PETALING JAYA: Industry players have urged the Pakatan Harapan government to meet all stakeholders to come up with a clearer policy on the hiring of foreign workers. A few trade associations contacted by China Press for their response to the government decision to stop the foreign workers rehiring programme on June 30 said the new government should take a serious view of the issue of illegal foreign workers and to get to the root of the problem. They believed that the most practical thing to do is to call up all stakeholders to find out the problems they face in hiring foreign workers before devising an all-encompassing policy on the employment of foreign workers, the daily reported today. "We have had too many illegal worker whitening programmes, all which saw lukewarm responses. This is why we are unable to resolve the problem of illegal workers." Representatives of the trade associations concurred that the government must come down hard on illegal foreign workers as they are causing many problems including social and hygiene security issues. They also lamented the problem of legal foreign workers abusing their work permits by starting their own businesses to compete with locals. "While the authorities have to be strict with their enforcement regarding foreign workers, they must not neglect the various sectors' needs for foreign workers," they said. Take the case of petty traders in Kuala Lumpur, the city hall stipulates that hawkers and petty traders, including those at morning and night markers, are not allowed to hire foreign workers. But because of the shortage of locals willing to take up such jobs, the operators are forced to hire illegal foreign workers as helpers. "These operators are in constant fear of action by city hall's enforcement officers. It is hoped that the new government would come up with a clear policy on the hiring of foreign workers," said Kuala Lumpur Hawkers and Petty Traders Association president Datuk Ang Say Tee.