Office of Labour Affairs and Embassy of Thailand in Malaysia visited Thai workers in Sabah.


            On 18-19 February 2010, H.E. Mr. Thana Duangratana, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Royal Thai Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and representatives from Trade Promotion Offices in foreign countries and Office of Labour Affairs in Malaysia (Miss Prangmas Wichiensin, Labour Counsellor), altogether travelled to Sabah state in Malaysia and got a chance to pay a courtesy call on Mr.Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman, Sabah Chief Minister. Moreover, the crucial aim of visiting Sabah is to discuss with government agencies, Mr.Datuk Seri Panglima Wong Khen Thau (Chamber of Commerce President) and the private sector in terms of promoting friendship and cooperating between Thailand and Sabah state in agriculture, trade and investment. Additionally, there was a presentation in the topic of Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) as well as discussion of the appointment of Honorary Consul Sabah state.  The office of Labour Affairs, Malaysia gave an opinion that it will be useful because the Sabah is far from Kuala Lumpur and will take more than 2 hours travelling by plane, especially passport is needed.
            Office of Labour Affairs Malaysia led the group to visit Thai massage workers at “Thai Odyssey” shop, Branch D-Junction, in Kota Kinabalu city, Sabah state, receiving affectionate greeting from Ms. Jenny who is the branch Manager in Sabah. The Ambassador talked to 8 Thai workers who worked in the shop and found that everyone has a valid work permit. The workers generally receive at least 18,000 baht per month and the company always arranges accommodation and shuttle. In addition to the survey, the majority workers have satisfactorily been working for 2-4 years and able to send the money back home every month. The Thai Odyssey shop, has 24 branches nationwide, 2 branches in Sabah, and employs Thai massage workers more than 280 people, in total.
            Sabah is located on the Borneo Island which can individually set up its own foreign workers policy being independent from the mainland. There is the policy which allows employing skill-added foreign labours in the needed area during the period of 3 years. This is because it will result in knowledge and technology transfers. Furthermore, the employment of the lower labours is separately determined by the individual businesses. Most businesses normally hire local workers, especially labours from Indonesia and the Philippines who are employed to work in agricultural industry since these two countries are neighbouring countries, making it easier for the labour to migrate for work. Currently, there are 21 Thai people working as the agriculture experts in shrimp farms with CP (Malaysia), 30 Thai massage staffs, and about 150 construction workers.