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Thursday, March 31, 2022

Indian restaurants lack manpower to return to 24-hour ops


Restaurants will soon be allowed to open round the clock but many will be unable to do so because they do not have enough workers. (Pixabay pic)

PETALING JAYA: The removal of restrictions on business operating hours should give restaurant owners reason to smile, but many say they will not be able to take advantage of the relaxed Covid-19 rules due to a shortage of workers.

The new rules allow eateries to open 24 hours for the first time in more than two years.

Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association (Primas) president J Suresh said Primas members had been looking forward to this, but it might not be possible to take advantage of it because of a lack of workers.

He told FMT most Primas members were operating with only 30% of what used to be a regular workforce.

“Our members can only operate from 7am to 10pm with the limited workforce,” he said.

“They have submitted applications for the recruitment of foreign workers but the applications are still pending.

“We have also submitted a memorandum on the issues we face to the human resource ministry and the Prime Minister’s Department. The ball is in the government’s court.”

Other industries, such as those in the manufacturing and plantation sectors, have also complained that a lack of foreign workers was affecting their operations.

Suresh urged the government to give an exemption on the foreign workers’ levy until restaurants were able to recover from the pandemic.

“It would take several years for restaurants to see profits as they have had to bear the loans, rent, salaries and other expenses for the past two years,” he said.\

Devi’s Corner Bangsar director Dev Ananth shared similar concerns.

“Given that there is a shortage of staff, it is still going to be difficult for us to operate 24 hours,” he said.

“The best we can do is to use the resources we have and see how we can optimise our operations.”

However, Ananth said, he was grateful that the government was moving in the “right direction”. - FMT

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