3%

54.8%
Full-Time
45.2%

0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000
Full-Time Part-Time Temporary Contract
Commute to Singapore 1732 41 18 89
Reside in Singapore 1426 30 3 30

Figure 4.14 : Work status of the Respondents by Residents/Commuters Status

The above table shows that 1489 out of the total respondents of 3369 are residing in Singapore
and the balance of 1880 respondents are commuting respondents. Majority of the respondents
are on a full-time basis with 54.8% of them (1732 respondents) commute to Singapore while
1426 respondents (45.2%) reside in Singapore. About 4.7% and 1.0% of the respondents who
commute to Singapore work on a contract and temporary basis respectively.

4-9
FINDINGS

4.1.9 Working Hours

Figure 4.15 indicates that more than 54.9%


13.8%
half of the respondents (54.9%, 1848
0.7%
respondents) work between 9 and 12
hours a day. This is followed by 1034
respondents (30.7%) who work
between 4 and 8 hours. Meanwhile, 465 30.7%
(13.8%) of the respondents are found to
work more than 12 hours and only 13
respondents (0.7%) work less than 4
hours a day. Less than 4 hours between 4 - 8 hours
between 9 - 12 hours More than 12 hours
Figure 4.15: Working hours of the Respondents

1000
900
50.0%
50.0%
800
55.1%

700
44.9%

600

79.8%
500
400
300
20.2%
68.2%
31.8%

200
100
0
Less than 4 between 4 - between 9 - More than
hours 8 hours 12 hours 12 hours
Reside in Singapore 7 464 924 94
Commute to Singapore 15 570 924 371

Reside in Singapore Commute to Singapore

Figure 4.16: Working Hours of the Respondents by Resident/Commuter Status

The above figure, Figure 4.16, shows that 924 respondents representing 62.1% of those
residing in Singapore, work between 9 and 12 hours daily. Furthermore, a total of 464 workers
(31.2%) residing in Singapore work between 4 and 8 hours a day with the balance of 94
workers work more than 12 hours and only a small number of them work less than 4 hours . It
is interesting to note that for workers commuting to Singapore, majority of them work
between 9 and 12 hours (924 respondents, 49.1%), followed by 570 respondents (30.3%) who
work between 4 and 8 hours a day and 371 respondents (19.7%) who work more than 12
hours. Only a small number of those commuting to Singapore work less than 4 hours a day (15
respondents, 0.8%). 4-10
FINDINGS

4.1.10 Job Category

Senior Official and Managers

Professional

228, 6.8% Associate Professionals and


Technicians
680, 20.2% 526, 15.6%
Clerical Support Workers
267, 7.9%

719, 21.3% Service and Sales Workers

240, 7.1% 663, 19.7%


Agricultural and Fishery Workers

Craftsmen and Related Trades


Workers
42, 1.2% Plant and Machine Operators and
4, 0.1%
Assemblers
Cleaners, Labourers and Related
Workers

Figure 4.17: Job Category

Figure 4.17 demonstrates that Malaysians are participating in various categories of jobs in
Singapore. Most of the respondents are in service and sales category (719 respondents, 21.3%),
followed by professional category which comprises of 680 respondents (20.2%). Meanwhile, about
526 respondents (15.6%) are in associate professionals and technicians category. Interestingly, only
four respondents (0.1%) are in the agricultural and fishery category.

4-11
FINDINGS

76.3%
Cleaners, Labourers and Related Workers
23.8%

Plant and Machine Operators and 87.9%


Assemblers 12.1%

54.8%
Craftsmen and Related Trades Workers
45.2%

0.1%
Agricultural and Fishery Workers
0.1%

55.8%
Service and Sales Workers
44.2%

34.6%
Clerical Support Workers
65.4%

71.9%
Associate Professionals and Technicians
28.1%

26.5%
Professional
73.5%

19.1%
Senior Official and Managers
80.9%

0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700


Plant and
Associate Craftsmen Cleaners,
Senior Official Clerical Service and Agricultural Machine
Professionals and Related Labourers
and Professional Support Sales and Fishery Operators
and Trades and Related
Managers Workers Workers Workers and
Technicians Workers Workers
Assemblers
Commute to Singapore 51 180 378 79 401 2 23 583 183
Reside in Singapore 216 500 148 149 318 2 19 80 57

Commute to Singapore Reside in Singapore

Figure 4.18: Job Category of the Respondents by Resident / Commuter Status

Figure 4.18 suggests that for workers residing in Singapore, their job categories are varies. The highest percentage is
from the professional group (500 respondents, 73.5%), whereas, majority of the respondents who commute to
Singapore is from Plant and Machine, Operators and Assemblers group category (583 respondents, 87.9%). Service
and Sales workers are found to be the second largest group for both groups of respondents, reside in Singapore and
commute to Singapore with i318 respondents (44.2%) and 401 respondents (55.8%) respectively.

Meanwhile, among the respondents who reside, Senior Official and Managers contribute to the third rank (216,
80.9%) followed by Clerical Support workers (149, 65.4%), Associate Professional and Technicians (148, 28.1%), and
Plant and Machine, Operators and Assemblers (80, 12.1%). Within the respondents who commute to Singapore, the
third largest group is contributed by Associate Professional and Technicians (378, 79.1%), followed by Clerical support
worker (79, 34.6%) and Senior Official and Managers (51, 19.1%).

Agricultural and Fishery workers contribute to the least number for both groups of respondents who commute to
Singapore (2 respondents ) and who reside in Singapore (2 respondents).
4-12
FINDINGS

4.1.11 Industry
Table 4.4: Sector of Industry
Industry Frequency Percentage (%)
Manufacturing 1419 42.1
Electrical and Electronic 640 19.0
Machinery and Equipment 317 9.4
Medical Devices 165 4.9
Aerospace 83 2.5
Chemical and
Petrochemicals 132 3.9

Goods Food, Beverage and


29 0.9
Producing Tobacco
Industries Transportation 14 0.4
Pharmaceutical and
Biological 10 0.3

General Manufacturing 29 0.9


Construction 180 5.3
Utilities 81 2.4
Other Goods Services 26 0.8
Total 1706 50.6
Wholesale and Retail Services 265 7.9
Transportation and Storage 224 6.6
Accommodation and Food Services 284 8.4
Information and Communications 200 5.9
Services Finance and Insurance 136 4.0
Producing Business Services 346 10.3
Industries Other Services Industries 38 1.1
Education 55 1.6
Healthcare 96 2.8
Art, Entertainment, and Recreation 19 0.6
Total 1663 49.4
Total 3369 100

Table 4.4 shows the distribution of respondents based on industrial sectors. Two main industrial
sectors are goods producing industries and service producing industries. While there are four sub-
industries in goods producing industries, the services producing industries comprised of seven sub-
industries (both are as shown in Table 6).

Comparing these two industries; the number of respondents working in goods producing industries
(50.6 %) are greater than those working in services industries (49.4 %). In good producing industries,
majority of the respondents are working in the manufacturing sector that accounts 42.1% of the
total respondents.

4-13
FINDINGS

4.1.12 Salary
Figure 4.19 shows the ranges of monthly salary
29.2% earned by the respondents. The largest group
(984) 25.5% is respondents with a salary ranging from
23.3% (858) S$1500 to S$2199 (29.2%), followed by the
(786) respondents who earn between S$2200 and
S$3599 (25.5%), and those earning from
S$1000 to S$1499 (23.3%). Only 0.7% of the
respondents are found to earn about S$18000
8.2% and above per month.
(275) 4.5%
3.9%… 2.5%
(150) 1.1% 1.2% 0.7%
(83)
(36) (42) (24)

S$18000 and
below S$1000

S$1000 to

S$1500 to

S$2200 to

S$3600 to

S$5000 to

S$7000 to

S$10000 to

S$12000 to
S$1499

S$2199

S$3599

S$4999

S$6999

S$9999

S$11999

S$17999

above
Figure 4.19: The Range of the Respondents’ Salary

S$18000 and above 100%


2.4%
S$12000 to S$17999 97.6%
13.5%
S$10000 to S$11999 86.5%
14.1%
S$7000 to S$9999 85.9%
11.9%
S$5000 to S$6999 88.1%
26.8%
S$3600 to S$4999 73.2%
46.5%.
S$2200 to S$3599 53.5%
69.0%
S$1500 to S$2199 31.0%
74.9%
S$1000 to S$1499 25.1%
80.9%
below S$1000 19.1%
0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700
S$1000 S$1500 S$2200 S$3600 S$5000 S$7000 S$10000 S$12000 S$18000
below
to to to to to to to to and
S$1000
S$1499 S$2199 S$3599 S$4999 S$6999 S$9999 S$11999 S$17999 above
Commute to Singapore 106 589 679 400 73 17 11 4 1 0
Reside in Singapore 25 197 305 458 202 133 72 32 41 24

Figure 4.20: The Range of the Respondents’ Salary by Resident/Commuter


Figure 4.20 presents the distribution of salary ranges among those residing in Singapore and those
commuting to Singapore. The respondents who reside in Singapore are found to earn relatively higher
salary than those workers who commute from Malaysia. As shown in the table above, more than half
of the respondents (64.6% or 962) who reside in Singapore are earning more than S$2200. Whereas,
majority of the respondents who commute to Singapore (1373 or 73.0%) are found to earn less than
S$2200.
4-14
FINDINGS

4.1.13 Status (PR)


Permanent
Figure 4.21 shows the distribution of Resident
Singapore’s permanent or non-permanent (26.3%)
residents. The results show that majority
of the respondents 2484 (73.7%) are not
Singapore’s permanent residents, and
only 885 (26.3%) respondents are found
to hold the status of Singapore’s
permanent resident. Non
Permanent
Residence
(73.7%)
Figure 4.21: Status of Permanent Resident

2500

2000
69.2%
1500 18.3%

1000

500 81.7% 30.8%

0
Singapore PR Non PR
Commute to Singapore 162 1718
Reside in Singapore 723 766

Figure 4.22: Status of Permanent Residents Hold by Residents /Commuters

Figure 4.22 shows the distribution of Singapore PR status holder among the respondents
residing in Singapore as well as those commuting to Singapore. It can be seen that 723 (81.7%)
of the Malaysian workers residing in Singapore are holders of Singapore's PR. Interestingly, 162
respondents (18.3%) who hold Singapore PR commute to Singapore from Malaysia. Whereas for
the Non PR workers, majority of them commute to Singapore (1718 respondents, 69.2%) and
the balance of 766 respondents (30.8%) are found to reside in Singapore.

4-15
FINDINGS

4.1.14 Type of Employment Pass


S Pass: Mid-
level Skilled Personalised
Figure 4.23 shows the types of UnknownEmployment Pass (PEP):
Staff
employment pass obtained by the 0.8% High-earning foreign
4.6%
respondents. Majority of the Employment professionals…
respondents (2062, 61.2%) are Work Pass (EP):
Permit holders, with only 7.0% (236 Professional
respondents) and 4.6% (155 7.0%
respondents) are Employment Pass Work Permit
(for professional) and S Pass (Mid- (WP)
level skill staff) holders respectively. 61.2%

Figure 4.23: Type of Employment Pass Hold by the Respondents

2500

2000

1500
67.9%
1000 41.1%
40.6% 44.4%
500 25.2% 100%
0 59.4% 58.9% 55.6%
Work Permit S Pass: Mid- Employment Personalised Unknown
(WP) level Skilled Pass (EP): Employment
Staff Professional Pass (PEP):
High-earning
foreign
professionals
Commute to Singapore 1542 63 97 4 12
Reside in Singapore 520 92 139 0 15

Figure 4.24: Type of Employment Pass Hold by Residents/Commuters

Figure 4.24 shows the distribution of the types of working passes and permits hold by
respondents who reside in Singapore and those who commute to Singapore. For both groups,
Work Permit (WP) is the most common type of working pass granted. However, a large majority
(1542, 67.9%) of the commuters are found to hold work permit suggesting that a significant
number of commuters are semi-skilled and non-professional workers. On the other hand, a
significant number of respondents who reside in Singapore are holding Employment Pass (EP):
Professional (139, 58.9%) and S Pass : mid-level skilled worker (92, 59.4%).

4-16
FINDINGS

4.1.15 Modes of Main Transportation


Own Transport Transportation
(Motorcycle), Provided by
20.8% Company, 18.6%
Others, 1.4%

Own Transport
(Car), 9.1% Public Transport, 50.0%

Figure 4.25: Main Transportation


About half of the respondents (1686, 50.0%) are found to commute using mainly public
transport. While some of the other respondents use their own transport to commute; motorcycle
(701, 20.8%) and car (307, 9.1%), some (626 respondents, 18.6%) commute using transport
provided by their company.

66.7%
1200
1000
800 33.3% 93.3%
81.5%
600
400 59.6%
6.7% 40.4% 18.5%
200 37.5% 62.5%
0
Public Own Own Transportat Others
transport transport - transport - ion
Motorcycle Car provided by
company
Reside in Singapore 1125 47 183 116 18
Commute to Singapore 561 655 124 510 30
Figure 4.26: Modes of Main Transportation of the Respondents by Residents /Commuters
As shown in Figure 4.26, a large number of those commuting to Singapore, use motorcycle to
commute (655, 34.8%) followed by 561 respondents using public transport (29.8%) and 510
respondents using transportation provided by company (27.1%). Only a small number of
respondents are found to commute using their own car (124, 6.6%) and other transportations
(30, 1.6%). Meanwhile, most of the respondents residing in Singapore mainly use public transport
(1125, 75.6%). Interestingly, only 47 respondents are found to use own motorcycle (183, 12.3%)
and own car (3.2%). Furthermore, while some respondents use transportation provided by
company (116, 7.85%), some use other modes of transportation such as walking, carpool, etc.

4-17
FINDINGS

4.1.16 Place of Residence

Figure 4.27 shows the place of residence of


the respondents. A total of 1489 respondents Singapore
(44.2%) are found to stay in Malaysia, while 55.8% Malaysia
the other 1880 respondents (55.8%) are 44.2%
found to stay in Singapore.

Figure 4.27: Place of Residence

Table 4.5: Top 10 Cities of Residence in Johor


No. Place of Residence in Johor Frequency Percentage
(Township) (%)

1 Johor Bahru 619 20.5


The findings also show that most
2 Skudai 403 12.0 of the respondents from Johor
3 Kulai 161 4.8 are residing in Johor Bahru (619,
4 Pasir Gudang / Masai 122 3.6 20.5%) and Skudai (403, 12.0%).
5 Iskandar Puteri / Nusajaya 118 3.5
6 Gelang Patah 58 1.7
7 Senai 53 1.6
8 Ulu Tiram 30 0.9
9 Kempas/ Setia Tropika 24 0.7
10 Pontian 13 0.4

Table 4.6: Top 10 Cities of Residence in Singapore

No. Place of Residence in Frequency Percentage


Singapore (Township) (%)

1 Ang Mo Kio 115 3.4


Findings shows the highest number
2 Woodlands 110 3.3
of respondents who residing in
3 Jurong West 107 3.2
Singapore were staying at Ang Mo
4 Bedok 99 2.9
Kio (115, 3.4%), and followed by
5 Yishun 74 2.2 Woodlands (110, 3.3%) and Jurong
6 Tampines 72 2.1 West (107, 3.2%).
7 Central Area 57 1.7
8 Choa Chu Kang 48 1.4
9 Jurong East 43 1.3
10 Geylang 42 1.2

4-18
FINDINGS

Figure 4.28: Distribution of Malaysians who reside in Singapore by Region

Based on Figure 4.28, majority of the respondents (22.6%) are residing in the Central
region followed by 22.4% respondents from the West region. The least percentage of
respondents, 17.0%, are residing in North West region.

Figure 4.29: Distribution Malaysians who reside in Singapore by Industry

According to Figure 4.29, majority of the respondents who reside in Singapore and work
in Good Producing industry ( 45.5%) are from the West Region. Meanwhile, for the
Services industry, most of the respondents who reside in Singapore (76.6%) work in the
Central region.

4-19
FINDINGS

4.1.17 Singapore-Malaysia Commuting (Return Trip)

1800
1600 Figure 4.30 shows that majority of the
Commuters (91.8% or 1726
1400
respondents) are commuting daily
1200 from Malaysia to Singapore.
1000 51.2%
Approximately 106 (5.6%) of the
(1726) respondents commute to Singapore
800
on weekly basis, while only 29 (1.5%)
600 of the respondent reported that they
400 3.1% commute once a month.
(106) 0.6% 0.9%
200 (19) (29)

0
Daily Weekly Fortnightly Monthly

Figure 4.30: Schedule of Commuting Singapore-Malaysia

Figure 4.31 shows that most 800 37.4% 37.9%


Commuters spend between 1 -2
700
hour (704, 37.4%) or 2 - 3 hours
(712, 37.9%) to commute from 600
Malaysia to Singapore. Only 3.7% 21.0%
500
(69) spend less than one hour to
commute and quite a number of 400
them spend more than 3 hours. 300
200 3.7%
100
0
Less than 1 - 2 hours 2 - 3 hours More than
one hour 3 hours

Figure 4.31: Average Hour of Commuting Singapore-Malaysia

4-20
FINDINGS

4.1.18 Source Of Information About Jobs In Singapore

1600
1400
1200
1000
800 1433
898
600 808
400 523
200 221
108
0

Figure 4.32: Source of information in Singapore

Figure 4.32 shows that majority of the respondents (1443 respondents) obtain information about
jobs in Singapore through family or friends, followed by internet (898 respondents), job agency
(808 respondents) and Newspaper (523 respondents). Meanwhile only 108 respondents of the
respondents get to know about jobs in Singapore from other mediums (e.g., transferred from
Malaysia, study in Singapore, Sponsorship by Singapore).

4.1.19 Average Income Transferred Or Spent To Malaysia


1096
860 (32.5%)
1200
(25.5%)
1000 589
(17.5%) 512
800
(15.2%)
600 221
400 (6.6%) 59 24 8
200 (1.8%) (0.7%) (0.2%)
0

Figure 4.33: Average Income Transferred Or Spent To Malaysia

4-21
FINDINGS

As shown in figure 4.33, the highest number of respondents is 1096 respondents (32.5% ) spent or
transferred S$1000 to S$1499 to Malaysia in a month. It was followed by 860 respondents (25.5%)
spent or transferred S$500 to S$999 and 598 respondents (17.5%) who spent or transferred
below S$500 to Malaysia. Meanwhile, only 0.9% of respondents spent or transferred S$5,000 and
above to Malaysia in a month.

37.9%
800

700

600
28.9%
22.8%
27.3%

500
25.8%

400 19.0%

300
9.7%

10.3%

8.3%
200
4.4%

1.9%
100 1.6%

0.9%
0.5%

0.3%

0.2%
0
below S$500 to S$1000 to S$1500 to S$2200 to S$3600 to S$5000 to S$10000
S$500 S$999 S$1499 S$2199 S$3599 S$4999 S$9999 and
above
Reside in Singapore 407 431 384 154 65 29 14 5
Commute to Singapore 182 429 712 358 156 30 10 3

Figure 4.34: Average Income Transferred Or Spent To Malaysia by Residents/Commuters

As shown in Figure 4.34, majority of the respondents who commute to Singapore (37.9% or
712 respondents) transferred or spent between S$1,000 to S$1,499 of their income, followed
by 429 respondents (22.8%) and 358 respondents (19.0%) who transferred or spent their
income between S$500 to S$999 and between S$ 1,500 to S$2,199 respectively.
Meanwhile, majority of the respondents who reside in Singapore (28.9% or 431 respondents)
transferred or spent between S$500 to S$999 of their income to Malaysia, followed closely by
the respondents who transferred or spent below S$ 500 ( 27.3% or 407). Interestingly, about
48 respondents (3.1%) who reside in Singapore transferred or spent S$3600 and above, which
is slightly greater than the respondents who commute to Singapore (43 respondents or 2.3%)

4-22
FINDINGS

4.1.20 Mode of Money Transferred

Figure 4.35 demonstrates that


majority of the respondents
(2724, 80.8%) transferred their
money to Malaysia in the form
of cash, followed by 1576
respondents (46.8%) who
transferred their money via
2724 banking services.

