Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Shortage of locals forcing Hospitality Industry to hire Foreigners

The acute shortage of locals as frontliners in the hospitality and service industry has forced employers to hire foreigners for the job, but this does not reflect the Malaysian identity.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor attributed the shortage to locals considering that jobs such as waiters, waitresses and receptionists as low-paying jobs.

He said that industry players’ use of foreign workers as frontliners did not reflect the Malaysian identity.

“It is sad to say that the industry is highly dependent on foreign workers as front liners,” he told reporters after opening the two-day Asia Human Resource Development (HRD) congress here on Tuesday.

“We (the Government) are now looking for ways to ensure that the industry can stop depending on foreign workers as front liners.”

He said the ministry would get feedback from several government agencies, including the Human Resources Ministry and the Education Ministry, on how to train locals for such jobs at vocational and technical schools.

Tengku Adnan said the country was churning local graduates but it did not mean that they would be assured of jobs upon graduation.

He said that graduates should not just choose to become first-line managers upon graduating but be willing to be promoted through the rank and file.

“They shouldn’t be embarrassed to choose such jobs. They are noble professions. Even I started off as a cleaner. I was cleaning the toilet."

He said there was also a shortage of janitors, plumbers, electricians and mechanics.

“These days it is a headache to get janitors, plumbers, electricians and mechanics to repair things at hotels and restaurants. That is the problem we are facing.”

He said the problem needed to be solved so that the industry’s human resources development would be strengthened and be on par with that of Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines.

On whether the Visit Malaysia Year 2007 campaign would be affected if an early general elections were held, he said : “It will not affect the Visit Malaysia Year. Whatever happens, we are confident that we will achieve our target of RM44.5bil receipts and 20.1 million tourist arrivals.”

He said last year the country achieved close to RM37bil in tourism receipts, which surpassed its target of RM33bil because of increase of day trips by tourists from Singapore and Thailand.

Source : STAR
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