KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA: A new four-star hotel in the city centre, which begins operations next month, runs the risk of not being rated by the Tourism Ministry as it has not adhered to the ruling on the hiring of foreign workers.
Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor found that the hotel employed foreigners in frontline positions, such as waiters.
Tengku Adnan was at the hotel in Bukit Bintang yesterday for the launch of a book entitled Layang-Layang: Diving Malaysia's Last Frontier by Dr Kurt Svrcula.
The hotel operator admitted to hiring the foreigners as waiters and waitresses due to the difficulty it faced in getting locals to do the job.
The operator told Tengku Adnan that locals, however, took up all the important positions in the hotel.
But the minister said there was already a policy in place since the end of last year.
"We do not allow hotels to employ foreigners as frontliners for the simple fact that we want locals to be employed as many of them are jobless.
"Why don't you employ people from Sabah and Sarawak to work then? I don't mind if you employ the foreign workers as janitors in your hotel but not as waiters."
The hotel operator said the people from Sabah and Sarawak on its payroll did not stay on longer than three days.
Tengku Adnan stressed that the ruling applied to all hotels in the country and failure to meet it would result in the hotels not getting any ratings from Tourism Malaysia.
It was earlier reported that the government had banned the hiring of foreign workers in frontline positions, including hotels and airports.
The government had advised these industries to employ locals and pay them better salaries, including benefits such as medical coverage, as well as Employees Provident Fund and Socso contributions