JOHOR BARU: Operators of food stalls and 24-hour Indian Muslim restaurants say they have no choice but to hire foreigners as locals are not interested to work at the eateries.
Johor Indian Muslim Entrepreneurs Association (Perusim) secretary Hussein Ibrahim said Indian Muslim restaurants in Malaysia would not be able to operate without foreign workers.
“Given a choice, we want to hire locals but they are hard to come by, ’’ he said.
Hussein said Perusim members tried to hire locals but the Malaysians preferred to work in fast food restaurants, shopping centres or hypermarkets.
He said on average, the workers at Indian Muslim restaurants earned a RM1,500 basic salary.
“This does not include overtime with accommodation and five meals provided daily.
“The money is considered good especially for those with low academic qualifications or school dropouts but locals are still not interested to work with us, ’’ said Hussein.
He said waiters, cooks, dishwashers and cashiers were the backbone of any Indian Muslim restaurant in the country.
He disclosed that a restaurant owner had to fork out between RM4,000 and RM5,000 to hire foreign workers, which included levy and air ticket.
“Our customers do not care whether our workers are locals or foreigners as long as they can enjoy their favourite teh tarik or roti canai round the clock, ’’ he said.
Perusim presently has close to 300 members, with 200 operating Indian Muslim restaurants while the rest run sundry shops, trading company and money changing businesses.
Nasi campur stall operator Rozita Ramli at the Taman Pelangi hawker centre here said she had tried to hire locals as cooks and dishwashers but stopped doing that as they caused her numerous problems.
She said some locals would come to work whenever they liked and were not dependable.
“I have a business to run and need responsible workers, ” said Rozita who has six Indonesian women working for her now.
She said each earned between RM50 and RM65 daily, working from 6am to 3pm.
“They get the day off on Sunday and public holidays.
She said although it was more expensive to hire foreign workers, she had to do so to stay in business.
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