1576

500
31

CASH REMMITANCE BANKING OTHERS


SERVICES SERVICES

Figure 4.35: Mode of Money Transferred

Figure 4.36 below shows that majority of the respondents regardless whether they are residing in
Singapore or commuting to Singapore, choose to use cash as their mode of money transfer with
1077 (39.5%) and 1647 (60.5%) respectively. The frequency of banking services shows that it is a
more preferred medium to the respondents who commute to Singapore(900, 57.1%) compared to
those residing in Singapore (676, 42.9%). This is followed by the Remittance service which has
almost a similar distribution of respondents between those residing in Singapore (243 respondents,
48.6%) and those commuting to Singapore (257 respondents, 51.4%). The lowest mode of transfer is
similar for both groups; transferring money through another alternative such as friends and family,
and ASB. There are some respondents who do not use any mode of transfer suggesting that they
may be saving money in Singapore to benefit from its higher currency as compared to the Malaysian
currency.

1800 60.5%
1600
1400
39.5%
1200
57.1%
1000
42.9%
800
600
400 48.6% 51.4%
200 77.4% 722.6%
0
Cash Remmitance Banking Others
Services Services
(e.g Western
Union)
Reside in Singapore 1077 243 676 24
Commute to Singapore 1647 257 900 7

Figure 4.36: Mode of Money Transferred by Resident/Commuter

4-23
FINDINGS

4.1.21 Percentage of Saving from Fixed Monthly Salary

44.0% Figure 4.37 presents the distribution of Saving


(1482) Money from fixed monthly salary. Almost half of
1600
the respondents (44.0%, 1482 respondents) save
1400 about 1%-10% of their fixed monthly followed by
832 respondents (24.7%) who save almost 11%-
1200 20% of their salary and 393 respondents (11.7%)
24.7%
(832)
who save more than 30% of their salary. Only 277
1000
respondents (8.2%) choose not to save.
800

600 11.4% 11.7%


8.2% (385) (393)
400 (277)

200

0
0% 1% - 10% 11% - 20% 21% - 30% More than
30%
Figure 4.37: Percentage of Saving From Fixed Monthly Salary

Figure 4.38 shows that majority of those commuting to Singapore


(961, 51.1%) save 1%-10% of their fixed monthly salary followed
by 421 respondents (22.4%) who save about 11%-20%. The trend
for both groups of respondents, reside in Singapore and
commute to Singapore, is almost similar as majority of the
respondent who commute (35.0%, 521) also save about 1%-10%
of their monthly salary , followed by 22.4% (421) who save
between 11%-20%. Meanwhile, only 86 respondents (5.8%)
residing in Singapore have no saving, the number is much less
1600
than those commuting to Singapore (191, or 10.2%). This is
1400 perhaps due to the different cost of living between those who
reside in Singapore and those who commute to Singapore.
1200
51.1% Commute to Singapore
1000
Reside in Singapore
800
22.4%
600

400 7.7% 8.6%


35.0%
10.2% 27.6%
200 16.1% 15.5%
5.8%
0
No Saving 1% - 10% 11% - 20% 21% - 30% More than
(0%) 30%

Figure 4.38: Percentage of Saving by Residents/Commuters


4-24
FINDINGS

4.2 Cross Tabulation Analyses

4.2.1 Residential Status and Race

1600

1400

64.2%
1200

35.8%
1000

800
96.2%

89.2%
600

400

10.8%

80.8%
19.2%
3.8%

200

0
Bumiputera Chinese Indian Others
Singaporean PR 21 799 60 5
Non PR 537 1431 495 21

Figure 4.39 : Residential Status and Race

Figure 4.39 presents the distribution of race and residential status of the respondents who work in
Singapore. The analysis indicates that the Chinese respondents contribute the largest group with
66.2% (2230 respondents) of the total respondents, closely followed by the Bumiputera who
constitute 16.6% (558 respondents) while the Indians and other races make up 16.5%
(555respondents) and 0.8% (26 respondents) respectively.
The analysis of residential status is further broken down into Singapore PR (26.3%) and non-Singapore
PR status (73.7%). Among the Singapore PR, Chinese constitute the majority of the respondents with
90.3% (799 respondents). Indians appear to be the second largest group within this category with
6.8% (60 respondents), and followed by Bumiputera 2.4% (21 respondents).
Within the Non PR group, Chinese also constitute the largest majority with 57.6% (1431 respondents.
Bumiputera accounted for 21.6% (537 respondents) followed by Indians 19.9% (495 respondents) and
Others with approximately 0.8% (21 respondents).

4-25
FINDINGS

4.2.2 Residential Status and Education

Table 4.7 : Residential Status and Education

Certificate (e.g. ACCA,


PMR/SPR/LCE/SRA or

SKM3, Malaysian Skill

No Formal Education
STPM or equivalent

Advanced Diploma
SPM or equivalent

Bachelor Degree
UPSR/UPSRA or

Postgraduate
Diploma and

Professional
equivalent

equivalent

Certificate

Diploma

ICSA)

Total
Highest Educational
Level

Singaporean 7 35 116 18 9 19 167 354 54 101 5 885


Resident (PR)
Permanent
Singapore

PR 0.2% 1.0% 3.4% 0.5% 0.3% 0.6% 5.0% 10.5% 1.6% 3.0% 0.1% 26.3%
55 259 1060 140
2484 60 81 436 329 24 31 9
Non PR 100.0
2.2% 10.4% 42.7% 5.6% 2.4% 3.3% 17.6% 13.2% 1.0% 1.2% 0.4%
%
62 294 1176 158 69 100 603 683 78 132 14 3369
Total 100.0
1.8% 8.7% 34.9% 4.7% 2.0% 3.0% 17.9% 20.3% 2.3% 3.9% 0.4%
%

Table 4.7 presents the distribution of respondents in terms of education and their residential
status. Of the total respondents, the SPM holders or equivalent constitute the majority with
34.9% (1176 respondents), followed by 20.3% (683 respondents) of bachelor degree holders,
17.9% (603 respondents) of diploma holders, 8.7% (294 respondents) of PMR/SPR/LCE/SRA or
equivalent, 4.7% (158 respondents) of STPM holders or equivalent, and 3.9% (132 respondents)
of Postgraduate. The lowest remaining percentage comprised of those with no formal education
(0.4%, 14 respondents).

Within the Singapore PR category, bachelor degree holders make up the majority with 354
respondents (10.5%) followed by diploma holders (167 respondents or 5.0%) and SPM or
equivalent (116 respondents, 3.4%). On the other hand, within the non-Singapore PR, it appears
that SPM holders or equivalent are leading the group with 1060 respondents (42.7%), followed by
436 diploma holders (17.6%) and 329 bachelor degree holders (13.2%).

4-26
FINDINGS

4.2.3 Residential Status and Fixed Monthly Salary

91.1%
1000
900

96.7%
800
700
600

69.3%
500

30.7%
400

75.4%
300

84.8%
88.5%

85.9%
24.6%
8.9%

200

85.7%
75.7%
15.2%

91.7%
11.5%

14.1%

24.3%

14.3%
3.3%

8.3%
100
0
S$1000 S$1500 S$2200 S$3600 S$5000 S$7000 S$10000 S$12000 S$18000
below
to to to to to to to to and
S$1000
S$1499 S$2199 S$3599 S$4999 S$6999 S$9999 S$11999 S$17999 above
Singaporean PR 15 26 87 262 208 128 73 28 36 22
Non PR 116 760 896 592 68 23 12 9 6 2

Figure 4.40: Residential Status and Fixed Monthly Salary


Figure 4.40 presents the distribution of Residential Status and fixed monthly salary. Majority of
the Singapore PR (262 respondents or 29.6%) receive monthly salary between S$2200 to
S$3599 followed by 208 of Singapore PR (23.5%) who receive between S$3600 to S$4999 and
128 of Singapore PR (14.5%) receiving between S$5000 to S$6999.

While, for Non PR, the majority of them have fixed monthly salary between S$1500 to S$1999
(36.1%, 896 respondents). A total of 760 (30.6%) Non PR recorded as the second highest
number who receive a salary between S$1000 to S$1499, followed by 592 respondents (23.8%)
receiving between S$1000 to S$1499.

There are small number of non PR respondents who gets higher monthly income from S$7000
and above (29 respondents or 1.2%) compared to Singapore PR with 18.0% (159 respondents).

4-27
FINDINGS

4.2.4 Residential Status and Intention to Continue Working in Singapore

Table 4.8 : Residential Status and Intention to Continue Working in Singapore

I intend to continue working in Singapore in the next:


Less Total
1–2 3–5 6 – 10 More than
than 1 Permanently
years years years 10 years
year
Count 13 61 225 177 179 230 885
Singaporean PR
Singapore Permanent Resident

% within
Singaporean PR 1.5% 6.9% 25.4% 20.0% 20.2% 26.0% 100.0%

% within Intention 11.7% 11.7% 20.0% 25.0% 35.3% 57.9% 26.3%


(PR)

% of Total .4% 1.8% 6.7% 5.3% 5.3% 6.8% 26.3%


Count 98 459 902 530 328 167 2484
Non PR

% within Non PR 3.9% 18.5% 36.3% 21.3% 13.2% 6.7% 100.0%


% within Intention 88.3% 88.3% 80.0% 75.0% 64.7% 42.1% 73.7%
% of Total 2.9% 13.6% 26.8% 15.7% 9.7% 5.0% 73.7%
Count 111 520 1127 707 507 397 3369
% within PR status 3.3% 15.4% 33.5% 21.0% 15.0% 11.8% 100.0%
Total
% within Intention 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
% of Total 3.3% 15.4% 33.5% 21.0% 15.0% 11.8% 100.0%

Table 4.8 presents the distribution in terms of residential status and intention to continue working
in Singapore. In general, many of the Singapore PR intent to work in Singapore permanently with
26.0% (230 workers) whereas for Non PR, only 167 respondents (6.7%) intent to work permanently.
A large number of the Non PR intent to continue working in Singapore between 3 to 5 years only
with a total number of respondents 902 (36.3%). For the Singapore PR, quite a number of them
(respondents, 25.4%) also intent to work for 3 to 5 years only. Similarly, quite a number of the
Singapore PR intent to work between 6-10 to years and more than 10 years respectively. However,
the results suggest that not many of the Non-PR intent to work more than 10 years although quite
many of them intent to work between 6-10 years.

4-28
FINDINGS

4.2.5 Highest Education Level and Age


Table 4.9: Educational Level and Age
Highest Educational Level

Advanced Diploma
PMR/SPR/LCE/SRA

SPM or equivalent

SKM3, Malaysian
Skill Diploma and

Bachelor Degree
UPSR/UPSRA or

Certificate (e.g.

Postgraduate
or equivalent

Professional

ACCA, ICSA)
equivalent

equivalent

No Formal
Certificate

Education
STPM or

Diploma
Total
18-19 2 3 13 3 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 23
8.7% 13.0% 56.5% 13.0% 4.3% 0.0% 4.3% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 100.0%
20-24 2 26 172 36 14 27 114 60 9 1 0 461
.4% 5.6% 37.3% 7.8% 3.0% 5.9% 24.7% 13.0% 2.0% .2% 0.0% 100.0%
25-29 7 67 340 59 17 32 216 229 19 24 2 1012
.7% 6.6% 33.6% 5.8% 1.7% 3.2% 21.3% 22.6% 1.9% 2.4% .2% 100.0%
30-34 11 56 242 25 16 24 110 198 16 36 3 737
1.5% 7.6% 32.8% 3.4% 2.2% 3.3% 14.9% 26.9% 2.2% 4.9% .4% 100.0%
35-39 11 44 198 12 11 8 83 84 13 17 2 483
2.3% 9.1% 41.0% 2.5% 2.3% 1.7% 17.2% 17.4% 2.7% 3.5% .4% 100.0%
40-44 10 45 109 7 5 4 42 53 11 26 2 314
Age

3.2% 14.3% 34.7% 2.2% 1.6% 1.3% 13.4% 16.9% 3.5% 8.3% .6% 100.0%
45-49 9 36 65 8 2 1 21 32 5 16 2 197
4.6% 18.3% 33.0% 4.1% 1.0% .5% 10.7% 16.2% 2.5% 8.1% 1.0% 100.0%
50-54 3 9 24 6 3 3 11 17 2 6 1 85
3.5% 10.6% 28.2% 7.1% 3.5% 3.5% 12.9% 20.0% 2.4% 7.1% 1.2% 100.0%
55-59 4 4 11 2 0 1 5 5 1 2 1 36
11.1% 11.1% 30.6% 5.6% 0.0% 2.8% 13.9% 13.9% 2.8% 5.6% 2.8% 100.0%
60-64 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 3 1 2 0 10
10.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 30.0% 10.0% 20.0% 0.0% 100.0%
65 and 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 2 1 2 1 11
above 18.2% 18.2% 9.1% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 18.2% 9.1% 18.2% 9.1% 100.0%
Total 62 294 1176 158 69 100 603 683 78 132 14 3369
1.8% 8.7% 34.9% 4.7% 2.0% 3.0% 17.9% 20.3% 2.3% 3.9% .4% 100.0%
Table 4.9 shows that the largest group of the respondents who has a SPM or equivalent are between the
age of 25-29 years old (n=340,33.6%). Similarly, the largest group of the respondents who has a bachelor
degree qualification are those between the age of 25-29 years old (n=229,22.6%). This data seems to
suggest that most of our SPM holders and bachelor degree graduates go to Singapore for employment
just a few years after completing their study. This is based on the typical pathway for tertiary
educational system in Malaysia whereby under a normal circumstance (i.e. 1 year of matriculation study
followed by 3-4 years of degree study); a student may graduate with a bachelor degree at the age of 22
years old.

The data shows that out of 683 respondents who have a bachelor degree, the majority of them are
between the age of 25-29 years old (n=229, 22.6%). Moreover the data also shows that majority of the
respondents from this age group have been working in Singapore between 1-3 years (43.9%, 444
respondents) and between 3-5 years (25.2%, 255 respondents). This suggests a possibility that there is a
strong inclination among our local graduates to look for jobs in Singapore immediately upon graduation.
4-29
FINDINGS

4.2.6 Highest Education Level and Race


Table 4.10: Educational Level and Race

HIGHEST EDUCATIONAL LEVEL

Certificate (e.g. ACCA,


SKM3, Malaysian Skill
PMR/SPR/LCE/SRA or

No Formal Education
STPM or equivalent

Advanced Diploma
SPM or equivalent

Bachelor Degree
UPSR/UPSRA or

Postgraduate
Diploma and

Professional
equivalent

equivalent

Certificate

Diploma
Total

ICSA)
Bumiputera 11 28 221 18 20 35 140 72 2 10 1 558

2.0% 5.0% 39.6% 3.2% 3.6% 6.3% 25.1% 12.9% .4% 1.8% .2% 100.0%

17.7% 9.5% 18.8% 11.4% 29.0% 35.0% 23.2% 10.5% 2.6% 7.6% 7.1% 16.6%
Chinese 42 232 736 97 36 53 318 527 72 108 9 2230

1.9% 10.4% 33.0% 4.3% 1.6% 2.4% 14.3% 23.6% 3.2% 4.8% .4% 100.0%

67.7% 78.9% 62.6% 61.4% 52.2% 53.0% 52.7% 77.2% 92.3% 81.8% 64.3% 66.2%
Race

Indian 7 34 213 43 13 11 138 76 3 13 4 555

1.3% 6.1% 38.4% 7.7% 2.3% 2.0% 24.9% 13.7% .5% 2.3% .7% 100.0%

11.3% 11.6% 18.1% 27.2% 18.8% 11.0% 22.9% 11.1% 3.8% 9.8% 28.6% 16.5%
Others 2 0 6 0 0 1 7 8 1 1 0 26

7.7% 0.0% 23.1% 0.0% 0.0% 3.8% 26.9% 30.8% 3.8% 3.8% 0.0% 100.0%

3.2% 0.0% .5% 0.0% 0.0% 1.0% 1.2% 1.2% 1.3% .8% 0.0% .8%

62 294 1176 158 69 100 603 683 78 132 14 3369

Total 1.8% 8.7% 34.9% 4.7% 2.0% 3.0% 17.9% 20.3% 2.3% 3.9% .4% 100.0%

100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%

In general, the highest percentage of highest education attained for all the four race groups are SPM or
equivalent (n = 1176, 34.9%), Bachelor degree (n = 683, 20.3%) and Diploma (n = 603, 17.9%). Among
the Chinese, most of the respondents have a SPM or equivalent (n = 736, 33.0%) followed by Bachelor
degree (n = 527, 23.6%) and Diploma (n = 318, 14.3%).

A different pattern is observed among the Bumiputera respondents in which nearly half of them have
SPM or equivalent qualification (n = 221, 39.6%), followed by Diploma (n = 140, 25.1%) and Bachelor
degree (n = 72, 12.9%). For Indians, most have SPM or equivalent (n = 213, 38.4%), closely followed by
diploma (n = 138, 24.9%) and Bachelor degree (n = 76, 13.7%). For other races, more than a third have
Bachelor degree (n = 8, 30.8%) followed by diploma (n = 7, 26.9%) and SPM or equivalent (n = 6, 23.1%).

4-30
FINDINGS

4.2.7 Highest Education Level and Types of Work Pass and Permit

Table 4.11: Education Level and Work Passes and Permit

Types of Work Pass and Permit

foreign professionals
(PEP): High-earning
Work Permit (WP)

Employment Pass

Employment Pass
(EP): Professional
S Pass: Mid-level

Personalised
Skilled Staff

Unknown
Total
UPSR/UPSRA or 51 1 0 0 3 55
equivalent 2.5% .6% 0.0% 0.0% 11.1% 2.2%

PMR/SPR/LCE/SRA or 246 7 0 0 6 259


equivalent 11.9% 4.5% 0.0% 0.0% 22.2% 10.4%
1030 25 1 0 4 1060
SPM or equivalent
50.0% 16.1% .4% 0.0% 14.8% 42.7%
123 7 9 0 1 140
STPM or equivalent
6.0% 4.5% 3.8% 0.0% 3.7% 5.6%
Highest Educational Level

51 7 2 0 0 60
Certificate
2.5% 4.5% .8% 0.0% 0.0% 2.4%

SKM3, Malaysian Skill 74 4 0 0 3 81


Diploma and Advanced
Diploma 3.6% 2.6% 0.0% 0.0% 11.1% 3.3%

329 44 58 3 2 436
Diploma
16.0% 28.4% 24.6% 75.0% 7.4% 17.6%
138 48 136 0 7 329
Bachelor Degree
6.7% 31.0% 57.6% 0.0% 25.9% 13.2%
Professional Certificate 8 7 8 1 0 24
(e.g. ACCA, ICSA) .4% 4.5% 3.4% 25.0% 0.0% 1.0%
4 4 22 0 1 31
Postgraduate
.2% 2.6% 9.3% 0.0% 3.7% 1.2%
8 1 0 0 0 9
No Formal Education
.4% .6% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% .4%
2062 155 236 4 27 2484
Total
83.0% 6.2% 9.5% .2% 1.1% 100.0%

Table 4.11 presents the distribution of respondents in terms of education and the type of work pass
they hold. Overall, the largest three groups of the total respondents comprised of SPM holders or
equivalent with 1060 respondents (42.7%) followed by Diploma holders and Bachelor degree
holders with 436 (17.6%) and 329 (13.2%) respectively. The remaining percentage are shared
among those with other certificates, STPM or equivalent, PMR/SRP/LCE/SRA or equivalent,
UPSR/UPSRA or equivalent, postgraduates and those without certificate.

