Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday said that the government is eyeing to put in place a proper policy for foreign workers, as reported in Bernama.

The prime minister said that this would help address questionable manners with which they were being brought into the country.

"Actually we're studying to try and find a proper policy for foreign workers...they are many wrong things being done (with regard to their recruitment)," he said at the American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce luncheon yesterday.

Dr Mahathir cited the example of a company being given the right to bring in foreign workers without undergoing a proper tender process, and making a lot of money along the way. The prime minister was expecting a lot of visitors - "some legal, some illegal, some temporary and some permanent".

"All this will have to be looked into," he commented.

The prime minister also said Malaysia was expected to welcome a huge number of tourists, for example from China, and the matter of issuing visas to them would need to be resolved as well.

Dr Mahathir pointed out that it was not always easy to ensure that people came to Malaysia legally, with the country having five nations as close neighbours and what he described as "very porous borders".

"All these things are being studied and we would welcome any suggestion from the private sector," he said.

On another matter, Dr Mahathir said the government welcomed foreigners with certain skills such as in new technology and information technology (IT) to come and live in this country. He remarked: "If the foreigners come with certain skills that we want, we would invite them to stay in this country and even become citizens if they want to."

"We would like to have more people with the brains to come and live in Malaysia and contribute towards industrialisation programmes," he concluded.

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