KUALA LUMPUR: Ministries have been instructed to increase engagements with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to improve the management of foreign workers and increase the particiaption of Malaysians in the workforce.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said in a Facebook post today that a National Economic Action Council meeting had reviewed two papers — "Empowerment of Small and Medium Enterprises in Malaysia" and "Implementation of the Multi-Level Levy Mechanism (MTLM) for Foreign Labour".

Anwar said the papers were aimed at enhancing the scale and competitiveness of SMEs

He said the meeting agreed that the government should take intervention actions on the structural issues discussed.

"Regarding the implementation of MTLM, the concept was introduced in the 11th Malaysia Plan as a mechanism to improve the management and control of low-skilled foreign workers to ensure that the percentage of foreign workers does not exceed 15 per cent of the total workforce.

"In this effort, the government in the 2024 Budget targeted the implementation of MTLM to be completed by the end of this year," he said in a Facebook post today.

He said the meeting had outlined the characteristics and outlooks of the economic sectors involved.

"Relevant ministries also need to engage with industry representatives and identify policy improvements related to the management of foreign workers and programmes to enhance local workforce participation."