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Tuesday August 20, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Tuesday August 20, 2013 MYT 7:29:44 AM
by martin carvalho
PETALING JAYA: The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) is not in favour of hiring foreigners to overcome the shortage of bus drivers.
According to the SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar, the commission was of the opinion that Malaysians should man the buses.
“That means employers (bus companies) must make the job of driving a bus more attractive and conducive for them (local bus drivers),” he said after witnessing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between DMS Dynamic (M) Sdn Bhd and Chery Automobiles for the 1Malaysia New Schoolbus Project here yesterday.
Syed Hamid said that the SPAD felt that there was already an over-reliance on foreign labour in many sectors here and opening up bus driving to foreign labour could lead to social problems in the long term.
The better option, he added, was for those in the industry to consider offering better incentives to attract more locals.
He cited Singapore as an example where better salaries have attracted Chinese nationals and Malaysians to be bus drivers there.
He also suggested that bus companies hire ex-servicemen as drivers.
Syed Hamid added that the hiring of foreigners as bus drivers was a policy issue for the Government to decide, with the SPAD merely providing feedback if it was requested to do so.
There is an acute shortage of bus drivers that had now affected several bus companies in the city, including in several states, owing to negative impressions of the profession and the low wages.
Peninsular Malaysia Bus Drivers Association’s chairman Sa’adan Man had appealed to the Federal Government to increase the monthly minimum wages for the 30,000-odd bus drivers nationwide from the present RM400 to RM1,200, not inclusive of allowances and overtime.
The proposal followed calls by Konsortium Transnasional Berhad and Prasarana’s RapidBus to SPAD to consider allowing foreigners to be hired as bus drivers as a “last option” if the issue cannot be resolved.
Drivers employed by companies operating city routes are paid between RM2,500 and RM3,000 while inter-state drivers are paid on a per trip basis.
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