The increase in the levy of foreign workers is expected to have a detrimental effect on Indian Muslim ‘mamak’ eateries in the country, said Hj Mohamed Burhan bin Mohd Alahudin, President of Perak Indian Muslims Chamber of Commerce (DPIM) during a press conference on Friday, February 19 held at the DPIM Office, Ipoh.
According to Burhan, the timing of the increase could not have come at a worse time due to the weak economical climate and deteriorating ringgit. The increase in levy up to RM2500 has burdened many employers by causing financial problems for those who hire foreign labour. He acknowledged that the current cost is even higher than hiring local workers.
Besides the issue of the increased levy, Burhan also spoke of the renewed food and beverage pricing at mamak restaurants. According to him, prices have been raised due to the increased price of many basic raw supplies utilised by mamak stalls such as dhal (lentils) and so on.
“The additional price is not imposed by us but due to the imposed GST (Goods and Services Tax). Our prices are raised because the raw material prices have increased as well. Hence, we cannot reduce the prices as the said materials are expensive. We are also the victims here because, unlike what people assume, we are end consumers too,” said Burhan.
Regarding the issue of the recruitment of 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers, Burhan urged the government to reconsider their decision to increase intake of foreign workers.
“Instead of bringing in 1.5 million new Bangladeshi workers, it is more fitting for the government to legalise the current illegal foreign workers, estimated to be as many as four million in Malaysia.”