4-31
FINDINGS

There are three types of work passes namely work permit, ‘S’ pass for the mid-level skilled staff,
‘EP’ pass for the professional and an additional ‘unknown’ category identified during the survey.
Majority of the respondents hold work permit with 2062 (83.0%), followed by ‘EP’ pass with 236
(9.5 %), ‘S’ pass with 155 (6.2%), unknown, 1.1% and Personalized Employment Pass which is 4
respondents (0.2%)
• Within the work permit holder category, the SPM holders and equivalent make up the
majority with 1000 (49.2%) followed by diploma holders (329, 16.2%) and PMR holders and
equivalent (246, 12.1%).
• For the mid-level skilled staff category who hold ‘S’ Passes, the bachelor degree holders
constitute the majority with 48 (31.0%) followed by Diploma holders (44, 28.4%) and SPM
holders or equivalent (25, 16.1%).
• Moving up the work pass rank, a group of professional who holds an ‘EP’ pass is dominated
by bachelor degree holders with 57.6% (136 respondents), followed by diploma holders
(58, 24.6%) and postgraduate (22, 9.1%).
• Within the ‘unknown’ category, six groups are identified and they are the bachelor degree
holders (7, 25.9%), followed by SPM Holder or equivalent (4, 14.8%), SKM3, Malaysian Skill
Diploma and Advanced Diploma (3, 11.1%), UPSR or equivalent (3, 11.1%) and Diploma
holders (2, 7.4%),

4-32
FINDINGS

4.2.8 Age and Skills Level


Table 4.12: Age and Skill Level
Skills Level
First Skill Level Second Skill Level Third Skill Level Fourth Skill Level Total
Count 5 16 2 0 23
% within Age 21.7% 69.6% 8.7% 0.0% 100.0%
18-19
% within SkillsLevel 2.1% 1.0% .4% 0.0% .7%
% of Total .1% .5% .1% 0.0% .7%
Count 40 308 63 50 461
% within Age 8.7% 66.8% 13.7% 10.8% 100.0%
20-24
% within SkillsLevel 16.7% 18.6% 12.0% 5.3% 13.7%
% of Total 1.2% 9.1% 1.9% 1.5% 13.7%
Count 60 561 157 234 1012
% within Age 5.9% 55.4% 15.5% 23.1% 100.0%
25-29
% within SkillsLevel 25.0% 33.9% 29.8% 24.7% 30.0%
% of Total 1.8% 16.7% 4.7% 6.9% 30.0%
Count 49 321 122 245 737
% within Age 6.6% 43.6% 16.6% 33.2% 100.0%
30-34
% within SkillsLevel 20.4% 19.4% 23.2% 25.9% 21.9%
% of Total 1.5% 9.5% 3.6% 7.3% 21.9%
Count 37 190 82 174 483
% within Age 7.7% 39.3% 17.0% 36.0% 100.0%
35-39
% within SkillsLevel 15.4% 11.5% 15.6% 18.4% 14.3%
% of Total 1.1% 5.6% 2.4% 5.2% 14.3%
Count 23 135 45 111 314
% within Age 7.3% 43.0% 14.3% 35.4% 100.0%
40-44
Age

% within SkillsLevel 9.6% 8.2% 8.6% 11.7% 9.3%


% of Total .7% 4.0% 1.3% 3.3% 9.3%
Count 17 78 30 72 197
% within Age 8.6% 39.6% 15.2% 36.5% 100.0%
45-49
% within SkillsLevel 7.1% 4.7% 5.7% 7.6% 5.8%
% of Total .5% 2.3% .9% 2.1% 5.8%
Count 5 28 14 38 85
% within Age 5.9% 32.9% 16.5% 44.7% 100.0%
50-54
% within SkillsLevel 2.1% 1.7% 2.7% 4.0% 2.5%
% of Total .1% .8% .4% 1.1% 2.5%
Count 2 14 8 12 36
% within Age 5.6% 38.9% 22.2% 33.3% 100.0%
55-59
% within SkillsLevel .8% .8% 1.5% 1.3% 1.1%
% of Total .1% .4% .2% .4% 1.1%
Count 0 3 2 5 10
% within Age 0.0% 30.0% 20.0% 50.0% 100.0%
60-64
% within SkillsLevel 0.0% .2% .4% .5% .3%
% of Total 0.0% .1% .1% .1% .3%
Count 2 2 1 6 11
% within Age 18.2% 18.2% 9.1% 54.5% 100.0%
65 and above % within SkillsLevel .8% .1% .2% .6% .3%
% of Total
.1% .1% .0% .2% .3%
Total Count 240 1656 526 947 3369
% within Age 7.1% 49.2% 15.6% 28.1% 100.0%
% within SkillsLevel 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
% of Total 7.1% 49.2% 15.6% 28.1% 100.0%

4-33
FINDINGS

Table 4.13: Description of Skill Levels Based on Job Category

4 3 2 1

Senior Official and Associate Clerical Support Cleaners,


Managers Professionals and Workers Labourers and
Professional Technicians Service and Sales Related Workers
Workers
Agricultural and
Fishery Workers
Craftsmen and
Related Trades
Workers
Plant and Machine
Operators and
Assemblers

Table 4.12 and 4.13 above display the major groups of occupations according to skills level. Table
4.12 shows that in general, the percentage of second skill level is the highest (n = 1656, 49.2%),
followed by fourth skill level (n = 947, 28.1%), third skill level (n = 526, 15.6%) and first skill level (n
= 240, 7.1%). Among all age ranges, the highest number of workers are aged from 25-29 (n = 1012,
30.0%). Within this age group, the highest skill level is second skill level (n = 561, 55.4%)

4-34
FINDINGS

4.2.9 Age and Work Status

30.2%
22.1%
12.7% 14.8%
0.4% 9.5% 1.1% 0.3% 0.3%
6.0%
2.6%
18-19 20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60-64 65
and
abov
e
Contract 3 36 37 26 7 5 3 1 0 0 1
Temporary 0 6 7 1 3 1 2 1 0 0 0
Part-Time 6 19 15 11 6 8 2 1 1 1 1
Full-Time 14 400 953 699 467 300 190 82 35 9 9

Figure 4.41: Work Status and Age

Figure 4.41 presents the distribution in terms work status and age. The analysis indicates that 1012
(30.%) respondents with the age between 25 to 29 years old contribute to the largest percentage.
The second largest percentage of age group is contributed by the respondents with the age between
30 to 34 years old (737, 21.9%).

Within the work status, majority of the respondents are full time workers with many of them are
aged between 25 to 29 years old (953, 30.2%). In general, not many of the workers are working
under other types of work status.

4-35
FINDINGS

4.2.10 Working Hours and Fixed Monthly Salary

1000
900
800
700
600
500
400
300
200
100
0

Less than 4 hours between 4 - 8 hours between 9 - 12 hours More than 12 hours

Figure 4.42: Working Hours and Fixed Monthly Salary

Table 4.14 : Working Hours and Fixed Monthly Salary


Fixed Monthly Salary Total

S$1000 S$1500 S$2200 S$3600 S$5000 S$7000 S$10000 S$12000 S$18000


Below
to to to to to to to to and
S$1000
S$1499 S$2199 S$3599 S$4999 S$6999 S$9999 S$11999 S$17999 above
5 4 4 5 2 1 1 0 0 0 22
Less than 4
22.7% 18.2% 18.2% 22.7% 9.1% 4.5% 4.5% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 100.0%
hours
3.8% 0.5% 0.4% 0.6% 0.7% 0.7% 1.2% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% .7%
36 215 316 289 96 39 25 5 10 3 1034
between 4 -
3.5% 20.8% 30.6% 27.9% 9.3% 3.8% 2.4% 0.5% 1.0% 0.3% 100.0%
8 hours
27.5% 27.4% 32.1% 33.8% 34.8% 25.8% 29.4% 13.5% 23.8% 12.5% 30.7%
44 362 578 488 154 97 55 27 29 14 1848
between 9 -
2.4% 19.6% 31.3% 26.4% 8.3% 5.2% 3.0% 1.5% 1.6% 0.8% 100.0%
12 hours
33.6% 46.1% 58.8% 57.1% 55.8% 64.2% 64.7% 73.0% 69.0% 58.3% 54.9%
46 205 85 72 24 14 4 5 3 7 465
More than 12
9.9% 44.1% 18.3% 15.5% 5.2% 3.0% 0.9% 1.1% 0.6% 1.5% 100.0%
hours
35.1% 26.1% 8.6% 8.4% 8.7% 9.3% 4.7% 13.5% 7.1% 29.2% 13.8%
Total 131 786 983 854 276 151 85 37 42 24 3369
3.9% 23.3% 29.2% 25.3% 8.2% 4.5% 2.5% 1.1% 1.2% 0.7% 100.0%

Table 4.14 presents the distribution of working hours against fixed monthly salary of the respondents
who work in Singapore. The analysis indicates that the respondent group with the salary between $ 1500
to $2199 contributes the largest with 29.2% (983 respondents) of the total respondents whereas only a
small number of respondents are with the salary of $18000 and above (24 respondents, 0.7%).
Most of the respondents that accounts 54.9% (1848 respondents) work between 9 to 12 hours per day.
Within those respondents who work between 9 to 12 hours, majority of them earn a fixed salary income
between S$1500 to S$2199 (58.8% or 578 respondents).
4-36
FINDINGS

4.2.11 Race and Job Category


Table 4.15 : Race and Job Category
Job Category

Craftsmen and Related

and Related Workers


Cleaners, Labourers
Plant and Machine
Senior Official and

Professionals and

Service and Sales

Fishery Workers
Agricultural and
Clerical Support

Trades Workers

Operators and
Professional

Technicians

Assemblers
Managers

Associate

Workers

Workers
Total

Bumiputera Count 17 58 98 29 137 1 4 120 86 558


% within
3.0% 10.4% 17.6% 5.2% 24.6% 0.2% 0.7% 21.5% 16.8% 100.0%
Race
% within
Job 6.4% 8.5% 18.6% 12.7% 19.1% 25.0% 9.5% 18.1% 39.2% 16.6%
Category
Chinese Count 234 565 315 176 423 2 34 399 82 2230
% within
10.5% 25.3% 14.1% 7.9% 19.0% 0.1% 1.5% 17.9% 3.7% 100.0%
Race
% within
Job 87.6% 83.1% 59.9% 77.2% 58.8% 50.0% 81.0% 60.2% 34.2% 66.2%
Category
Indian Count 15 51 111 22 147 1 2 144 62 555
% within
2.7% 9.2% 20.0% 4.0% 26.5% 0.2% 0.4% 25.9% 11.2% 100.0%
Race
% within
Job 5.6% 7.5% 21.1% 9.6% 20.4% 25.0% 4.8% 21.7% 25.8% 16.5%
Category
Others Count 1 6 2 1 12 0 2 0 2 26
% within
3.8% 23.1% 7.7% 3.8% 46.2% 0.0% 7.7% 0.0% 7.7% 100.0%
Race
% within
Job 0.4% 0.9% 0.4% 0.4% 1.7% 0.0% 4.8% 0.0% 0.8% 0.8%
Category
Total
Count 267 680 526 228 719 4 42 663 240 3369
% within
7.9% 20.2% 15.6% 6.8% 21.3% 0.1% 1.2% 19.7% 7.1% 100.0%
Race
% within
Job 100.0% 100% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
Category
In general, the highest percentage of job category for all the four race groups are service and sales
workers which is 21.3% (719 respondents), followed by professionals (20.2% or 680 respondents), and
associate professionals and technicians (15.6% or 526 respondents). Among the Chinese respondents,
majority of them are working as professionals (25.3% or 565 respondents) followed by service and sales
workers (19.0% or 423 respondents). For the Indians, the highest percentage of job category is recorded
for service and sales workers which is 26.4% (147 respondents), followed by plant and machine operators
and assemblers (25.9% or 144 respondents) and Associate professionals and Technician (20.0%, 111). For
the Malay respondents, by far majority of the respondents, 137 respondents (24.6%) are working as
service and sales workers, followed by plant and machine operators and assemblers (21.5% or 120
respondents). For other races, 12 respondents are working as either service and sales workers (46.2%)
followed by 6 respondents working as professionals (23.1%).
4-37
FINDINGS

4.2.12 Race and State of Origin

The highest percentage of state of origin based on all


racial groups is Johor (50.4% or 1697 respondents)
followed by Perak (11.8% or 398 respondents), KL
1800
(6.1%, 204), and Sarawak (5.1% or 171 respondents).
1600
Among the Chinese respondents, most of the
1400
respondents are from Johor with 44.6% (994
1200
respondents), followed by Perak (288 respondents or
1000
12.9%) and Kuala Lumpur (7.6% or 169 respondents).
800
600
400
200
0
Negeri
Selango Kuala Putraja Pulau Kelanta Tereng Sarawa
Johor Melaka Sembila Perak Kedah Perlis Pahang Sabah
r Lumpur ya Pinang n ganu k
n
other 14 0 0 1 2 0 2 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 4
Indian 332 16 22 24 17 0 82 27 17 1 3 0 13 0 1
Chinese 994 95 83 93 169 0 288 146 58 7 15 7 76 56 143
Bumiputera 357 21 9 20 16 1 26 9 7 3 18 19 10 19 23

Figure 4.43: Races and State of Origin

Figure 4.44 shows the distribution of races


and state of origin from Sabah and Sarawak.
200 Sarawak has the frequency of 171 (5.1%) out
180 of 3369 respondents. Among those
respondents from Sarawak, the majority are
160
Chinese (143 respondents, 83.6%) followed
140 83.6% by Bumiputera (23 respondents, 13.5 %). For
120 Sabah, Chinese is also the dominant race with
100 the frequency of 56 (74.7%) while the rest is
Bumiputera which accounted to 19
80
respondents (25.3%).
60
40 13.5% 74.7% 0.6% 15.4%
20 25.3%
0 0 0
Bumiputera Chinese Indian other
Sarawak 23 143 1 4
Sabah 19 56 0 0

Figure 4.44: Races and State of Origin of Sabah and Sarawak

4-38
FINDINGS

4.2.13 Salary and Education

Table 4.16 : Salary and Education Level


Highest Educational Level

BachelorS Degree
PMR/SPR/LCE/SR

Skill Diploma and


SKM3, Malaysian
UPSR/UPSRA or

A or equivalent

Certificate (e.g.

Postgraduate
Professional

ACCA, ICSA)
equivalent

equivalent

equivalent

No Formal
Certificate
Salary

Education
Advanced
Total

Diploma
Diploma
STPM or
SPM or

below 5 17 78 1 3 2 14 7 0 3 1 131
S$1000 3.8% 13.0% 59.5% 0.8% 2.3% 1.5% 10.7% 5.3% 0.0% 2.3% 0.8% 100.0%
S$1000 to 24 116 429 45 15 34 78 36 5 1 3 786
S$1499 3.1% 14.8% 54.6% 5.7% 1.9% 4.3% 9.9% 4.6% 0.6% 0.1% 0.4% 100.0%
S$1500 to 22 107 427 63 26 39 200 87 3 4 5 983
S$2199 2.2% 10.9% 43.4% 6.4% 2.6% 4.0% 20.3% 8.9% 0.3% 0.4% 0.5% 100.0%
S$2200 to 9 48 200 36 17 19 224 254 21 21 5 854
S$3599 1.1% 5.6% 23.4% 4.2% 2.0% 2.2% 26.2% 29.7% 2.5% 2.5% 0.6% 100.0%
S$3600 to 2 2 27 7 5 4 51 145 14 19 0 276
S$4999 0.7% 0.7% 9.8% 2.5% 1.8% 1.4% 18.5% 52.5% 5.1% 6.9% 0.0% 100.0%
S$5000 to 0 2 10 2 2 2 22 67 16 28 0 151
S$6999 0.0% 1.3% 6.6% 1.3% 1.3% 1.3% 14.6% 44.4% 10.6% 18.5% 0.0% 100.0%
S$7000 to 0 2 3 2 1 0 6 39 7 25 0 85
S$9999 0.0% 2.4% 3.5% 2.4% 1.2% 0.0% 7.1% 45.9% 8.2% 29.4% 0.0% 100.0%
S$10000 to 0 0 1 1 0 0 2 19 6 8 0 37
S$11999 0.0% 0.0% 2.7% 2.7% 0.0% 0.0% 5.4% 51.4% 16.2% 21.6% 0.0% 100.0%
S$12000 to 0 0 0 1 0 0 4 21 3 13 0 42
S$17999 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 2.4% 0.0% 0.0% 9.5% 50.0% 7.1% 31.0% 0.0% 100.0%
S$18000 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 8 3 10 0 24
and above 0.0% 0.0% 4.2% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 8.3% 33.3% 12.5% 41.7% 0.0% 100.0%
Total 62 294 1176 158 69 100 603 683 78 132 14 3369
1.8% 8.7% 34.9% 4.7% 2.0% 3.0% 17.9% 20.3% 2.3% 3.9% .4% 100.0%

Figure 4.45 shows the distribution of fixed monthly salary against education level. Majority of the
respondents (983, 29.2%) earn a salary between S$1500 to S$2199. Among those earning between
S$1500 to S$2199, most of them are SPM or equivalent certificate holders (427, 43.4%), followed by
Diploma holders (200 or 20.3%).

The respondents who earn a salary between S$2200 to S$3599 contribute as the second largest group
with 845 respondents (25.5%). Among the respondents earning between S$2200 to S$3599, majority of
the respondents are Bachelor Degree holders (254 respondents or 29.7%), followed by Diploma holders
(224 respondents or 26.2%).

Meanwhile, there are also few of the respondents who earn S$10000 and above and the respondents
in this group are mainly tertiary certificate holders such as Bachelor Degree (48 respondents) and
postgraduate (31 respondents).

4-39
5
REASONS OF
WORKING IN
SINGAPORE
REASONS OF WORKING IN SINGAPORE

There are many factors that influence Malaysians to work in Singapore. These influencing factors
can be divided into the extrinsic and intrinsic factors.

Extrinsic Factors
The overall extrinsic factors influencing Malaysians to work in Singapore show an overall mean
score of 3.7, which can be considered high. The analysis of the extrinsic factors is divided into two
dimensions, namely: (a) country related factors and (b) company-related factors. The country-
related extrinsic factors refer to consequences or influences of Singapore as a country, particularly
in terms of its economic condition, policy and social or cultural aspects.

4.21
3.78 3.71 3.61
4.50 3.48 3.30
4.00
3.50
3.00
2.50
2.00
1.50
1.00
0.50
0.00
Stronger Better Good Similar My relatives Singapore is
Singapore employment standard of culture or friends are nearer to my
currency opportunities living working or hometown
living in
Singapore
Figure 5.1: Country-Related Factors
Stronger Singapore currency was the most significant country-related extrinsic factor that
motivates respondents to work in Singapore with an average mean of 4.21; followed by better
employment opportunities, and a good standard of living in Singapore that scored an average
mean of 3.78 and 3.71 respectively. Besides, the similarity in culture between Malaysian and
Singapore that scored an average mean of 3.61 was a factor that influences respondents choosing
to work in Singapore, as this eases them in adapting to the working life in Singapore. While, some
respondents decided to work in Singapore as they have a spouse, relatives or friends who are
living and working in Singapore.

Findings From Interviews


Regardless of their job position, types of work passes and permits and PR status, most participants
suggested that Singapore’s higher currency is the main reasons why they decided to work in
Singapore. Interestingly, there are remarkable differences of opinion between professionals and
low-level workers in viewing better employment opportunities in Singapore. Many professional
and medium level workers suggested that they will be having a better career progression and
advancement in Singapore.

