Thursday, January 17, 2008


Sabah hoteliers to discuss ban on foreign frontline staff

The ban on foreign hotel workers in frontline positions will be among the main matters to be discussed when the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) Sabah and FT Labuan chapter holds its monthly meeting next week. Chapter president Alex Cham said he is currently not in the position to comment on the issue as he will first have to get feedback from member hotels at the meeting on Jan 25. “For now I cannot say anything, but I can confirm that this issue will be one of our main subjects at the meeting,” said Cham, who is the General Manager of Promenade Hotel. On Tuesday, Ministry of Tourism Secretary General Victor Wee said the directive, which covers positions that involve direct contact with customers, will bring hotels in line with airports around the country in a bid to reduce migrant labour. “We want more Malaysians working as frontliners in hotels instead of foreigners. There are many Malaysians unemployed and employers should be prepared to pay more... we would like to implement policies to the benefit of Malaysians,” he said in an interview with AFP. Last week, the Federal Government said it would ban foreigners from working as porters, baggage handlers and even toilet cleaners at all airports in a bid to reduce the rate of migrant labour nationwide. Wee noted however that exceptions would be made for positions such as receptionists, where foreign language skills are required. He added that the ban would not damage hoteliers, who are being consulted over the timing of the imposition of the ban. MAH executive director Sarjit Singh meanwhile said that the ban would have a negative effect on the hotel industry, which is facing a general labour shortage. “Hotels here have never tried to depend on foreign labour but Malaysian youths are very choosy and do not like to work in hotels, probably because of the odd hours,” he said.