The campaign to recruit locals as waiters, cooks and cashiers in nasi kandar and Indian restaurants is heading nowhere.
For 45,000 such vacancies in 2,000 nasi kandar and 1,100 Indian restaurants throughout the country, there were only 80 job enquiries at the nasi kandar outlets and just 10 phone calls for those available at the Indian establishments.
Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners' Association (Presma) president Noorul Hassan Saul Hameed said the poor response was because there were many options available for local job seekers in other sectors.
"We will work closely with the Labour Department and NGOs to help fill the vacancies," Noorul Hassan said in an interview yesterday.
On Feb 10, Presma announced that nasi kandar restaurant operators would offer attractive salary schemes to lure more locals to join the industry. Nasi kandar outlets had 25,000 job vacancies nationwide.
Noorul Hassan had said that the monthly salary for a shop assistant was between RM800 (S$331) and RM1,300, while a cashier could get between RM1,000 and RM1,300. Supervisors and cooks would be paid between RM1,500 and RM2,500.
He said the workers would get, among other perks, a day off each week, be entitled to Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) and Socso contributions, as well as free accommodation and meals three times a day.
Noorul Hassan said yesterday that he preferred locals, as it was a hassle to hire foreign workers due to the procedures involved.
"I do not mind paying locals a little extra so long as they work hard and remain loyal to me," he added.
He said Presma had advised its members to repatriate all illegal immigrants if they had hired them, adding that the association was supportive of the Government's recent clampdown on illegals.
Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners' Association assistant secretary J. Suresh said he was puzzled by the response shown by some of the job seekers.
Of the 10 phone calls received, he said most did not make follow-up calls.
"It is definitely not about the salary as we usually discuss that only during our second telephone conversation.
"They are quite fickle-minded and are not serious in wanting to work in our restaurants," Suresh said, adding that there were about 20,000 job vacancies in Indian restaurants nationwide.
He said the association was working closely with the Implementation and Coordination Unit (ICU) of the Prime Minister's Department to help recruit Mara students on a part-time and full-time basis.