GEORGE TOWN: Allowing foreign experts in the gold and jewellery trade to be hired by Malaysian industry players will enable locals to learn the skill.
Jeweller Mubarak Ali Mustafa, 60, said his company can now rope in more goldsmiths from India to also train the local staff in goldsmithing and sales.
Mubarak, who currently has 15 experienced goldsmiths, seven of them from India, said industry players have been eagerly waiting to hire foreign experts, and the partial approval announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is indeed timely.
“This is something that we have been hoping for as it will allow us to employ foreign workers to help in the daily operations,” he said when met at his jewellery store in Little India here yesterday.
He said allowing foreign goldsmiths to practise here will facilitate the transfer of skills and techniques to locals.
“I hope the application process to hire the foreign workers will be expedited by the Federal Government,’’ said Mubarak.
Indian national Ahmed Bayas Samsudeen, 27, who has been working as a jewellery sales adviser in Penang for the past six years, said he is grateful that the Federal Government agreed to give partial approval for foreign workers to be employed in Malaysia.
He said prior to coming to Penang to work, he had been a jeweller in his hometown in India and had learnt the trade since he was a teenager.
“I hope I can continue working in Penang for several more years,” he said.
Another foreign worker, also from India, Abdul Salam Seeni Mohamed, 29, said he had faced no issues since he started working in Little India for the past nine years.
“Working here has been a good experience for me, and I have learnt a lot of things,” said Abdul Salam, adding that he had trained as an apprentice under goldsmiths in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, before coming to Penang.
Another local goldsmith, Muhammad Razique Ramzan Ali, 29, said highly skilled labour from India will assist the local industry in producing quality jewellery.
He concurred with Mubarak that hiring foreign experts is crucial for locals to be exposed to the skills required to become a jeweller or goldsmith.
“Most of our local staff do not have skills equivalent to those of their Indian counterparts.
“Foreign workers from India will help us with our daily operations as well as train local talents in the goldsmithing and jewellery-making industries,” he said.
Muhammad Razique said all the workers in his jewellery store are locals, but he will seriously consider hiring foreigners if there is a need to do so.
He said that at present he outsources the designs and technical work in jewellery-making to other companies, but with the availability of foreign skills, outsourcing costs will be reduced.