Meanwhile, a majority of low-skilled “The currency exchange is strong. Furthermore,


worker respondents (work permit the marine industry in Singapore is much more
holders) mentioned that with their advanced, and there are more opportunities for
lower level of educational qualification, career advancement in Singapore. Additional
job opportunities in Singapore were factors are proximity to my own hometown and
more attractive rather than those the traffic is not as bad as it is in KL.”
offered by employers in Malaysia due to Mr. H
higher Singapore currency. Engineer with EP, Marine Industry

5-1
REASONS OF WORKING IN SINGAPORE

Interestingly, some also highlighted that it is a My family are from Johor Bahru and I think
family tradition to work in Singapore. They are around 80% of them that comprises of my
following the footsteps of their spouses, parents, aunties and cousins have been working in
siblings and other close relatives. Indeed, the close Singapore for many years already.
proximity from Johor Bahru to Singapore enable Mrs. M
Malaysian to easily commute from Malaysia to Accountant with S-Pass, Shipping
Singapore for work.
4.07
4.10
4.00
3.90
3.71 3.70 3.69
3.80 3.66
3.70 3.57
3.51
3.60
3.50
3.40
3.30
3.20
Higher Good Better fringe Attractive Better Job stability Good
salaries working benefits salary company prospects for
conditions increment policies promotion in
company
Figure 5.2: Company-Related Factors
Survey findings show that the opportunity to obtain higher salaries was the predominant company-
related factor that motivates respondents to work in Singapore with a mean score of 4.07. Aside from
that, good working conditions, better fringe benefits, attractive salary increment and better company
policies were among the primary motivating factor for respondents to choose to work in Singapore,
with the mean score for these factors were above 3.6. While, job stability and prospects for
promotion in the company were found to be the least affecting extrinsic factors with an average mean
score below 3.59. Hence, might somehow indicate the lack of job stability and lower possibility of
promotion for Malaysian working in Singapore.
Findings from Interview
Findings from the interviews concur with the survey
“I work in Singapore because of bigger
results. Having better or higher salaries is one of the
salary offered in Singapore and good
attractive offers made by Singapore employers to
exchange rate. I can afford to buy house
attract Malaysian to work in Singapore. According to
and car by using my salary… which, I could
Mr. O, a technician with work permit who has been
not able to afford it if I were working in
working in Singapore for the past six years
Johor.”
mentioned that given the same job in Malaysia, the
Mr. U,
salary offered in Singapore is much better for him.
Factory Operator with Work Permit
This view is also supported by Mr. B, an IT Engineer
and a PR, who plan to work in Singapore until his
retirement due to good working condition, good
salary and stronger Singapore currency. In summary,
extrinsically, monetary factor seems to be a strong
motivational factor for the respondents to work in
Singapore.
5-2
REASONS OF WORKING IN SINGAPORE

3.81

3.68

3.55 3.54
3.50 3.50
3.44 3.43 3.42

I have the opportunity to gain experiences I have a desire for success


I have the job satisfaction I have a sense of job security
I have the opportunity to do something meaningful I feel there is recognition(s) for my achievement
I feel a sense of importance to the organization I love challenging work
I enjoy working in Singapore

Figure 5.3: Reason of working in Singapore


Intrinsic Factors

The most significant intrinsic factors were the ‘opportunities for the respondents to gain experience’
that scored the highest mean at 3.81, followed by ‘the desire for success’ with a mean score of 3.68.
This shows that, intrinsically, the respondents chose to work in Singapore to gain experience and to
fulfil their drive for success, or self-fulfilment. This can be interpreted as the innermost desire of the
respondents to accomplish success. Whereas, the statements ‘ I feel a sense of importance to the
organization’, ‘I love challenging work’ and ‘I enjoy working in Singapore’ were found to be the least
affecting factors for the respondents to work in Singapore with a mean score of 3.44, 3.43 and 3.42 for
each statement. This indicates that some of the respondents might not feel a sense of importance in
their organizations, do not asses it as a challenging work and the respondents lack the joy of working in
Singapore.

Overall, it can be seen that the extrinsic motivational factors achieved higher total mean score
compared to the intrinsic factors. This shows that the extrinsic motivations are a pivotal factor in
respondents’ decision to work in Singapore.

“One of the main reasons why I work in Singapore


because I want to enhance my communication
skills. In Singapore, we normally communicate in
English. Besides, the quality of jobs in my current
organization is good as they offer monthly
development training for the workers.”
Ms. S,
Admin Assistant with work permit

5-3
INTENTION TO CONTINUE WORKING IN SINGAPORE

33.5% of the respondents intend 11.8% of the respondents want to work


to continue working in Singapore permanently in Singapore.
for the next 3 to 5 years.

Many respondents would like to continue working in Singapore for the next few years. The finding
uncovered that 33.5% of the respondents intended to work in Singapore for the next three to five
years, while 11.8% of the respondents intended to work permanently in Singapore. Very few chose
to work for less than a year in Singapore.

Less than 1 year


21.0%
3.3% of the respondents 15.0% 1 – 2 years
intends to work less than 11.8% 3 – 5 years
a year. 33.5%
3.3% 6 – 10 years
15.4%
More than 10 years
Permanently
Figure 5.4: Intention to continue working in Singapore
Findings from Interviews
Participants who are Singapore permanent residents intend to work in Singapore for a longer time.
Interestingly, most work permit holders also intend to work for more than 5 or 10 years.

“I foresee that I will work in Singapore for a


very long time. Why – because I don’t think “I plan to stay for another 10 years or until I
I can get used to the working environment feel I am financially stable and able to own
in Malaysia. In addition, the salary is way my own home and vehicle.”
below than in Singapore .” Mrs. R,
Ms. C, Operation employee with work permit,
Teacher with Permanent Resident Telecommunication industry

Contrary to the view of PRs and work permit holders, most participants who hold S-Passes were keen
to return Malaysia and find a better job. Out of five participants, there was only one who considered
to apply for a PR status. The rest intend to stay in Singapore at least for three years but none plan to
stay longer than 10 years. Interestingly, the recent change in the political landscape brought about
by the latest general election, GE14, gave some of them hope that Malaysia’s economy will pick up
and become competitive enough to create better job opportunities.

“I think I am going to work in Singapore for the next 5 years, especially after the
election as everybody has a positive thinking towards the current situation. Many of
friends have the intention to stay and work in Singapore. But, that time before the
election and I am not sure their decision or choice after the election, especially in
applying Singapore PR.”
Mrs M,
Accountant with S-Pass

5-4
REASONS TO RETURN TO MALAYSIA FOR EMPLOYMENT

Reasons to Return to Malaysia for Employment


59.2%
52.8%
60.0 44.3%
50.0
40.0 27.7%
30.0
20.0 3.2%
10.0
0.0
Job with Better career Job closer to Job in line Other
similar or prospect family and with
higher home qualification
remuneration and career
aspiration

Figure 5.5: Top 4 reasons to come back to Malaysia

The findings show that majority of the


respondents indicate that they would consider
applying for a job in Malaysia if there is a job
with similar or higher remuneration available 59.2% will be working in Malaysia if
(59.2%), and if there is a better career prospect they could find a job with similar or
in Malaysia (52.8%). This shows that the higher remuneration
extrinsic factors play a big role in deciding either
to continue working in Singapore or to return to
Malaysia.

Findings from Interview


Generally, participants who are Permanent “…if there is a better working opportunity,
Residents of Singapore did not rule out the I would be interested to return and work in
possibility of returning to Malaysia for Malaysia or if there is a good working
employment. They are willing to consider environment as well as diversification of job
working in Malaysia provided that; the salary position.”
offered are comparable to their current salary, Mr. B,
there is promising career prospect, and good IT Engineer with Permanent Resident
working environment in Malaysia.

Another significant factor for them to consider “I would return if the career progression is
the possibility to come back to Malaysia to work promising, plus family or home factor.”
is family reason. Some participants expressed Mrs. D,
their wishes to work in Malaysia in order to take Operation Executive with E-Pass Holder
care of their parents and to be much closer to
their family.

5-5
6
SOCIAL
SECURITY AND
EMPLOYMENT
BENEFITS
SOCIAL SECURITY & EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS RECEIVED BY
MALAYSIANS WORKING IN SINGAPORE – QUANTITATIVE FINDINGS

The following diagram shows the frequency of The majority of the respondents received
the social security and employment benefits medical insurance (85.0%), as well as sickness
received by Malaysian working in Singapore. and maternity benefits (56.7%). The survey
Overall, the Malaysian employees received also revealed that 27.4% of the respondents
various benefits from their employers in received medical benefits for their
Singapore, whereby these benefits are not dependents, and 25.8% of the respondents’
unique from the Malaysian counterpart. The employer provides disability benefits. The least
only difference is that 25.8% of the benefits provided by the respondents’
respondents who received CPF are Singapore employers in Singapore are grievance
PR. Malaysians holding other work passes are procedure (11.5%) and others (2.1%). These
not eligible for CPF contributions. findings were found to be in consistent with
our interviews.
85.0%

56.7%

27.4% 25.8%
21.0%

11.5%

2.1%

Workers' Sickness and Dependents' Retirement Disability Grievance Others


Medical Maternity Medical Fund Benefits Procedure
Insurance Benefits Benefits
and Benefits

Figure 6.1 : Social Security And Employment Benefits Received By Malaysian Working In Singapore

6-1
EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS RECEIVED BY MALAYSIANS WORKING IN
SINGAPORE – QUALITATIVE FINDINGS

Types of Employment Benefits Received


In fact according to one respondent, her
Series of semi-structured interviews were company also covers bed allowance up to
conducted with different groups of work pass SGD31 000 per annum which extends to
including with PRs to investigate on the hospitalization in Malaysian hospitals.
employment benefits received by Malaysians
working in Singapore.
In overall, PR received more benefits
compared to other work passes. Apart from
medical, dental and hospitalization benefits
which cover family members, long service
awards, and annual leaves; PRs are also
entitled for CPF deduction (5-20%) and a
lower income tax (7%). The EPs on the other
hand, received medical benefits including
health and hospitalization claims for self and
family members, as well as work injury claim
compensation, transport claim and lower tax. Lower Income Tax
There is also not so much difference between
the benefits received by EPs and work permit
holders. Aside from health insurance, work
injury coverage, medical benefits which
include MC, paid maternity leave, annual
leave, and the child care leave, the
respondents also received bonus and
transport claims.

“My company provides me with medical coverage, annual leave (12


Days), medical benefits which include MC (14 Days), insurance to
cover for hospitalisation, work injury coverage, maternity benefits
(60 days – paid leave), transport claims and bonus.”
(Mrs R, Work Permit Holder, Operation)

“Medical benefit especially for employee and family members. Other


than that, tax is at 7% which is considerably lower than in Malaysia.
However, there is not retirement plan.”
(Mr E, E-Pass Holder, Structural Design Engineer)

“My company provides insurance in terms of life, hospitalization


and critical illness. If I admitted to Malaysia hospital, my company
will provide bed allowance up to S$31,000 per annum”.
(Ms T, Work Permit Holder, Trainer)

“My company provides insurance to cover for hospitalisation. Apart


from that, there is a 5% CPF deduction for a PR and the PR can opt
for a higher deduction option up to 20%, which is the ceiling.”
(Madam A, Singapore PR, In-house legal counsel)

6-2
SATISFACTION TOWARDS THE EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS RECEIVED

Generally, most of the respondents are satisfied with the employment benefits they received such as
in terms of career opportunities, career promotion, and workplace diversity.

“Yes, I am satisfied with the employment benefits that I receive. Even


sometimes I think I am getting better career opportunities compared with
Singaporeans. I have also promoted twice within 2 years 6 months working in
my company. Therefore, for me, promotion opportunities are more balanced
and unobtrusive between employees whether they are employees from
Malaysia or from Singaporeans.”

(Mr P, Work Permit Holder, Admin Executive)

However, there are some expectations expressed by EPs such as to include coverage for utilities claim,
longer annual leave and transportation benefits. Some S-Pass holders also commented that their
company only recognised MC from the clinics in Singapore, medical benefits not exceeding SGD80 per
month, and annual leave not more than 14 days. For example, the following response indicate the
expectation of an E-Pass holder on increasing the numbers of annual leave and also to make available
a retirement fund.

“I am satisfied with the employment benefits given by my company. However,


I do hope that my employer would consider increasing the number of days for
annual leave. Apart from that, there is no retirement fund for Malaysians.”

(Mr E, E-Pass Holder, Structural Design Engineer)

The above response is also in consistent with another E-Pass holder. Both of these responses
indirectly implies that these respondents are unaware of the provision of the EPF which actually allows
Malaysians working abroad to contribute towards the fund, in a way suggesting that more awareness
and promotion campaigns may have to be conducted by the EPF. Since this is a major concern for
many Malaysians, it is timely that the fund is made known to all Malaysians, especially the vast
majority working in Singapore.

“I am happy with how I am treated at work and my workplace is very diverse


in terms of race and religion. I think the only major difference is that non-
Singaporeans do not have retirement plans.”

(Ms H, E-Pass Holder, Senior Engineer)

6-3
SATISFACTION TOWARDS THE EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS RECEIVED

Although they are generally satisfied, and since many appear to unaware of the EPF fund,
majority of the participants buy insurance policies in Malaysia for further protection. Moreover
we found that several insurance providers in Malaysia has further customized their protection
plan to cover incidents in Singapore as well as in Malaysia. This gives Malaysians more peace of
mind and indirectly increases the attraction to work in Singapore.

The following two responses are examples of S-Pass holders who have insurance protection
plan which covers both countries.

“I have Prudential insurance… “Nowadays, there are insurance


cover Malaysia and companies that provide both
Singapore” Malaysia and Singapore coverage.
They will customize your needs
(Mr L, S-Pass Holder, Project when they know your needs”
Coordinator)
(Mrs. M, S-Pass Holder,
Accountant)

In the absence of CPF, several respondents considered it prudent to commit portion of their
salaries into personal savings for retirement. This attitude appear to be consistent among all types
of passes, suggesting that Malaysians are wary of their future. As the following responses show,
these respondents commit a fixed amount of saving on a monthly basis.

“I set a budget about 20% for saving”


(Mr. F, Singapore PR, Underwriter)

“I have fixed saving. I will transfer thus amount


for saving and if I have fewer expenses that
month, I will even transfer more”
(Ms. G, E-pass Holder, Administrator)

“I transfer fund using DBS banking services,


SG2000 roughly for mother's allowance and
retirement”
(Ms. H. E-Pass, Senior Engineer)

6-4
SATISFACTION TOWARDS THE EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS RECEIVED

On a different note, several respondents with PR status, S-Pass and work permit holders have
highlighted their dissatisfaction for instance towards unequal pay between them and Singapore
employees, as well as the high cost of medical expenses especially the consultation fees. Unequal pay
appear to be a non-issue for E-Pass respondents of this study, perhaps due to their high salary and also
the less likelihood of being cheated.

One respondent commented on the high consultation, medical and hospitalization fees in Singapore.
He applauded the low rate of public hospital provided by the Malaysian government whereby the
quality of service is of equal. Instead, the only difference is the waiting time i.e. the service duration.

In general, Malaysian only pay RM1 in government hospital in


Malaysia but in Singapore as a foreign worker they have to pay SGD10
dollars as outpatient and few thousands for operation procedures.

(Mr F, Singapore PR, Underwriter)

Another respondent, a work permit holder shared the dissatisfaction among Malaysian towards
pay and increment which she claimed unequal compared to the Singaporean counterpart. She
also raised the starting salary discrepancies between Malaysian and Singaporean.

Many Malaysian who are working in Singapore also shared that


they are not really satisfied with the benefits that they currently
receiving. They also claims that they are underpaid compared to
Singaporean colleagues though they have started their career from
the same level. Where as, annual increment for non-Singaporeans
are much more lower compared to Singaporeans.

(Madam A, Singapore PR, In-house legal counsel)

6-5
7
ISSUES &
CHALLENGES
ISSUES AND CHALLENGES

General Issues And Challenges Faced by Malaysian Working in Singapore

As shown in Table 7.1 below, in general, the biggest challenge faced by Malaysians working in
Singapore, as cited by survey respondents, is a heavy traffic problem (53.1 percent). This is
followed closely by high cost of living (47.4 percent). Challenges associated with ‘time
management’, transportation, different work culture and discrimination against foreigners
working in Singapore were also cited by survey respondents (cited by 36.3 per cent, 30.2 percent,
29 percent and 15.2 percent respectively). A small percentage of respondents also reported
‘homesickness’ (0.5%), stress (0.4%), accommodation problem (0.2%) and language problem
(0.2%) as challenges they are facing when working in Singapore. Some respondents also cited
other problems such as limited career advancement opportunities at higher level, no CPF
deduction, different public holiday and lack of job security.

Table 7.1: General Issues and Challenges


No. Issues Frequency Percentage
53.1% of the 1. Heavy Traffic 1788 53.1%
respondents reported 2. High Cost of Living 1596 47.4%
that Heavy Traffic as 3. Time Management 1223 36.3%
the main issues 4. Transportation 1019 30.2%
working in Singapore. 5. Different Work Culture 977 29.0%
6. Discrimination against foreigners 513 15.2%
47.4% of the working in Singapore
respondents reported 7. Away from Family* 16 0.5%
that high cost of living 8. Stress* 15 0.4%
as the second main
9. Accommodation Problem* 7 0.2%
issues working in
10. Language* 6 0.2%
Singapore.
11. Others 62 1.8%

7-1
ISSUES AND CHALLENGES

Comparisons of Issues And Challenges Between Those Residing in Singapore and Those
Commuting to Singapore

For those who regularly commute to Singapore, their main challenge is, as expected, the heavy
traffics jams across the causeway (77.9%). Because of this problem, some of those who commute
would need to go to work at very early hours in the morning and come back at very late hours
which lead to challenging to manage their time (43.8%). This is followed by transportation
problem (38.2%), ‘high cost of living’ (37.4%), different work culture (32.3%) and discrimination
against foreigners working in Singapore (17.7%). Merely a small percentage of respondents who
commute to Singapore viewed ‘being away from family’, ‘language problem’ and ‘stress’ as
challenges working in Singapore. Additionally, as they commute to work, accommodation problem
becomes no issue at all.

Interestingly, unlike those who commute, for Malaysians working and residing in Singapore, high
cost of living is viewed as the highest challenge (59.9%) as comparisons to other issues and
challenges. Other issues and challenges like time management, different work culture, heavy
traffics, and transportation are also faced by them; albeit, with lesser significance. This is
evidenced by smaller score percentages (score of 26.8%, 24.8%, 23% and 20.1% respectively).
Similar to respondents commuting to Singapore, merely a small percentage of respondents
residing in Singapore viewed ‘being away from family’, ‘language problem’ and ‘stress’ as
challenges working in Singapore. Additionally, only a small percentage of respondents residing in
Singapore faced an accommodation problem. Table 7.2 below describes the above scenario.

76.9% of the respondents who


59.9% of the respondents who reside
commute from Malaysia cited heavy
in Singapore cited high cost of living
traffic as the main issues working in
as the main issues working in
Singapore
Singapore .

