Foreign workers at Malaysian airports, hotels to be phased out

April 8th, 2008 - 2:49 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, April 8 (IANS) Foreign employees, including many from India, will soon be replaced by locals in a phased manner from frontline jobs at airports and hotels in Malaysia to give tourists a “truly Malaysian welcome”. Hotels risk being excluded from the tourism ministry’s grading system, which ranks them according to service and quality, if they do not comply. Similarly, operators who supply contract workers to airports could be blacklisted and barred from bidding for government projects.

Malaysian Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) and their operators have been told to ensure that locals are given prominence once the existing contracts expire, The Star newspaper reported Tuesday.

Currently, the workers are mainly from India, Bangladesh and some Southeast Asian countries.

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak discussed the new ruling after chairing a meeting with the cabinet committee on tourism in January, but no specific deadline was given as to when foreign workers would be phased out.

MAHB general manager (operations) Azmi Murad said the move was aimed at reducing dependence on foreign labour.

The new directive, which will affect airports nationwide, requires all frontline employees that tourists come in contact with, for example trolley pushers, baggage handlers and cleaners, to be Malaysians.

A check at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) in Sepang showed that foreigners make up the bulk of frontliners, the newspaper said.

Three companies - Sinar Jerneh, Chah Enterprise and Rubbhasri Enterprise - have been providing foreign workers for frontline jobs since last year but Rubbhasri’s contract expired March 15.

LCCT-KLIA manager Raghbir Singh Bhall said the firms had been notified of the government’s directive.

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