PETALING JAYA,Nov 17: Two restaurant associations have called for the government to extend the Illegal Immigrant Recalibration Plan to the food and beverage sector.

“We appeal to the government to include the service industry, especially our F&B sector, in the recalibration plan as it forms a major part of the service industry,” said Malaysia Singapore Coffee Shop Proprietors’ General Association president Ho Su Mong.

“Our businesses have been badly hit by Covid-19, and if we are not included in the recalibration plan, our industry will be further burdened and left behind – and it will be difficult for us to revive our businesses and survive this pandemic,” he added.

Ho noted that most of the establishments in the F&B sector have seen revenue drop by more than 80% during the pandemic, and he hoped the sector’s inclusion in the recalibration plan would help reduce overhead costs like rental, loan repayments and licensing fees.

The home ministry last week announced it would run the Illegal Immigrant Recalibration Plan from Nov 16 to June 30 next year.

Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin said that for the time being, only employers operating in four dangerous, difficult and dirty (3D) sectors will be included in the scheme. The sectors are construction, manufacturing, plantations and agriculture.

“We would like the ministry to include our sector as soon as possible,” said Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association president T Muthusamy.

“Since we are unable to get new approvals, it’s better that we make use of the illegals already here,” he said, referring to the government’s freeze on new foreign labour recruitment.

Muthusamy said he hoped to see as few conditions imposed on the potential workers as possible, stressing that the programme would only enjoy success if it had a “simple and transparent” registration process.

Stating that he appreciates the home ministry’s decision not to use third parties to regularise workers, he also said the recalibration programme will see greater accountability in foreign worker management.

“You will have the numbers (of foreign workers) in one year, and the accountability is already there,” he said.

“So many years have gone by without any accountability. Now we will be able to find out how many workers are working in each sector, and which sector needs more or less workers.”


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