Table 7.2: General Issues and Challenges for those who reside in Johor vs Commute from Malaysia
No. Issues Reside in Singapore Commute from Malaysia
Frequency Percentage** Frequency Percentage**

1. High Cost of Living 892 59.9% 704 37.4%


2. Heavy Traffic 343 23.0% 1445 76.9%
3. Time Management 399 26.8% 824 43.8%
4. Transportation 301 20.2% 718 38.2%
5. Different Work Culture 370 24.8% 607 32.3%
6. Discrimination against 181 12.2% 332 17.7%
foreigners working in
Singapore
7. Away from Family* 13 0.9% 3 0.2%
8. Stress* 10 0.7% 5 0.3%
9. Accommodation Problem* 7 0.5% 0 0%
10. Language* 3 0.2% 3 0.2%
11. Others 41 2.8% 21 1.1%

**From total number of respondents (Reside – 1489 (44.2%) Commuter – 1880 (55.8%)

7-2
ISSUES AND CHALLENGES

The researchers have also gathered data from the Malaysian High Commission in Singapore. Their
statistic shows a total of 4626 workers who have seek assistance at the Labour Attaché of High
Commission of Malaysia for the past 10 years (2008 to 2017). Figure 7.1 displays the number of
workers seeking assistance according to state of origin. Based on the figure, the highest number of
workers who seek assistance were from East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak, with n = 1388 and n =
1333 respectively). This is followed by workers from Johor (n = 660) and Perak (n=237).
Unsurprisingly, the lowest number of workers who seek assistance was from Perlis (n = 11), which
is the smallest state in Malaysia. However, the statistics for Sabah and Sarawak has reduced
significantly, which may have been due to 2012 ruling by the Singapore government which ban
male natives age 35 and below from working in Singapore.

Table 7.3 : Number of Workers Seeking Assistance at the Labour Division, High Commission of
Malaysia, Singapore (2008 – 2017)
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Sarawak 549 385 189 96 43 15 6 20 16 11
Sabah 682 362 156 28 48 26 13 24 22 23
Johor 122 93 94 81 9 40 25 56 40 39
Kelantan 20 22 14 29 23 15 18 18 8 2
Terengganu 7 14 13 10 7 12 5 6 3 1
P. Pinang 13 12 6 23 14 10 6 5 2 3
Kedah 21 19 24 20 23 24 18 12 10 7
Pahang 15 13 10 21 10 12 7 12 4 3
Selangor 27 14 23 23 9 8 4 10 10 8
N. Sembilan 14 9 10 6 7 10 8 7 5 2
Perak 38 12 23 28 35 27 28 18 10 14
Melaka 11 8 8 10 9 8 4 4 1 3
K.Lumpur 13 7 6 5 15 13 3 4 4 3
Labuan 8 4 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
Perlis 3 1 1 1 2 0 0 0 3 0
The following table 7.4 shows the top 5 issues or complains recorded by the Labour Attaché. Most
complaints were received for long working hours , and least for issues with rest day/sick
leave/public holiday.

Table 7.4: Specific issues for 2017

No Issues Total
1 Long working hours/given a short break 18
2 Salary differs from the promised/deduction of salary were too high 10

3 The accommodation does not provided by employer/poor living 10


conditions – dirt/overcrowded
4 Contract of service different from promised 7
5 Not granted weekly rest day/sick leave/public holiday 6

7-3
ISSUES AND CHALLENGES

Figure 7.1 shows the frequency and types of problems dealt by the Labour Division in Singapore
for the year 2015, 2016, 2017 and the accumulated total. The data shows that majority of the
problem for the past 3 years were related to their passport being withheld by different
authorities. The highest number was recorded for agents/employers in Singapore, followed by the
MoM and police. While majority of those who seek help experience problems, there were also
those who came to only seek advise.

2
1 3 0 5
100% 5 0
1 6 7
1 10
7 4 17
17
90% 9
18 64
27
80%

29
70% 30 74

41
60%
17 75
21
50%

13
40%

30%
102
58 201
20% 41

10%

0%
2015 2016 2017 TOTAL

Passport witheld by Immigration/Checkpoint Authority (CIA)


Passport lost in Singapore
Overstayed in Singapore
Claims
Passport witheld by police
Advise/Others
Pasport witheld by MoM
Passport witheld by agents/employers

Figure 7.1: Breakdown by type of problems

7-4
ISSUES AND CHALLENGES – QUALITATIVE FINDINGS

Semi-structured interviews were conducted Malaysian working in Singapore with three different
types of work permit; employment pass, s-pass and work permit. The interview yielded interesting
insights about the issues of challenges of working in Singapore. Generally, the issues highlighted by
interviewees were consistent with quantitative findings from the survey. However, the interview
findings revealed that the importance of issues were different among different types of pass holder.

1.Issues and Challenges Among Professional Workers (Employment Pass)

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight (8) Malaysian professionals working in
Singapore. Majority of professional workers experienced the high cost of living, especially to those
who are staying in Singapore.

“With 3 children, my husband and I spend about SGD8000 on accommodation,


food and the rest of the living expenses. The children are 6,4 and 2 years of age.
Thank God my husband is a naturalised citizen. He is a Malaysian. But as the cost
is high, he decided to denounce his citizenship and took Singapore citizenship in
order to gain benefits given to Singaporeans – this such as childcare cost.”
Mdm A
In-house legal counsel, a permanent resident

However, cost of living are lower for these professionals if they stay in Malaysia. Despite this, they
will have to spend more time as well as more accumulated stress when commuting from Johor as a
trade-off.

“I have been staying in Perling, Johor for the past 7 years while commuting to
Singapore for work because it is cheaper and my family is here. I commute daily
using car, carpooling with 4 or 5 other friends and we spent approximately 4 hours
to and fro on the road. As for monthly cost, living cost in Johor is about RM7000
and commuting cost can run up to RM1400.”
Mr E
(Structural Design Engineer)

There are also some professional workers who reported that they have less quality family time due
to work, particularly those residing in Malaysia.

“The main drawbacks are being away from family and home.”
Mrs D
(Operation Executive)

Another issue reported by professional workers were related to the workers welfare. These
include issues relating to their salaries. A number of professional workers suggested that they
are underpaid and their salary could have been higher.
“Am I satisfied with my current salary? Well, it could be higher, say increase 15% more to
the current salary.”
Mr. B
(IT Engineer and a permanent resident)
7-5
ISSUES AND CHALLENGES – FINDINGS FROM INTERVIEWS

Notably, the salary of their Singaporean counterparts for the same position is higher then those
given to the expatriates or foreigners. This is contradictory to those in Malaysia in which the
salaries for expatriates/foreigners are usually higher than those of locals.

“As I mentioned earlier, I am not satisfied with the way we are compensated as Singaporeans
will get more compared to Malaysian PRs for the same level of employment and job done … the
ideal salary is to be paid the same rate with fellow Singaporean colleagues for the same
position.”
Mdm A (In-house legal counsel and a permanent resident)

One unique case is shared by a professional worker about cheating practices in some smaller
employer in relation to the payment of CPF for PR workers in Singapore.

“The payment of CPF for some PRs who work in smaller companies. There are a few
incidences where the companies deducted salaries for CPF contributions from Malaysian PR
workers but did not pay the deducted amount into the CPF accounts. Cheating like this is
usual in smaller companies. They (smaller companies) are more likely to be irresponsible,
not the big companies.”
Mdm A (In-house legal counsel and a permanent resident)

Other reported issues for professional


workers also include high level of “There are a few such as traffic at the
stress at work. While this can be a immigration, the strict rules in Singapore as there
common theme for any type of works, are cameras everywhere and finally, the
the stress of commuting as well as difficulties of communicating with Chinese
issues with communication problems expatriates in my company.”
at work also adds on to the stress Mr E
levels. (Structural Design Engineer)

Other less common issues are related to less public holidays, difficulties to own a car, and the lack
of praying facility in the workplace (for Muslim)

“There are three prominent common issues: first, less public holiday; second, could not
afford to buy a car due to expensive petrol price and high COE cost; third, no praying room
for Muslim workers. In the case of being unable to buy a car, the worker will have to
spend more time on the road, commuting and therefore, less family time.”
Mr. B (IT Engineer and a permanent resident)

Generally, professional workers experience


issues related to high cost of living in
Singapore, less quality family time in
Malaysia, underpaid especially compared to
Singaporean counterparts, and high levels of
stress.
7-6
ISSUES AND CHALLENGES – FINDINGS FROM INTERVIEWS

2. Issues and Challenges Among S-Pass Holders

Five S-Pass holders were interviewed. In general, workers with S-Pass cited issues related to cost of
living, heavy traffic, high levels of stress, long working hours without payment and perceived
discrimination

According to the S-Pass holder respondents, the accommodation cost in Singapore is very expensive,
approximately between SGD550-700 on sharing basis. They, however, seem to be willing to pay the
rent in order to avoid the notorious traffic jam associated with daily commuting. A number of survey
respondents cited discrimination against foreign workers as one of the problems working in Singapore.
This problem also revealed in interviews with S-Pass workers. Even though most interviewees were
quite reluctant to openly admit the phenomenon, Ms J (one of the interviewees) was quite vocal in
expressing her thoughts on the matter as she described being looked down upon by her Singaporean
counterparts. Furthermore, one participant highlighted that foreign workers have to endure long
working hours, unlike the locals.

“Even to degree holder, some employers do treat us as a degree holder. They


treat us more like a SPM holder. They tend to look down on us… Malaysian.”
Ms J. (Finance Executive)

Contrary to the PRs and EP holders, all of the S-Pass holder are keen to return to find jobs in
Malaysia. Out of 5, only one considers applying for a PR status. The rest intend to stay in Singapore
at least for 3 years but none plan to stay longer than 10 years. The recent change in the political
landscape brought about by the latest general election, GE14, gave some of them hope that
Malaysia’s economy will pick up and become competitive enough to create better job opportunities.

Apart from that, the interviewees also expressed disenchantment with working in the republic
because of the high level of stress triggered by lack of work life balance, long working hours without
appropriate overtime allowances, qualification not adequately recognised, and perceived
discriminations.

Generally, workers with S-Pass


experience issues related to cost
of living, heavy traffic, high
levels of stress, long working
hours without payment and
perceived discrimination

7-7
ISSUES AND CHALLENGES – FINDINGS FROM INTERVIEWS

3. General Workers (Work Permit)

With regard to work-permit holders, issues and challenges faced by them reflects those who have to
commute daily to Singapore. Interviews with eight work permit holders revealed that endless heavy
traffic jams is their biggest challenge. This main problem inevitably lead to other issue like less time
left to spend with their family members and eventually giving stress to them. When interviewed,
majority of the work permit holders also agreed that due to high cost of living in Singapore, the
workers with work permits commonly buy food in Malaysia before going to work in Singapore.

“I have to spend more time on the road (traffic congestion), commuting and therefore, less
family time. Another challenge for us is high cost of living in Singapore, that’s why every day we
will buy food in Malaysia before going to work in Singapore.”
(Mrs N, Auxiliary Police)

“I am working according to the standard hours, 8 hours per day. Nonetheless, usually I
need to spend around 2.5 hours of travelling time from my house in JB to my working
place in Singapore. Traffic jam is my main challenge as this is the main problem.
Compared with my brothers, their employers provide transportation for them. Even I
live with my family but it’s really hard for me to see my father and other siblings as they
all work in Singapore too. Normally, I finish my work around 6 o’clock and then I took a
bus in Jurong east and it’s a long queue. Normally, I reach home around 8, unless
during Friday as it’s a busy day.”
(Ms. S, Logistics Admin)

The work permit holders also experienced some kind of discrimination when working in Singapore.
The discriminations, based on their own experience, are, for instance, in the way they are being
treated, the lower position offered when they possess higher qualifications, unequal pay for the
same job done. Majority agreed that there are being underpaid.

“I was studying at UniKL in Architectural study before applying job in Singapore. I did not
use my degree to apply the job. I just used my SPM qualification to apply job in Singapore.
Even, my little brother tried to apply a job by using his degree, but the company couldn’t
offer him the job as for them, its bit demanding. Because if we use our degree, and apply a
job at the company, MoM won’t approve the salary that below than $S2200. You will have
a higher chance to get a job by using a SPM. The HR department at my current company
does not know that I have a degree, though my boss knowing it. I don’t really regret of not
using my degree for work.”
(Miss T, Trainer)

“For now, I am satisfied with my salary. Yet, when I compared with my friends who got
$2200 even though they are diploma holders. But they have been working for quite
sometimes and got e-pass. Many of them are doing diploma in IT even from Malaysia
polytechnic”.
(Ms S, Logistics Admin)

7-8
ISSUES AND CHALLENGES – QUALITATIVE FINDINGS

Another discrimination case experienced by the family member of the respondent in the interview is
in terms of number of sick leave given when their family member (also is working in Singapore) met
with an accident.

“I can refer to my father’s case as he travels to Singapore by motorcycle. He had around 4


times involved in accident in both Singapore as well as in Gelang Patah (Malaysia). There
was one time where he had a serious injury as he couldn’t work for about 3 months and
the company only gave him 1-month salary.”
(Ms S, logistics admin).

Generally, workers with Work


Permit experience issues
related to commuting: traffic
jams and long travelling time,
less quality family time, and
discrimination at the
workplace.

7-9
ISSUES AND CHALLENGES – NGOs’ PERSPECTIVE

Semi structured interviews with two NGOs i.e. HOME (Humanitarian Organization for Migration
Economics) and MWC (Migrant Workers’ Centre) in Singapore were also conducted on 5th June
2018 to investigate on the issues and the challenges faced by Malaysians working in Singapore in
order to support the findings obtained from our survey as well as from the Malaysian High
Commission in Singapore. In overall, we found that the are several mediums for Malaysians either
to seek advice or to lodge a complain. The fist is via the Labour Attaché of Malaysian High
Commission in Singapore, and the second is through certain NGOs such as HOME and MWC.

Roles of NGOs

Briefly, the main function of both non-government organizations is to look after the well-being of
migrant workers in Singapore. Their roles include educating migrant workers about the laws,
policies and regulations in Singapore as well as providing advices, assistance, and support for
victims of human rights violations and unfair employment practices. The main difference between
HOME and MWC is that HOME is a Singapore-based charity organization, whereas MWC is a
bipartite initiative of the NTUC (National Trades Union Congress) and the SNEF (Singapore
National Employers’ Federation).

The interviews revealed varied cases involving Malaysian, albeit minimal as compared to other
migrant workers from other countries. On average, HOME received less than 20 cases in a year,
whereby MWC received more or less about 100 cases involving Malaysian. These numbers are
considered very low as HOME and MWC normally received cases in thousand numbers yearly.
Most of the cases received were among Malaysians holding work permit employment pass in
Singapore. Although the number of cases received by MWC is five times more than HOME, most
of the cases registered by MWC are inquiry-related rather than actual case reporting. Since MWC
operates 24 hours online for foreign workers, many Malaysians made calls to ask for certain
information or to clarify matters related to their employment such as work permit, OT payment,
tax inquiry, immigration process and etc.

“They just want to check whether the company conduct is lawful or not…not
serious… (call to ask) how to calculate OT, what the correct OT pay is…work pass
process, taxes…”
(MWC)

HOME on the other hand revealed that the 20 cases or less that they received from Malaysian
include issues on salary claim, unfair dismissal, weird contract terms, excessive working hours,
illegal working, short salary, unpaid OT, and exploitation. Among all, majority of the cases they
received were police cases.

“Form our experiences, we could say that half of Malaysian who came in the past years
is police case”
(HOME)

7-10
ISSUES AND CHALLENGES – NGOs’ PERSPECTIVE

Examples of police cases are accused of stealing money from the cashier, or for stealing stuff from
the shop and became the scapegoat for other employee’s cheating.

“One lady…she has to sign a document to say that she was willing to
sign away money to a shop, but it was actually her boss who took
the money” (Source: HOME)

“The boss accused her for taking 4000 dollars. She took some, but
converted just about 100 dollars…her employer also accused her
and her colleague of taking liquors. The police later discovered that
it is not true” (Source: HOME)

“For one case, she works in a car importer company. She never
actually saw the cars, physically, but she will sign the consignment
receiving the car, but she was never at the port, then later the
company found the boss missing with 20 cars. The police accused
her because she was the one who prepared the documents.”
(Source: HOME)

7-11
ISSUES AND CHALLENGES – NGOs’ PERSPECTIVE

Apart from police cases, other issues and challenges faced by Malaysians working in Singapore are
excessive working hours, short salary and unpaid OT. HOME revealed that it is a common practice for
Singaporean companies to exploit the permit quota and in many cases; Malaysians are aware and
agree with the unlawful act. This eventually leads to salary exploitation by the Singapore employer.
This finding appear to be in consistent with the statistic from the Labour Attaché of Malaysian High
Commission in Singapore. In fact long working hours and salary discrepancies were among the top
two complains from Malaysian workers (Table 7.3).

1 2
“One case is a Malay worker, he
works in art place, 6 hours a day
“They (employees) don’t and another 6 and 2 hours at
really get the threshold salary another place. In total about 14
to S-pass or for the EP. Many hours a day and he only gets 2
employers exploit the quota, days rest in a month. But they
for example, they don’t have pay him a salary of 1200-1300, no
the quota for work permit OT but he didn’t feel like he
anymore, so they hire based wants to complain. He feels very
on S pass or EP, but they disempowered, intimidated…they
don’t pay that high salary are afraid if they make issue, they
which is very common in can’t come back, there’s a
Singapore.” (Source: HOME) misconception that he can’t get a
job in future if he complains.”
(Source: HOME)

3
“Another worker an Indian worker, work in an eatery, for 8 months, he only
get 4 days of rest, and even though he is employed as a waiter, he also clean
the fridge, chop vegetables, clean toilet, basically everything, because in the
service centre, there’s this thing called multitasking. And he was also asked
by his boss to massage his feet at night. He wasn’t paid OT for that. He was
so sick that he wants to go home but his boss just said that he’s just ‘putting
up a show’. He fainted at the MRT. Over work affect the welfare of the
workers.” (Source: HOME)
7-12
ISSUES AND CHALLENGES – NGOs’ PERSPECTIVE

Apart from misconception among


Malaysians that their future will be
jeopardized if they lodge a
complaint, Malaysians are also
willing to accept a job without a
legal work permit, thence giving
room for exploitations. These issues
are just the first stage of hurdles for “It’s very easy for Malaysian to find a job without work
Malaysians working in Singapore. permit…just come over. There’s one Malaysian case, she
HOME revealed that during police came, the boss say you just try out first and see but a
investigation, the victims are not few days later she got caught…..Although for Malaysian,
allowed to work or return to there’s a lot more liberation…there’s no restriction to
Malaysia. Although HOME provides settle down, but that makes it easier for employer to
free legal advices and temporary exploit them more” (Source: HOME)
housing, the victims barely could
survive especially since the
investigation normally takes more
than three, sometimes up to six
months. It was thus their hope that
the Malaysian government could
offer some assistance, such as by
continuously pressuring the
Singapore government to allow the
victims under investigation to find
work in order to survive.

7-13
ISSUES AND CHALLENGES – JOB AGENCIES’ PERSPECTIVE

To further understand the issues and challenges, we have also conducted semi-structured
interviews with five (5) job agencies in Singapore; Leader Employment Agency LLP, Manpower
Access Pte Ltd, Luckystar Employment Agency, Gallant Manpower and RI Talent Solution Pte. Ltd.
The main objective of these interviews were to explore the roles of these job agencies as well as
the challenges faced by these agencies in dealing with Malaysian applicants intending to work in
Singapore.
Roles Of The Job Agencies

All of the agencies focuses on a specific type of employment main work permit that include
general worker such as cleaner, housekeeping, driver, store keeper in sectors like services, F&B
and manufacturing. Although some agencies do help with other types of passes such as the S-pass
and Employment Pass, the number of applicant for these passes were generally limited. One of
the cited reason were the high likelihood of these group of applicants to be more educated and
more technology-friendly and could have search and applied for the relevant jobs themselves.
Besides they are less likely to pay for the agency fees.

“Malaysian with high level of education mostly are not willing to pay agency fees, they
know how to use computer and everything – that’s why we focus on work permit”

Mdm T, Leader Employment Agency LLP

For work permit, the documents required to process their applications by the agencies are
generally the same i.e. the applicants’ passports, SPM results etc.

