The current market downturn wreaked by the coronavirus pandemic has affected oil companies with operations in Malaysia as well as local contractors, with job losses and salary cuts increasingly becoming the norm for many companies.

Players are now faced with another challenge in the form of recently introduced government regulations that make it more difficult for them to hire expatriate workers.

While the policy is intended to secure more jobs for locals, it will make multinational companies flee Malaysia and actually increase unemployment, according to the Kuala Lumpur-based economics think tank Center for Market Education (CME).