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ENGAGEMENT SESSION WITH THE HR MINISTER

Kuala Lumpur – The Human Resources Minister Datuk M.Saravanan has taken heed seriously on the grievances expressed by the services industry on the acute shortage of foreign workers in the industry that is being severely impacted after the movement control order imposed during Covid-19 since last year.

Earlier yesterday, an engagement session with the Minister was held ,led by the delegation from KLSICCI . Others who also joined the delegation were Industries Unite , PRIMAS and various trade associations representing the F&B , retail, textiles, goldsmith, metal traders as well as hairdressing sectors.

KLSICCI President Dato R. Ramanathan , in his opening welcoming address highlighted to the Minister on the actual situation on the ground that are being faced by the services industry in Malaysia. He pointed out that the industry is ever willingly opening its doors to the local Malaysians to be employed, however the responses were not overwhelming and even those hired are not satisfactorily performing their duties thus affecting the productivity of the businesses.

He also added that the services industry should have been included in the Foreign Workers Recalibration Program which the Government introduced from November 2020 to 30th June 2021. However, he pleaded on behalf of the industry to the Minister to convince the Cabinet and the Prime Minister to ensure the services sector is included as soonest as possible as many businesses are in the verge of closing down due to lack of manpower.

The Minister acceded to the grievances and informed that the Human Resources Ministry has proposed recently to the Home Minister Dato’ Seri Hamzah Zainuddin to include the services sector in the Foreign Workers Recalibration Program. He added that a paper will be presented to the cabinet with regards to this issue immediately. He also advised KLSICCI to coordinate with the Industry and organize similar engagement meetings with the Minister of MITI and other relevant Ministers to convince the respective Ministers to also support the immediate inclusion of services industry in the Foreign Workers Recalibration Program.

Industries Unite which is a coalition of more than 110 Trade Associations and Chamber of Commerces was represented by Datuk Irwin Cheong (Lead Coordinator) & Dato’ David Gurupatham ( Group Legal Advisor) whom also highlighted several key issues that have severely impacted the industries and appealed to the Minister to look into facilitating the businesses during these trying times.

PRIMAS or better known as Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association which represents over 5000 Indian restaurants in the country have also informed the Minister that since Covid-19, at least 10% of the restaurants have closed down mostly due to lack of manpower. It is clearly known that all F&B sectors in Malaysia employs almost 90% foreigners as waiters, cook and cleaners. Its President Mr.Suresh Govindasamy said that “If the current scenario continues , it would be a disaster for the F&B industry resulting in closures of thousands of F&B outlets nationwide which will impact the F&B supply chain and subsequently the economy of the country . ”

The Malaysian Retail Association was represented by its Vice President Mr.Kamal Kamdar . He highlighted to the Minister to also consider the retail sector to be categorized as front-liners and be accorded priority in the Covid-19 vaccination program that is being implemented currently.

The Honorary Secretary General of MAICCI , Datuk AT.Kumarajah highlighted to the Minister that the Industry is willing to support the Minister in his effort to ease the issues faced amongst the businesses by coming in one voice behind the Minister.

Another major issue the Malaysian household is currently facing is the acute shortage of domestic helper/maid. Puan Siti Zarina who represents PUSMA( Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Sumber Manusia Malaysia) highlighted to the Minister on the seriousness of this issue and requested the Minister to allow special permission for all eligible Malaysian employers to hire maid from the source countries allowed by the Immigration Department.

The Minister addressed calmly all the grievances expressed by the Industry during the meeting and assured that he will firmly and strongly bring this matter up to the Cabinet and Prime Minister to ensure the services industry is well cushioned and safeguarded from further losses and impact of Covid-19.-Reported by KLSICCI@News

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