“employer don’t mind even SPM, as long they are willing to work hard. But SPM is an
advantage especially in big companies – having the basics skills”
Mdm G, Gallant Manpower

The agencies that were interviewed handle applicants from different countries such as Vietnam,
China, Philippines and Myanmar. However, most agencies focus on Malaysian applicants due to
the demand and ease of process.

“Helps to recruit, ratio for employers to be able to employ Malaysian is 2 Singaporean: 1 Malaysian,
Other nationality: 6:2 (Vietnam, Myanmar), 12: 1(China). Besides that, employers would prefer to
hire Malaysian as they can hire more as the ratio is much lower compared to other countries”
Mr. JL, Manpower Access Pte Ltd

It is unsurprising to know that majority of the applicants through these agencies are from Johor,
considering that it’s the nearest state to Singapore. Interestingly, there are also a number of
applicants from the East Malaysia as well as the East Peninsular Malaysia (Terengganu, Kelantan).
On the other hand, one agency only focused on applicants from the East Malaysia due to
problems dealing with applicants from Peninsular Malaysia.

We primarily bring in East Malaysian workers from Sabah and Sarawak 35-65 years old, some
Pahang, Kelantan but 50% run away. In 20 workers, we only have problems with 2 or 3 of them
from East Malaysia, but around 10 out of 20 from West Malaysian, so we try to not take most
from the West”
Mdm G, Gallant Manpower

7-14
ISSUES AND CHALLENGES – JOB AGENCIES’ PERSPECTIVE

It is well established that job agencies assist the applicants with recruitment process and this
applies to all agencies that were interviewed. However, some agencies also extend their services
towards helping the employees with basic problems such as providing advice.

“If the workers have a problem, we ask them to consult with us first. We will analyse the
problem, if it’s reasonable we will advise the employers as it might violate the MoM
rules”
Ms. L, RI Talent Solution Pte. Ltd

In terms of the process, all job agencies appear to have a similar process . For instance some
agencies accept walk in applicants who will then be interviewed. An example of the process of
one agency is as follows:

“Walk In – Interview – Propose to the Company – Discuss and Match – Company signed
the consent letter to hire the candidate – Candidate signed the letter of consent and
agreed to apply job permit – Agencies apply temporary permit”
Ms. L, RI Talent Solution Pte. Ltd

Our interviews have also revealed that certain agencies do not accept walk-ins, and only receive
applicants that have been screened by agents in Malaysia. This exclusion however only applies to
the agency that primarily focus on applicants from East Malaysia.

“By the time the workers come to us, they have agreed with the agent and are ready to
fly to Singapore to start working and the type of job they want – we don’t talk/interview
them while they are in Malaysia, the Malaysian agents will deal with that”
Mdm G, Gallant Manpower

7-15
ISSUES AND CHALLENGES – JOB AGENCIES’ PERSPECTIVE

In terms of the issues and the challenges faced by the job agencies in dealing with Malaysian
applicants intending to work in Singapore, we found that the agencies face several issues such as
workers running away from work, borrowing money from the agencies, asking for an advance, and
job hopping behaviour.

Mdm. T, Leader Employment Agency LLP

•“When workers run away, we are unable to get the job agency fees. Within
Singaporean law, we cannot deduct their earnings. What we can do is ask the
worker to write an authorisation letter for us to get the balance salary to cover
our cost”

Mr. JK, Luckystar Employment Agency

•“Some workers will always ask us to borrow some money to buy simcard in early
days. The problem is, they misuse the money and buy cigarettes instead”

Mdm. G, Gallant Manpower

•“A number of problems such as borrowing money and not paying it back, felt
their job is too difficult and wanting to go home, steal money, at al getting drunk
(which is the biggest problem including smoking)”

Ms. L, RI Talent Solution Pte. Ltd

•“Many of the candidates when they start working, they want to borrow money.
They request for money advancement from the company, and the company told
us. When, the company agreed to borrow them some money, the employee
disappeared and this put our agency into trouble.”

7-16
8
STAKEHOLDERS
ROLES OF STAKEHOLDERS – FINDINGS FROM IRDA

ORGANIZATION: ISKANDAR REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY (IRDA)

An interview session was conducted with the Vice President (VP), Economics and Investment Unit
to represent IRDA. The main purpose of the session is to understand the role of the organization
with regards to Malaysians working in Singapore. The interview started with the views from the
VP on the impact of Malaysians working in Singapore to the country. The VP mentioned that the
scenario (brain drain) leads to the loss of talents firstly because Malaysians are fulfilling Singapore
gaps of talent; secondly, the Malaysian workers are cheaper option for Singapore with the same
quality and set of skills. Nevertheless, on a positive note, he also felt that brain drain might help to
develop the country. He believed that Malaysians who work in another country may contribute to
different level of thinking for Malaysian workforce when they return to the country.

During the interview session, the VP emphasized that Singapore policies and the exchange rate
are main factors contributing to Malaysians working in Singapore. He strongly believes that
Singapore has the policy to bring in Malaysians to fill up job opportunities after the locals.

“As the industrialization in Singapore climbed up to the upper tier, the


Singapore government have projected many years ahead on the demand
of workforce. They have created the talents and brains (and power) to
stay put. So, Malaysians are coming to Singapore to fill in the talent gap
or as a cheaper option with the same qualities and set of skills as their
locals. Their strategy works because of the exchange rate. The
government of Singapore realize that if the exchange rate is more, then
Malaysians will be more attractive to join the workforce because they can
get more. The qualities and set of skills are about the same. So the
projections will tell them how many people with the right skills they
require. So the policy will be to restrict or release in terms of giving visas
and work permits etc. So a very engaging government together with the
private sector and industries and dynamic policy to attract or to put a stop
on foreign talent.”

The VP added that Singapore would also look into Malaysian policies as these determine whether
Malaysians can work in Singapore or not.

“Based on Singapore recent budget which they have announced,


Malaysian government should also have a good estimation and educated
guess on how many Malaysians they require for years to come and the
determining factors that dictate the numbers e.g. the industries they are
bringing in and so the number of Malaysians who will go there. They will
offer scholarships etc. We should also have that kind of scenario
planning”. Individuals who would like to acquire experience and exposures
working overseas such as in Singapore. These experience will look “nice”
in their resume. Individuals who have certain target and goals to such to
accumulate wealth are also attracted to work in Singapore”.

8-1
ROLES OF STAKEHOLDERS – FINDINGS FROM IRDA

Strategies and Planning of IRDA in Retaining Suggestions from IRDA


Malaysians from working in Singapore

➢ “IRDA’s mission is to bring in more industries 1. Engage with Singapore MOM


that eventually lead to investments and job
opportunities. It is guided by Comprehensive “Malaysia should engage with Ministry of
Developmental Plan (CDP). CDP1 in 2006 and Manpower in Singapore. This will enable
CDP2 in 2016. CDP2 is looking into three main Malaysia to see their projection of manpower
aspects (Circle of sustainability). Wealth and human talents. Based on these, we can
Generation (Investment, GDP growth), Wealth anticipate and have an estimation on how many
Sharing (Social elements where Benefits has to Malaysian workers they require and how many
be to locals), Resource Optimization they can get from Malaysia”.
(practically used our resources in the most
sustainable and economical way). If we put
these three circles into one circle of 2. Work closely between ministries
sustainability, we consider economic, social “We need to work harder e.g. Ministry of
and environmental. We need to bring in Human Resource and Ministry of Higher
investment for 20 year program target over 20 Education should work together. But we are still
years” tackling on the issue of local demand. Who are
actually responsible to deal with the issue of
“brain drain”? We don’t have the right policies
➢ “IRDA Focuses on 9 main sectors in CDP2 (3 to tackle this. Talent Corp is only tackling
traditionally strong in Iskandar Malaysia people to coming back to Malaysia. We need to
Manufacturing- Electrical / Electronic, Food have something that attract them to stay in
and Oleo processing, Petrochemical and Oleo Malaysia.
chemicals; 6 Services- Healthcare, Education,
Tourism, Creative, Financial, Logistic). These Also are we having the right policy in terms of
sectors bring in more investment and create retaining? One of it is job opportunities. IRDA’s
more job opportunities. RM383 billion is role is to bring in job opportunities via
expected to accumulative over 20 years from investment”.
2006 to 2025. This contributes growth of 6%
to 8 % of GDP for Iskandar Malaysia. We are
more focused on these activities. Our strategy
is always to these sectors and Iskandar
Malaysia have the potentials on all these
sectors”.

8-2
ROLES OF STAKEHOLDERS – FINDINGS FROM SWADAYA INSAN
JOHOR

ORGANIZATION: UNIT SWADAYA INSAN (SIJ) JOHOR

Another interview session was conducted with the General manager (GM) of Unit Swadaya Insan
(SIJ), Johor. The objective of this interview is to identify the role of SIJ with regards to retaining
Malaysians from working in Singapore. To begin with, The GM of SIJ mentioned the fact that
Malaysians working in Singapore is not a new phenomenon; it has started long ago and it was an
old tradition. According to him, Job opportunities are available in Johor but are filled up by
foreign workers such as from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and others due to political
will especially for the low-skilled jobs. In which, it showed larger number of foreign workers
compared to the locals for the low-skilled jobs. He further highlighted that the number of
population in Johor increased due to this Malaysians working in Singapore phenomena.

“Singapore provide opportunities to


“The fact that job opportunities in
Malaysians with attractive rewards. But
Singapore also attracted people from
yes it is a waste of talents where Malaysian
outside Johor to reside and buy
talents are wasted to help develop other
properties in Johor. This increase the
economies. However, most of Malaysians
number of population in Johor”.
working in work is for the low skilled jobs”

Source: SIJ

Strategies and Planning of SIJ in retaining Suggestions from SIJ


Malaysians from working in Singapore

▪ Development of Johor Talent System • To have 50% reduction in dependency


(Sistem Bakat Anak Johor) to match skills on foreign workers in Malaysia.
and requirements.
• To established contract or bond
▪ Engagement with the industry and with the system with companies for graduates
ministry of education. Examples of actions to work in their company.
would include obtaining aid from the Labor
Department (JTK) and MIDA to assist in • Employing double tax for Malaysians
registering the existing businesses. At the working in Singapore.
same time, SIJ seeks assistance from the
ministry of education, IPTA, IPTS and • The mindset and attitude of
technical training departments to provide a Malaysians need to be changed. As in
list of graduate students. not to be choosy when applying for
▪ SIJ helps facilitate all levels of students, jobs.
that include those with SPM to higher level
Degree.
▪ SIJ provides technical training to students
to improve their technical skills.

8-3
ROLES OF STAKEHOLDERS – FINDINGS FROM TALENTCORP

On 21st July 2018, a face-to-face interview was conducted with TalentCorp’s representatives.
Based on the interview, a number of important themes were extracted; factors that attract
Malaysians working in Singapore to return to Malaysia; strategies implemented by TalentCorp in
retaining Malaysians working in Singapore and suggestion for future improvements. According to
TalentCorp, the most important factors why Malaysian return from other countries is family and
career advancement opportunities. Other factors include lifestyle and food.

“From TalentCorp’s survey, the key reasons are; family


factor/aging parents, work reason, and training experience.
Lifestyle and foods in Malaysia is part of the reason, but not a
dominant factor.”
TalentCorp Representative 1

“Companies that hire our talent are mostly from oil and gas,
financial and business services industries. Average working
experience abroad is 8 - 9 years. Returnees will either be
employed by the company in Malaysia or set up their businesses.”

TalentCorp Representative 3

TalentCorp has many programmes in retaining Malaysians from working in other countries. It was
reported that they received lots of application from Malaysians working in Singapore.

“TalentCorp more looking on Malaysians to come back, but


Singapore still remain the top 5 place, including Australia, China,
UK and US. Only professional level is focused”

TalentCorp Representative 2

In terms of suggestions, TalentCorp has


identified that the coordination between “Our suggestion is to improve the
different agencies can be improvised. For coordination between different
instance, different organisations have agencies. For example, there’s an
their own programmes to attract agency that targets specific
Malaysians to return to work in Malaysia. industries with tax incentive,
whereas TalentCorp is open for any
industries”

TalentCorp Representative 4

8-4
9
RECOMMENDATIONS
&
CONCLUSION
RECOMMENDATIONS

Based on the key findings uncovered in this study and focus group discussion conducted among key
stakeholders, the researchers proposed four main strategies to formulate the recommendation for
this study.

Key FGD Formulation of


Findings Outputs Recommendations

Survey 3369 respondents


Interview 21 Malaysians working in Singapore
FGD AGENCIES 14 Agencies Participated as below:
Malaysia Employer Federation (MEF), Federation of Malaysian
Manufacturers (FMM), TalentCorp, The Human Resource
Development Fund (HRDF), Ministry of International Trade and
Industry (MITI), Ministry of Education (MoE), Malaysia Investment
Development Authority (MIDA), Department of Skills Development,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), Institute of Youth Research
Malaysia (IYRES) Ministry of Youth and Sports, Social Security
Organization (SOCSO), Employees Provident Fund (EPF), Labour
Attache’ of Malaysia in Singapore, Malaysian Trades Union Congress
(MTUC)

STRATEGY 1: TRANSFORMING ‘BRAIN DRAIN’ TO ‘MUTUAL GAIN’

STRATEGY 2: IMPROVING JOB OPPORTUNITIES FOR


MALAYSIAN

STRATEGY 3: IMPROVING SALARY SCHEME, EMPLOYMENT


BENEFITS AND WELFARE IN MALAYSIA

STRATEGY 4: MONITORING EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AND


WELFARE OF MALAYSIAN WORKING IN SINGAPORE AND
STRENGTHENING SUPPORT SYSTEM

9-1
STRATEGY 01: TRANSFORMING BRAIN DRAIN INTO MUTUAL GAIN

Table 9.1 : Summaries of Recommendation on Transforming Brain Drain into Mutual Gain
Implementation
Year
Responsible Facilitating
Recommendation Action Plan

2019

2020

2021

2022

2023
Agency Agency

R1: Implement the (a) Trace the Malaysian Ministry of Department of


systematic global Diaspora all over the Foreign Affairs Statistics
fast tracking world especially those Malaysia,
system for with expertise and TalentCorp
Malaysia diaspora special skill sets (MoHR)
(b) Facilitates the TalentCorp Ministry of
engagement of (MoHR) Foreign Affairs,
Malaysian diaspora for Department of
the compilation of Immigration
current and updated
data on skills,
experiences and plans
of those willing to
support development
individually or through
organizations within
Malaysia using the
existing KNOWMADS.
R2: Promote (a) Identify Malaysian TalentCorp HRDF – MoHR ,
Transfer of experts working in MITI and MIDA
Knowledge Singapore to be
Program (i.e. trainers / consultants /
through key note speakers in
Knowledge Sharing the capital-intensive
Seminars between industrial areas in
Malaysian Malaysia, especially by
managers in leveraging on
Singapore and in KNOWMADS database.
Malaysia).
(b) Conduct a series of Department HRDF – MoHR,
training periodically of Skills TalentCorp and
between Malaysian Development MIDA
skilled workers in (MoHR)
Singapore and Malaysia
using comprehensive
TVET training scheme.

(c) Reintroduce Immigration TalentCorp


understudy policy for Department
expatriate. Expatriate
should take one local
understudy as
requirement to
Employment Pass.
9-2
STRATEGY 01: TRANSFORMING BRAIN DRAIN INTO MUTUAL GAIN

Implementation
Year
Responsible Facilitating
Recommendation Action Plan
Agency Agency

2019

2020

2021

2022

2023
R3: Facilitate (a) Encourage more MIDA and TalentCorp,
projects/collabora foreign companies, MITI JTK
tions between especially from Singapore
organizations in to expand their business
Malaysia and operations in Malaysia
Singapore for a and hire a certain
specified duration percentage of local
to attract Malaysians in the
Malaysian company by leveraging
professionals to on Industrial Cooperation
contribute to Working Group (ICWG)
Malaysia under the Malaysia-
Singapore Joint
Ministerial Committee
(JMC).
(b) Multilateral MITI and
agreements via ASEAN MIDA
platform to promote a
common growth among
ASEAN members
R4: Enhance the (a)Review the current TalentCorp
Returning Expert incentive offerings to (MoHR)
Program (REP) returnees which include
job matching facilitation,
settling down assistances
and other quid pro quo
arrangements.

(b) Expand the roles of TalentCorp


the REP committee in (MoHR)
strengthening the local
career support networks
for the returnees.

The first strategy focuses on transforming the brain drain initiatives into mutual gain. This strategy
comprises four recommendations that will be discussed in the following sections.

Recommendation 1: Implement The Global Fast Tracking System For Malaysia Diaspora
Malaysians who work overseas should have been identified to help in the growth of Malaysia human
capital. Therefore, the first recommendation in this strategy of transforming brain drain into mutual gain
is to implement the tracking system for Malaysia diaspora. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is advised to
implement a global fast tracking system for Malaysian diaspora by tracing Malaysian expatriates
worldwide, their work sites, special skills and gender. The Department of Statistics Malaysia would be in
the best position to help and facilitate the joint effort with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in making the
tracking system functional and available.
9-3
STRATEGY 01: TRANSFORMING BRAIN DRAIN INTO MUTUAL GAIN

The implementation of a tracking system by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the other hand, could
enhance TalentCorp’s existing KNOWMADS initiative. The KNOWMADS initiative focuses on the
engagement of Malaysian diaspora for the purpose of compiling current and updated data on skills,
experiences, their interest to return and plans of those willing to support development individually or
through organizations and institutions within Malaysia. This initiative can be implemented through
cooperation between Ministry of Foreign Affairs and MOEMC (for example by sharing data). As such,
the role of Immigration Department of Malaysia is crucial in facilitating KNOWMADS to make sure that
Malaysian diaspora data are valid.

In support of this recommendation, similar project has been implemented by the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs of Guyana in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) since 2012.
This project is entitled as Guyana’s Diaspora (GUYD) which seeks to engage Guyanese Diaspora by
documenting skills, resources and the return interest and plans of those willing to support Guyana
development. The objective of this project is to contribute to the economic development of Guyana
through the support and engagement of the Guyanese diaspora. The information obtained from the
GUYD Project will act as an important indicator as to what skills and resources exist in the Diaspora and
the interest of the Diaspora, which will serve as important factors guiding Government policy to engage
the Diaspora.
Recommendation 2: Promote Transfer of Knowledge Program

Recent studies have started to look at the issue of brain drain from an alternative angle, as several case
studies show that brain drain is not always negative and that it could be reversed and converted into a
brain gain (Khalil, 2010). In transforming brain drain into mutual gain, the transfer of knowledge from
expatriate nationals is encouraged as they might want to contribute their skills, knowledge, experience
to their home countries. In this case, TalentCorp is recommended to identify experts among Malaysians
in Singapore to be the trainers, consultants, keynote speakers for the industry in the capital-intensive
industrial areas in Malaysia, especially by leveraging on KNOWMADS. Under KNOWMADS, the experts
could contribute through knowledge sharing and technology to support the continuing development of
Malaysia. This action can be facilitated by MITI, MIDA and HRDF. Furthermore, the transfer of
knowledge program can be more efficient if the Department of Skills Development with the
cooperation of HRDF and TalentCorp, are able to conduct a series of training periodically between
Malaysian skilled workers in Singapore and Malaysia using comprehensive TVET training scheme.

