From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Amnesty for Foreign Workers Announced: The government said the amnesty will apply to tens of thousands of illegal foreign workers in its labor-starved construction and plantation industries. Human Resources Minister Lim Ah Lek said employers in the two sectors, which have been using immigrants mainly from Indonesia and the Philippines, are free to register their previously illegal workers. Lim said that as part of a new five-year policy that will be subject to annual review, the manufacturing sector will also be allowed to do selective hiring of foreign workers. The policy will apply to workers who fall into the semi-skilled, skilled technical and professional categories, the Bernama news agency reported. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed pledged to ease restrictions on foreign workers earlier this year after hearing complaints that the shortage was hurting economic growth, which reached a record 10% last year.

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