KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysia Budget Hotel Association (MyBHA) has criticised the attitude of Malaysian workers, saying that’s why its members prefer to hire foreigners.
In an interview with FMT, MyBHA president PK Leong alleged that Malaysian workers generally had a poor sense of responsibility, unlike their foreign counterparts.
He also criticised jobless graduates who refuse to work in budget hotels because they see such employment as unglamorous.
“We have a lot of jobless graduates, but many don’t want to work in budget hotels because of the perception that budget hotels are vice dens and because they are unwilling to work on shifts and on weekends and public holidays.”
He said many budget hotels today, unlike those of the past, offered clean rooms and were attractive to a diverse clientele of local and foreign business and leisure travellers.
Explaining the industry’s reluctance to employ Malaysians, he alleged that many local workers had a lackadaisical attitude to work, turning up for their duties only whenever they liked.
He said a typical budget hotel operated with a minimal staff size and would therefore need dependable workers.
“So we are forced to hire foreign workers because they are the only ones willing to work and are dependable,” he said. “When we do this, the government says we must prioritise locals and not think of cheap labour.”
According to Leong, however, it is more expensive nowadays to hire foreigners because employers have to pay employment agency fees and regulatory fees and fork out more money than before for their foreign worker’s public hospital bills, which are no longer subsidised by the government.
“The government must look into our education system and see why many locals are unemployed and why many businesses prefer to hire foreigners,” he said. “Is it their attitude or does their education not ensure employability? Do their attitudes fit the demands of the real world?
“In our education system, do we really build character and a sense of responsibility? Our locals must understand that the real world isn’t like college or university, where they can attend lectures as and when they want to.”
Leong also said locals shouldn’t look down on the prospects of working in budget hotels as the jobs could be stepping stones to employment in bigger hotels and even entrepreneurship.
He said budget hotels provided workers with basic training and, by virtue of their small size, allowed employees to easily engage in conversation with guests.
“So you can really build relationships with a variety of people from all walks of life, and learn to better interact with guests.”
He also said he considered the average salary for budget hotel employees to be decent.
“A front office worker with no experience can earn RM1,500 a month before confirmation. After confirmation, they can earn RM1,800. Managers can easily earn above RM2,000.
“These are good, decent jobs with a decent pay, and it beats being unemployed.” -FMT