For example, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) had initiated a program known as
“Transfer of Knowledge Through Expatriate Nationals” (TOKTEN). The TOKTEN concept is a global UNDP
mechanism targeting expatriate nationals, who had migrated to other countries and achieved
professional success abroad, mobilizing them to undertake short-term consultancies in their country of
origin. The TOKTEN program was based on an underlying principle of volunteerism. Since its creation,
TOKTEN has operated in around 50 countries including India, China Afghanistan, Philippine, Vietnam,
Palestine, Sudan, Africa and others. One of the most successful programs of TOKTEN has been in
Palestine. UNDP in Palestine is currently constructing a data bank, which will have information about
the Palestinian Diaspora, including experts who are ready to contribute to Palestinian development
efforts and the TOKTEN Programme will be the tool to facilitate their contributions. Through the
TOKTEN Palestinian Programme, UNDP will recruit highly skilled expatriate female and male Palestinian
professionals to serve as short-term volunteers (3 weeks to 3 months), thereby providing top-level
technical expertise, policy advice and research to numerous Palestinian ministries, universities,
research centres, non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) as well as private sector Palestinian
Institutions. Since its inception, the programme has added significance for the Palestinian people and
was able to tap into the diverse and outstanding human resources of more than 10 million Palestinians
residing abroad.

9-4
STRATEGY 01: TRANSFORMING BRAIN DRAIN INTO MUTUAL GAIN

Additionally, the policy of requiring expatriate to take local understudy as a requirement for
Employment Pass approval should be re-introduced to ensure transfer of knowledge from foreign
expatriate to local people. In fact this is a standard practice in countries like Kenya to ensure that the
nation will really gain from the influx of foreign expatriates

Recommendation 3: Facilitate Projects/Collaborations Between Organizations in Malaysia And


Singapore

Malaysia should intensify the efforts to encourage more foreign companies, mainly from Singapore to
expand their business operations in Malaysia and hire a certain percentage of local Malaysians in the
company. We recommend TalentCorp, with the support of two key government agencies MITI and
MIDA, facilitates collaborative projects between organizations in Malaysia and Singapore for a specified
duration to fundamentally improve the level of expertise and intelligence contribution by Malaysian
professionals toward nation building and prosperity of Malaysia.

Encourage business expansion


Attracting Singapore businesses to expand their business operations in Malaysia will be a significant
milestone for our country, especially for TalentCorp, MITI and MIDA. Whilst all would have wished for
faster progress, the introduction of a quota for hiring locals by these companies should be weighed
carefully. We advocate a business-led approach where Singaporean and Malaysian companies clearly
see the mutual gain of sharing expertise and developing human capital for both nations.

Leverage on ASEAN membership ties


Further two-way collaborations are within our grasp, assuming the
steadfast commitment from ASEAN member state leaders to live up to
the ASEAN Declaration (henceforth, the Declaration) and therefore,
achieve the 7 aims & purposes of the Declaration, in particular points 1,
3, 4 and 7, which in sum, is a resounding call for joint endeavours, active
collaboration, close and beneficial cooperation to achieve common
good and prosperity among member states. It is important to consider
setting up a dedicated steering body made up of business and policy
experts to convene on this mission. Leveraging on these ties will
provide both strategic and competitive advantage for us.
Recommendation 4: Enhance the Returning Expert Program (REP)

It is recommended that Malaysia improve the Returning Expert Program (REP) to increase the
attractiveness of returning to Malaysia for Malaysian experts abroad. Among the action plan that can
be used for this purpose is to offer quid pro quo incentive offerings which include job matching
facilitation, settling down assistances and etcetera. More attractive incentives should be given in order
to appeal to our experts to take advantage of this program. Besides, the roles of the REP’s committee
should be expanded, such as strengthening the local support networks for the returnees. This is to
assist the returnees and their family in settling down back here in Malaysia.

Additionally, a platform to enhance the Professional Support Network


should be created by connecting the experts to the professional bodies,
local varsities and private agencies. This support network may be able
to help the returnees to get a suitable job in Malaysia. The responsible
agency for this recommendation would be the TalentCorp and (MoHR),
while, the facilitating agencies would be the Immigration Department,
the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Home Affairs.
9-5
STRATEGY 02: IMPROVING JOB OPPORTUNITIES FOR MALAYSIAN

Table 9.2 : Summaries of Recommendation on Improving Job Opportunities for Malaysians

Implementation
Year
Responsible Facilitating
Recommendation Action Plan
Agency Agency

2019
2020
2021
2022
2023
R5: Facilitate (a) Organisations needs to JobsMalaysia IRDA, FEM,
Malaysian employers advertise vacancies through (JTK) SSM and JIM
to register and JobsMalaysia first, before
prioritize advertising proceeding with other
job vacancies for medium/platforms and consider
Malaysian via Malaysians fairly for jobs.
enforcement and
(b) Strengthen the role of JobsMalaysia
incentive.
Department of Labour in (JTK)
ensuring employers to register
with JobsMalaysia.
(c) Strengthen the enforcement JTK, MoHR Immigration
of current employment of Dept.
foreign workers policies,
procedures and conditions as
outlined in the 2011 Guideline.
R6: Urge private (a) Aggressively promote private HRDF MOE
companies and GLCs, companies to utilise HRDF levy
particularly in Johor industrial training scheme.
to offer internship (b) Provide more opportunities MoHR MOE
and apprenticeship for interns to enhance their skills
programme for by having free short
students / young courses/scholarship for
graduates under a upskilling purpose
special Industrial (c) Encourage private companies MOE JTK and MEF
Training Scheme or and GLCs to increase
Apprenticeship engagement with universities
Scheme. and training centres to attract
potential employees to work in
their organization (e.g. by
providing scholarship and career
talk)
(d) Encourage private companies MOE
and GLCs to hire fresh graduates
permanently after completing
their internship program, such
as via 2U2I program.

9-6
STRATEGY 02: IMPROVING JOB OPPORTUNITIES FOR MALAYSIAN

Implementation
Year
Responsible Facilitating
Recommendation Action Plan

2019
2020
2021
2022
2023
Agency Agency

R7: Conduct (a) Provide conducive MED / INSKEN SSM, HRDF,


Entrepreneurship environment, training (skills and SME
programme (training, needed, business ideas), Corp.
investment, financial assistance,
assistance) which network for new start-ups
extends to Malaysiansto set up their
working in Singapore.businesses/ideas locally
(b) Organise roadshows to MED SME Corp.
increase awareness
regarding the role of
Ministry of
Entrepreneurship
Development to support
new business venture in
Malaysia
(c) Review and enhance MOE MED
entrepreneurship
programme in higher
learning institutions
R8: Strengthen the (a) Improve job matching ILMIA, MoHR TalentCorp.,
platform of facilitation by conducting a MEF , MITI
employment comprehensive study on ,dan MIDA
opportunities for the current and future
Malaysian supply and demand in
professionals in Malaysia, based on
Singapore who have a academic qualifications,
high intention to experiences and skills.
return back for Then, the agency should
employment. link the data with the
profile of Malaysian
working in Singapore.
(b) Regularly organize JTK and MEF
career fairs targeting JobsMalaysia
Malaysians working in
Singapore

The second strategy focuses on providing more job opportunities for Malaysians to enable them find
jobs in Malaysia. This strategy comprises five recommendations that will be discussed in the following
sections.

9-7
STRATEGY 02: IMPROVING JOB OPPORTUNITIES FOR MALAYSIAN

Recommendation 5: Facilitate Malaysian employers to register and prioritize advertising job


vacancies for Malaysian via enforcement and incentive.

It is suggested that Malaysian employers should advertise vacancies through JobsMalaysia for a
specified period of time before proceeding with any other medium/platform. In this way, the job
advertisements will reach Malaysians before they are made known to foreign workers. In relation to
this, employers should also consider Malaysians reasonably for jobs and do not give first preference
to foreign workers for whatever reasons. This measure, for example, has been employed in
Switzerland whereby a proposal was developed by its government that would give residents
(including EU nationals) with residence permits, first preference on jobs. In fact, employers are also
prevented from recruiting in neighbouring countries (The Independent, 2016).

Additionally, some employers may not be well aware of the roles of Department of Labour (JTK for
Jabatan Tenaga Kerja). Thus, outreach programs need to be intensified to increase awareness as
well as to ensure relevant employers register with JTK. This will enable them to enjoy supports
provided by JTK. Another important step to be undertaken by MoHR and facilitated by the
Immigration Department is to strengthen the enforcement of the current employment of foreign
workers' policies, procedures, and conditions as outlined in the 2011 Guidelines. This is to ensure
that companies/employers are abiding by the guidelines such as following the ratio system that
outlines the proportion of foreign workers to local employees based on industry needs and skills
with the aim of improving job opportunities for Malaysian. Hence, strict enforcement of this policy
would provide equal opportunities to prospective local workers. This, in return, may reduce the
number of Malaysians going outside to find jobs and the number of foreign workers hired by the
employers.
Recommendation 6: Urge private companies and GLCs, particularly in Johor to offer
internship and apprenticeship programme for students/young graduates under
special Industrial Training Scheme or Apprenticeship Scheme.

The Government should aggressively promote private companies to utilise the


benefits of HRDF levy industrial training scheme to conduct training/internship and
apprenticeship programme. This could be enhanced further by encouraging them to
increase engagement with universities and training centres to attract potential
employees to work in their organization (e.g. by providing scholarship and career
talk). It would be even better if they could hire fresh graduates permanently after
completing internship program. In this case, the successful experience of the
Australian government can be used for benchmarking. Various special schemes have
been introduced to support their graduates to be employed in the public sector.
Some of the special schemes that are available are Graduate Recruitment and
Development Scheme (GRADS), Aboriginal Pathway to the Graduate Recruitment and
Development Scheme and Science Graduate Program (State Government of Victoria
Australia, 2018).

Furthermore, in order to attract young talents, companies should also provide


opportunities for interns to enhance their skills by having free short
courses/scholarship to further their studies. A contract may need to be signed with
the talents to ensure them returning to the companies. Such program has been
employed by the Singaporean government namely The Skills Future Earn and Learn
Programme, which provide opportunities for fresh graduates in Singapore to
progress in their early careers within organisations (Government of Singapore, 2017).
9-8
STRATEGY 02: IMPROVING JOB OPPORTUNITIES FOR MALAYSIAN

Internship or practical training is also part of a graduation requirement for most undergraduate
programmes in Malaysian universities. Typically, universities have some arrangements to place their
students at local private companies or GLCs for practical training. Local private companies and GLCs
should be encouraged to hire fresh graduates permanently after completing this internship program.
This will reduce the possibility of the brain drain of local talent to Singapore and other countries.

Recommendation 7: Conduct Entrepreneurship programme (training, investment, assistance) which


extends to Malaysians working in Singapore.

The government should also create an atmosphere for innovation, develop high-tech industries and
foster entrepreneurship not only to attract returnees but also to provide job opportunities for
Malaysian graduates. It is suggested that entrepreneurship programmes (e.g. training, investment,
assistance) can be organised/improvised by expanding its participation among Malaysians working in
Singapore.

This may include providing conducive environment, training (e.g. skills needed, business ideas),
financial assistance, networking opportunities for new start-ups to launch their businesses/ideas in
Malaysia. For example, in 1998, the Singaporean government launched the Technopreneurship for the
21st century (T21) programme to provide conducive ecosystem-financing, regulation, facilities and
culture to enhance entrepreneurial activities among the general public (Channel News Asia, 2017a).
Besides that, the Singaporean government also provides S$20 million fund for first-time
entrepreneurs under the Startup SG initiative announced in March 2017 (Channel News Asia, 2017b).

Likewise in India, the government had also undertaken several initiatives


and instituted policy measures to foster a culture of innovation and
entrepreneurship in the country. Some of the initiatives that have been
introduced were; Startup India, Make in India, Atal Innovation Mission
(AIM), Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women (STEP),
Digital India, Stand-Up India and Trade related Entrepreneurship Assistance
and Development (TREAD) (Global Entrepreneurship Summit, 2018).

In view of the announcement made by the new Ministry of Entrepreneur


Development following the 14th General Election, it is suggested that the
current government to be proactive in raising awareness among the general
public regarding its ministry functions. We recommend the ministry to
organise nationwide roadshows with the facilitation of SME Corp. to explain
the role of Ministry of Entrepreneur Development in supporting new
business ventures in Malaysia.

Under the former government, the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) had initiated the
entrepreneurship Action Plan of Higher Education targeting at least five percent of graduates would
choose entrepreneurship as their career of choice by 2020. It is recommended that the current
entrepreneurship programme including the previous initiatives under the stewardship of the former
government such as Entrepreneurship Unit, MOHE and local universities to be continuously
implemented and enhanced. By choosing to become entrepreneurs, it is beneficial for our economy
and also, potentially be less likely for the graduates to find jobs in other countries.

9-9
STRATEGY 02: IMPROVING JOB OPPORTUNITIES FOR MALAYSIAN

Recommendation 8: Strengthen the platform of employment opportunities for Malaysian


professionals in Singapore who have a high intention to return back for employment.

Based on the findings, many Malaysians currently working in Singapore indicate interest to return
home for employment. Nonetheless, there are lack of job opportunities available that match their
job experiences and skills. An important strategy is to improve job matching facilitation to those
with the intention to re-join Malaysian labour market. We recommend ILMIA to conduct a
comprehensive study on the current and future supply and demand of different types of
occupation, based not only on academic qualifications but also experiences and skills. The
outcome of the study can be used to facilitate brain gain by linking the data with the profile of
Malaysians working overseas, especially in Singapore.

For instance, the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (2012) conducted a
comprehensive study in Europe Skills needs and supply in Europe. This study aimed to forecast
skills supply and demand and some current attempts to improve it in all EU Member States plus
Norway and Switzerland (EU-27+).

Shah and Dixon (2018) on behalf of the National


Centre for Vocational Education Research also
conducted research that provides forecasts of job
openings by occupation and industry for new
entrants to the Australian labour market. Specifically,
it focuses on two employment-related estimates;
employment growth (or decline) in the industry or
occupation and replacement needs; that is, the new
workers required due to worker retirement or those
leaving the occupation.

9-10
STRATEGY 03: IMPROVING SALARY SCHEME, EMPLOYMENT
BENEFITS AND WELFARE

Table 9.3 : Summaries of Recommendation on Improving Salary Scheme, Employment Benefit and
Welfare

Implementation
Year
Responsible Facilitating
Recommendation Action Plan
Agency Agency

2019
2020
2021
2022
2023
R9: Strengthen the (a) Develop a comprehensive MoHR Ministry of
enforcement of Protection Guideline for Foreign
providing a better Malaysians who work abroad Affairs
working condition,
(b) Strengthen the MoHR Ministry of
systematic career
coordination of the ministries Foreign
advancement, and
involved with the enforcement Affairs
employees’ welfare
of the Labour Protection Act
among employers
(c) Create a special welfare High Malaysian
fund through crowdfunding Commission Association in
among Malaysians working in of Malaysian Singapore
Singapore (MACIS)
R10: Enhance a (a) Incorporate the MEF Salary MoHR MEF,
competitive salary and Fringe Benefits Annual CUEPACS
scheme in order to Report and Productivity-Linked
provide attractive Wage System (PLWS) into the
salary and up-coming review of private
remuneration sectors salary scheme.
package based on
employees’
qualifications,
experience and skills
in future.

The third strategy is twofold – R9 focuses on improving employment benefits and welfare of Malaysians
working in Singapore, while R10 focuses on improving salary scheme as a preventive measure to retain
Malaysian workers. The action plans for both recommendations are discussed in the following sections.
Recommendation 9: Strengthen the enforcement of providing a better working condition, systematic
career advancement, and employees’ welfare among employers

Based on the issues and challenges experienced by Malaysians working in Singapore, it


is highly recommended for the Malaysia government to strengthen the enforcement of
providing a better working condition, systematic career advancement, and employees’
welfare among Singapore employers. The Ministry of Human Resources facilitated by
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is suggested to develop a comprehensive Protection
Guideline for Malaysians who are working abroad. Besides, the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs is also recommended to strengthen the coordination of the ministries involved
with the enforcement of the Labour Protection Act.

9-11
STRATEGY 03: IMPROVING SALARY SCHEME, EMPLOYMENT
BENEFITS AND WELFARE

As a benchmark, the World Bank has recognized the past efforts of


the Philippine government to improve its governance framework
concerning protecting the rights of Overseas Filipino Workers
(OFWs). For instance, it noted that of all ASEAN countries, the
Philippines has competently relied on “a system of bilateral
agreements to govern migration with many destination countries.”
The World Bank report entitled “Migration to Opportunity:
Overcoming Barriers to Labor Mobility in Southeast Asia”, noted that
the Philippines has signed MOUs and Memorandums of Agreement
(MOAs) with 23 countries and four subnational governments
regarding land-based migrants and with six countries regarding sea-
based migrants, which range from facilitation of worker migration in
particular areas to broader frameworks covering required
qualifications, worker welfare, and cooperation.

Another action plan that can be proposed is creating a special welfare


fund through crowdfunding among Malaysians working in Singapore.
The High Commission of Malaysian is recommended to have better
networking with Malaysia Association in Singapore (MASIS) and other
Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) in Singapore as they can
support in terms of financial and other social welfares.

Recommendation 10: Enhance A Competitive Salary Scheme In Order To Provide Attractive Salary
And Remuneration Package Based On Employees’ Qualifications, Experience And Skills In Future.

Ministry of Human Resource (MOHR) with the help of the Malaysia Employer Federation (MEF) and The
Congress of Union of Employees in the Public and Civil Services Malaysia (CUEPACS) is recommended to
revise salary scheme in order to provide attractive salary and remuneration package that suit with
employees’ qualifications, prior experience and skills. This proposed initiative could be implemented by
incorporating the findings of MEF Salary and Fringe Benefits Annual Report and Productivity-Linked
Wage System (PLWS) into the review of existing salary scheme. The revision of this salary scheme and
remuneration package applies to all levels of workers irrespective of academic qualifications,
experience and skills. Although achieving equivalent wage standard with Singapore is deemed
impossible in the near future, this recommendation, if implemented, reflects that the government is
taking the necessary measures in valuing workers’ qualifications, experience and skills accordingly.
Indeed, the government should also emphasize the ‘Salary Range Revision Policy’, which has been used
in most of developing countries to revising the current salary range and form a comprehensive
guideline in determining salary increment in Malaysia.

Additionally, employers in Malaysia should appropriately review and revise the ‘pay grades’ by
introducing a special salary scheme to attract and retain local employees with high demand
competencies, especially in critical sectors such as manufacturing, information and communication,
and construction. More importantly, the government via the MOHR should also conduct periodic
discussions and talks with key players in the industries to ensure that the employers are well-informed
with current policies and initiatives about the human resources in Malaysia, such as the outcome of
PLWS study and the minimum wage policy.

9-12
STRATEGY 03: IMPROVING SALARY SCHEME, EMPLOYMENT
BENEFITS AND WELFARE

Table 9.4 : Summaries of Recommendation on Monitoring Employment Benefits and Welfare of


Malaysians Working in Singapore and Strengthening Support System

Implementation
Year
Responsible Facilitating
Recommendation Action Plan
Agency Agency

2019
2020
2021
2022
2023
R11: Strengthen the (a) Enforce recruiting JTK
regulation of private agencies to strictly comply
employment with the Private
agencies’ activities in
Employment Agencies Act
protecting job 1981 (Amendment 2017)
seekers welfare. based on the given license
particularly in terms of
money guarantee to be
used to protect Malaysians
who gained employment
abroad via private
employment agencies.
R12: Pursue the (a) To pursue policy MoHR MoM
Social Security intervention on social
Agreement (SSA) and security protection via
other social security specific bilateral social
protection. security agreement (SSA)
between Malaysia and
Singapore to provide
equality treatment to all
Malaysian workers including
a retirement account or
provident fund type of
scheme for Malaysian non
PRs.
(b) Strengthen the roles of MoHR JTK
MOEMC in coordinating and
assisting Malaysian workers
who are facing problems
abroad.

