Hotels considering hiring ex-convicts to tackle manpower shortage, says association

·2-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 4 — Malaysian Association of Hotel Owners (Maho) said local hoteliers are mulling hiring those formerly incarcerated to address worker shortage.

Besides former prisoners, hotels are also considering hiring those on parole, Orang Asli, and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees cardholders to fill vacancies, especially in restaurant and housekeeping sections, Maho executive director Shaharuddin M. Saaid told Malay daily Kosmo.

"The young are not interested in working in the hotel sector. The proof is in the lack of traction during career carnivals we were involved in or job advertisements,” he was quoted as saying.

The job vacancies could also be filled by Orang Asli as there are already programmes involving them in hotels, he said.

Shaharuddin said the initiative is still at the discussion stage with Tourism Malaysia, industry players and the Human Resources Ministry.

"Even if we successfully collect the numbers, if there is no agreement among hotel owners, the action cannot be taken and it’s back to the drawing board for another alternative.

"On our side, we guarantee that there will be no discrimination or double-standard treatment towards those hired as that will be done according to the Employment Act 1955,” he told Kosmo.

The industry is currently looking to fill some 30,000 positions domestically, after Putrajaya reopened Malaysia's borders on April 1.

In May, hoteliers urged the government to step in to resolve recruiting difficulties caused by migration of workers to other industries due to retrenchment or pay cuts at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Malaysian Association of Hotels president Datuk N. Subramaniam attributed part of the manpower shortage to hotels being unable to offer high wages until they have recovered, addressing a plea to the government to jump in with aid.

He added that the hotel industry should gradually recover from the long hiatus imposed by the pandemic, but that it would take more than a year to return to pre-pandemic levels.