9-15
STRATEGY 04: MONITORING EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AND
WELFARE OF MALAYSIANS WORKING IN SINGAPORE AND
STRENGTHENING SUPPORT SYSTEM

Table 9.4 : Summaries of Recommendation on Monitoring Employment Benefits and Welfare of


Malaysians Working in Singapore and Strengthening Support System

Implementation
Year
Responsible Facilitating
Recommendation Action Plan
Agency Agency

2019
2020
2021
2022
2023
R13: Extend the (a) Create a collective and MoHR, High HOME,
collaboration coordination environment Commission of MASIS, MWC
between the High between NGOs and High Malaysian,
Commission of Commission of Malaysia in Singapore,
Malaysia in Singapore via Labour Ministry of
Singapore (Labour Attaché Foreign Affairs
Attaché) with
relevant NGOs in (b) Establish a one-stop- Immigration MoHR,
Singapore which centre in Johor Bahru which Department, HOME,
safeguard the provides various services Ministry of MASIS, MWC
welfare of foreigners and facilities for Malaysians Foreign Affairs
working in Singapore. working in Singapore (i.e.
parking, bus stop, grievance
centre, job agencies, NGOs,
clinic, money exchange
service, and EPF)

R14: Strengthen the (a) Increase the number of Ministry of High


roles and capacity of qualified human capital to Foreign Affairs Commission
Labour Attaché to be in-charge of and manage of Malaysian
monitor and provide various issues involving in Singapore.
support for Malaysians working in
Malaysians working Singapore
in Singapore (b) Develop a continuous Ministry of High
monitoring system to Foreign Affairs Commission
enhance the capability of of Malaysian
Labour Attaché in handling in Singapore.
various issues involving
Malaysians working in
Singapore

The fourth strategy focuses on monitoring employment benefits and welfare of a Malaysian working in
Singapore and strengthening support system. This strategy comprises of three action plans that will be
discussed in the following sections.

9-16
STRATEGY 04: MONITORING EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AND
WELFARE OF MALAYSIANS WORKING IN SINGAPORE AND
STRENGTHENING SUPPORT SYSTEM

R11: Strengthen the Regulation of Private Employment Agencies’ Activities in Protecting Job
Seekers Welfare.

The Private Employment Agencies Act 1981 has been rightly amended in 2017 to regulate the
activities of recruitment agencies better. This act sets out conditions and requires money guarantee
from agencies for obtaining licenses to exercise foreign employment services. We recommend that
this act should be strictly enforced by the Department of Labour (JTK) to protect Malaysian seeking
job overseas from being exploited by irresponsible agencies. The money guarantee paid by the
agencies under the provision of the act, for instance, should be used to compensate the jobseekers
if they are stranded or facing any misfortunes due to the negligence of recruitment agencies.

In fact, such regulations have been enforced in many other developing countries such as Thailand
and the Philippines. In Thailand, the provision to protect Thailand seeking a job abroad and
controlling recruitment agencies has been enforced under Employment Agencies and Employment
Seekers' Protection Act 1985 (revised 1994). Under this act, the employment agency in Thailand is
even responsible for the repatriation expenses in situations when a recruited worker is not given
the promised job or the wage prescribed in the employment contract. The expenses are recovered
from the Fund to Assist Workers Abroad established under this Act.

Recommendation 12: Pursue the Social Security Agreement (SSA) and other social
security protection.

The social security provision for non-PR Malaysian workers in Singapore is a challenge
because they are not eligible under the CPF scheme. The major challenge lies in
ensuring their post-active years of work are provided for as anecdotal evidence in this
study indicates little is left for their retirement. Social security protection for
Malaysian workers in Singapore deserves special attention given their contribution to
the Malaysian economy.

We recommend the pursuant of policy intervention on social security protection for


non-PR Malaysians via specific bilateral social security agreement (SSA) between
MoHR, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the government of Singapore’s relevant
bodies. This agreement or treaty provide equality treatment to all Malaysian workers
including a retirement account for non Malaysian PRs working in Singapore, featuring
a provident fund type of scheme under the purview of Central Provident Fund Board
Singapore and Employee Provident Fund Malaysia. Case on point is the Flexi-fund
Program for overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) where OFWs augment their income
via such tax-exempt savings and pension plan. The money in the Flexi-fund is invested
in fixed income instruments and is the National Provident Fund equivalent for OFWs.
There are example of countries that have successfully leveraged on their bilateral ties
in pursuing SSAs. India for instance has 18 social security agreements with 18
countries, whilst Australia shared responsibility with 31 countries.

9-17
STRATEGY 04: MONITORING EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AND
WELFARE OF MALAYSIANS WORKING IN SINGAPORE AND
STRENGTHENING SUPPORT SYSTEM

Beside that, the role of Malaysia Oversea Employees Management Centre (MOEMC) must be
strengthened regarding coordinating and assisting Malaysian workers who are facing problems
abroad. This involves identifying the relevant authorities/departments and person-in-charge in
maintaining MOEMC services. Indeed, the roles of MOEMC and types of assistance that it can
provide shall be widely advertised to the public and recruiting agencies. Once these are clearly
recognized, all agencies responsible for bringing Malaysians into Singapore must register with
MOEMC and that MOEMC will ensure that employees’ protection is part of the standard contract
agreement.

Recommendation 13: Extend the collaboration between the High Commission of Malaysia in
Singapore (Labour Attaché) with relevant NGOs in Singapore which safeguard the welfare of
foreigners working in Singapore

Generally, the High Commission of Malaysia in Singapore is advised to extend the collaboration with
NGOs Singapore which safeguards the welfare of foreigners working in Singapore to play a better
role to ensure the welfare of the Malaysians working in Singapore. Therefore, full coordination and
support are needed, and this can be done based on collective discussions, forums, and workshops to
strengthen the relationship between them. Consequently, this will bring towards sustainable joint-
strategic planning in up-coming years between these groups of collaboration.

Besides that, this collaboration will also able to balance the


multifaceted role of labour attaché works with the rolled
played by the NGOs to protect the Malaysians works in
Singapore. The general responsiveness of both High
Commissions also needs to be delivered to the NGOs and
labour attaché to ensure the smoothness of relationship the
foreign labour market environment. The role played by the
Migrant Workers Centre (MWC), The Malaysian Association
in Singapore (MASIS) and Humanitarian Organization for
Migration Economics (HOME) in Singapore by providing
advice a and assistance is a right way of NGOs protecting the
migrated workers and this type NGOs should have a
coordination with the labour attaché and the High
Commissions.

Moreover, The Ministry of Human Resources is


recommended to establish a one-stop-centre in Johor Bahru,
which able to provide various services and facilities for
Malaysians who worked in Singapore (i.e. parking, bus stop,
grievance centre, job agencies, NGOs, clinic, money exchange
service, and EPF scheme).

9-18
STRATEGY 04: MONITORING EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AND
WELFARE OF MALAYSIANS WORKING IN SINGAPORE AND
STRENGTHENING SUPPORT SYSTEM

Recommendation 14: Strengthen the roles and capacity of Labour Attaché to monitor and provide
support for Malaysians working in Singapore

Labour attachés shoulder an important role in protecting migrant workers and they are therefore
part of the diplomatic mission abroad. The role includes protection of nationals abroad, employment
promotion and identification of job opportunities, assisting the development of labour migration
policies and promoting good relations between migrant workers and employers as well as between
sending and receiving countries. Strong commitment to promote and strengthen the role of labour
attachés in Singapore are recommended as follows:

(a) Enhance the capacity of labour attachés in Singapore as the number of attaché should be
adequate in order to provide effective and timely on-site protection to Malaysian workers, given
that the majority of Malaysian diaspora (>50%) are located in the Republic. Currently, the
Malaysia labour attaché office in Singapore is staffed by one male Counsellor and one male
assistant. In addition, gender balance among labour attachés also need to be addressed to
reflect the composition of male and female Malaysians working in Singapore. At least one
female labor attaché is available to attend to the need of female Malaysian workers.
(b) Enhance the functions of labour attachés to deal with complains swiftly and effectively; to verify
information of job offers, employment contracts and job agencies; to engage closely with the
Malaysian workers community, employers and NGOs in Singapore; to collect and respond to
rights violations via effective complaint mechanisms and to collaborate with various stakeholders
in Singapore in response to crisis situations involving Malaysian workers employed in the
Republic.
(c) Labour attaché staffing strategies should include very extensive pre-deployment and during
deployment training, on top of the current orientation and training programs. In keeping up with
the fast changing job landscapes, these trainings should include but not limited to: knowledge
and basic skills in various types of treaties and international agreements, international legal
instruments and requirements, host country’s policies and labour procedures; and also
intermediate skills in negotiations, conflict management, crisis management, mediation and
conciliation, gender and religion sensitivity matters and etcetera.

9-19
CONCLUSION

This study aims to develop a comprehensive profile of Malaysians commuting daily to-and-from Singapore as well as
those Malaysians who are residing and working in Singapore. This project was conducted by using a mixed-method
approach whereby both quantitative and qualitative approaches are employed in order to investigate factors, issues,
and problems influencing Malaysians to work in Singapore. The researchers used both paper-based and online survey
to increase the response rate. The survey for the study is prepared in three (3) languages namely English, Malay and
Mandarin to cater the needs of different major ethnic of respondents in the study. Semi-structured interviews have
also been carried out mainly with key persons or departments involved in developing and managing the Malaysian
workforce and relevant key persons with knowledge of Malaysians working in Singapore. The researchers have also
conducted a series of focus group discussion with various stakeholders to gather views on factors influencing
Malaysians to work in Singapore.
A total of 3,369 valid responses were obtained from both paper-based and online surveys. The finding revealed that
respondent who are Chinese (66.2%), male (54.0%) and possessed SPM qualification contributed to the highest
percentage of respondents. The findings also showed that a majority of the respondents in both groups (residing in
Singapore and commuters) are from Johor (50.4%) and aged between 25 to 29 years old (30.0%). Within the Good
Producing Industry, the majority of respondents works as factory operators (33.8%) while the highest job title for the
Services-Producing Industries is Manager (4.9%). Interestingly, the findings also uncovered that the highest
percentage of respondents (32.5%) spent or transferred S$1000 to S$1499 to Malaysia in a month and a majority of
them (80.8%) transferred their money to Malaysia in the form of cash. Besides, almost half of the respondents
(44.0%) make a saving between1% and 10% of their fixed monthly.
Insight gathered from the survey also highlighted the reasons of Malaysians working in Singapore, which it was
categorized into extrinsic and intrinsic factors. The analysis of the extrinsic factors is divided into two dimensions,
namely: (a) country related factors and (b) company-related factors. ‘Stronger Singapore currency’ was the most
significant country-related extrinsic factor that motivates respondents to work in Singapore, while ‘the opportunity to
obtain higher salaries’ was the predominant company-related factor that motivates the respondents working in
Singapore. In term of intrinsic factors, the most significant factor was ‘the opportunities for the respondents to gain
experience’. With regards with the intention to continue working in Singapore, the finding uncovered that 33.5% of
the respondents intended to work in Singapore for the next three to five years, while 11.8% of the respondents
intended to work permanently in Singapore. However, a majority of the respondents indicate that they would
consider applying for a job in Malaysia if there is a job with similar or higher remuneration available (59.2%).

The Malaysian employees received various benefits from their employers in Singapore. Based on the survey, most of
the respondents received medical insurance (85.0%) as well as sickness and maternity benefits (56.7%). In overall,
permanent residents (PRs) received more benefits compared to others who hold work passes. Apart from medical,
dental and hospitalization benefits which cover family members, long service awards, and annual leaves; PRs are also
entitled to CPF deduction (5-20%) and a lower income tax. The findings show that the two biggest challenges faced by
Malaysians working in Singapore are a heavy traffic problem and the high cost of living. Survey respondents also cited
challenges associated with time management, transportation, different work culture and discrimination against
foreigners working in Singapore. Professional workers and S-Pass holder experienced issues related to high cost of
living in Singapore, less quality family time in Malaysia, underpaid especially compared to Singaporean counterparts,
and high levels of stress. Meanwhile, issues and challenges faced by work-permit holders reflect those who have to
commute daily to Singapore, which indicated that heavy traffic is their biggest challenge. This main problem inevitably
leads to another issue like less time left to spend with their family members and eventually giving stress to them.

9-20
CONCLUSION

Recommendations have been developed based on these findings and focus group discussions among key
stakeholder which proposed four main strategies. The first strategy focuses on transforming ‘brain drain’
to ‘mutual gain’. The second strategy focuses on providing more job opportunities for Malaysians to
enable them to find jobs in Malaysia. The third strategy is twofold and consists of two recommendations.
The first focuses on improving employment benefits and welfare of Malaysians working in Singapore by
strengthening the enforcement of providing better working conditions, systematic career advancement,
and employees’ welfare among employers. The second focuses on improving salary scheme as a
preventive measure to retain Malaysian workers by offering a competitive salary scheme and attractive
remuneration package based on employees’ qualifications, experience, and skills. Finally, the fourth
strategy focuses on monitoring employment benefits and welfare of Malaysian working in Singapore and
strengthening the support system.

9-21
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R-4
APPENDICES
Appendix 1: English Survey

A-1
A-2
Part B: Demographic Profile
Instruction: Please answer the following questions by ticking the appropriate box.

1. Gender 10. Job Category


□ Male □ Senior officials and managers
□ Female □ Professionals
□ Associate Professionals and Technicians
2. Age □ Clerical Support Workers
□ 15 – 19 □ 45 – 49 □ Service and Sales Workers
□ 20 – 24 □ 50 – 54 □ Agricultural and Fishery Workers
□ 25 – 29 □ 55 – 59 □ Craftsmen and Related Trades Workers
□ 30 – 34 □ 60 – 64 □ Plant and Machine Operators and Assemblers
□ 35 – 39 □ 65 and above □ Cleaners, Labourers and Related Workers
□ 40 – 44
11. Industry
3. Race (Tick one only either in Good Producing
□ Bumiputera Industries OR Services Producing Industries)
□ Chinese
□ Indian Goods Producing Industries
□ Others □ Manufacturing - Electrical and Electronics
□ Manufacturing - Machinery and Equipment
4. State of origin in Malaysia: □ Manufacturing - Medical Devices
Please specify _________________ □ Manufacturing - Aerospace
□ Manufacturing - Chemical & Petrochemicals
5. Highest Educational Level □ Construction
□ UPSR/UPSRA or equivalent □ Utilities
□ PMR/SRP/LCE/SRA/ or equivalent □ Other Goods Industries. Please
□ SPM or equivalent Specify___________
□ STPM or equivalent
□ Certificate
Services Producing Industries
□ SKM3, Malaysian Skill Diploma and Advanced
Diploma □ Wholesale & Retail Services
□ Diploma □ Transportation & Storage
□ Bachelor Degree □ Accommodation & Food Services
□ Professional Certificate (e.g. ACCA, ICSA) □ Information & Communications
□ Postgraduate □ Finance & Insurance
□ No Formal Education □ Business Services
□ Other Services Industries. Please
6. Job Title Specify___________
Please State _______________________
12. Fixed Monthly Salary
7. How long have you been working in Singapore? □ below S$1000
___________ year(s) ______ month(s). □ S$1000 to S$1499
□ S$1500 to S$2199
8. Work Status □ S$2200 to S$3599
□ Full time □ Temporary
□ S$3600 to S$4999
□ Part time □ Contract
□ S$5000 to S$6999
□ S$7000 to S$9999
9. How many hours do you work a day?
□ S$10000 to S$11999
□ Less than 4 hours
□ S$12000 to S$17999
□ between 4 – 8 hours
□ S$18000 and above
□ between 9 – 12 hours
□ more than 12 hour

A-3
A-4
Appendix 1: Malay Survey

A-5
A-6
A-7
A-8
Draft Interview Questions
Employees

Theme: Employment in Singapore

1. Would please tell me your employment history in Singapore?


a. What is your current occupation?
b. How did you know about the job vacancies?
c. How long have you been working in Singapore?
d. In which industry are you working in?

1. What type of employment pass or permit do you have?

2. How many hours do you work in a day?

3. Do you reside in Singapore? Or do you commute to work from Malaysia to


Singapore?

a. If you reside in Singapore for work,


• How long have you been residing in Singapore?
• Why do you reside in Singapore?
• Where is your place of residence in Singapore?
• What is your main mode of transportation to your work place?
• What is the estimation of your monthly cost of living in Singapore?

a. If you commute to work to Singapore,


• Why do you commute to work?
• How do you commute to work?
• How often do you commute to work between Malaysia and
Singapore?
• What is your main mode of transportation to work place?
• On average, how many hours does it takes you to commute to work
between Malaysia and Singapore?
• What is the estimation of your monthly cost for commuting from
Malaysia to Singapore for working?

A-9
Theme: Reasons for Working in Singapore

1. What are the main factors motivating you to work in Singapore?


1. What is the most important factor? And why?
2. Do you have any family members working in Singapore?

2. From your own opinion, what would be the two (2) main reasons Malaysians are
motivated to work in Singapore?

Theme: Employment Benefits and Employee Welfare by Singapore Employers

1. What are the employment benefits and protection provided by your employer in
Singapore?
1. Are you satisfied with the employment benefits provided by your employer?
2. From your experience of working in Singapore, please describe the social security
benefits that Malaysian workers normally received in Singapore?
3. From your experience, what are the common issues of employee’s welfare normally
experienced by Malaysians working in Singapore?
4. In your opinion, how are the social security benefits received from the Singaporean
employers differ from the Malaysian employers? Please provide both the pros and
cons.

Theme: Income, Remittance and Savings


1. Are you really satisfied with your current salary?
2. On average, how much income that you earned in Singapore was transferred to
Malaysia monthly?
3. What percentage of your income is allocated for savings?
1. What are the main reasons for making such saving? Is it for retirement
purpose or others?

Theme: Future Plan


1. For how long do you intend to work in Singapore?
2. What are the two (2) main reasons that would motivate you to seek employment in
Malaysia?

A-10
Draft Interview Questions (Stakeholders)

Theme: Job Opportunities in Singapore


1. Would you discuss on employment opportunities (job opportunities) in general in
Singapore?
a. What about employment opportunities for Malaysians?
2. Would employment opportunities in Singapore differ between genders and
ethnicity?
3. Which industries Malaysians are commonly employed in Singapore?
a. Why? Any specific reason?
4. What about types of jobs and salary range of Malaysians working in Singapore?
5. What is the common expected tenure in most Singaporean firms?

Theme: Work Permits and Passes


1. What are the requirements for work permit? Is there a different requirement for
different industry?
2. Could you elaborate on work passes? What are the differences between each
work pass and why?
3. Besides work passes, is there any other policies or requirements for Malaysians
working in Singapore? Any human capital / talent development programme they
have to undergo?

Theme: Benefits / Challenges Working in Singapore


1. In your opinion, what are the factors stimulating (motivating) Malaysians to work
in Singapore? What are the major factors and why?
2. Are there any benefits or advantages of working in Singapore? What are they and
could you elaborate on these? Would these influence Malaysians to work in
Singapore? Why?
3. Are there any issues or problems of working in Singapore? What are they and
could you elaborate and these? Would these influence Malaysians to work / not
to work in Singapore? Why?
A-11
Theme: Social Security and Employee Welfare
1. What are the common issues of employee welfare normally experienced by
Malaysians working in Singapore?
2. From your experience in dealing with both Malaysian working in Singapore and
job agencies, do you think that Malaysians who are working in Singapore
receive a sufficient social security benefits?

A-12
Institute of Labour Market Information And Analysis (ILMIA)
Ministry of Human Resource Malaysia
G-07-12, Right Wing, G-Floor, Block 2320, TEL : +603 8318 2433
Century Square, Jalan Usahawan, Cyber 6, FAX : +603 8318 0709
63000,Cyberjaya. EMAIL : admin.ilmiamohr@1govuc.gov.my