Rename garbage collectors to “hygiene attendants” to remove stigma, says PBK president

Voon Lee Shan

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KUCHING, March 30: Unglamorous jobs perceived to be dirty, dangerous and difficult (3D) like garbage collectors should be rebranded as “hygiene attendants” and gardeners as “landscape artists” to make them more appealing to locals.

Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president Voon Lee Shan, in highlighting this, noted that these menial jobs that suffer from discrimination and stigma are mostly performed by foreign workers currently as locals would generally shun such jobs considered to be unpleasant and low-paying.

But with the RM1,500 minimum wage policy set to be enforced on May 1, 2022, Voon emphasised the need to implement skilled certifications for jobs to differentiate wages between local and foreign workers based on certified skills.

“The increase in minimum wage will benefit foreign workers more as they are paid much lower than locals. In addition, billions of ringgit earned by them will be sent back to their origin countries each year that would in turn help their economies.

“Locals who are already paid more than RM1,500 per month will not receive a salary increase because employers may want to control their operating costs. They will then be demotivated to work, resulting in decreased production and eventual job loss,” he said in a statement today.

With skills certification to commensurate higher wages and rebranding these positions to remove the stigma, including a clear career progression plan such as implemented in developed countries like United Kingdom and Japan, Voon opined that locals would be drawn to take up these 3D jobs.

Additionally, he also urged the government to conduct a thorough study of the RM1,500 minimum wage’s implementation, stating that the policy could jeopardise minority rights and create tension, disharmony, and division in society.

“If businesses are unable to sustain themselves due to rising operating costs, there will be increased unemployment and bankruptcies.

“There may also be rioting, possibly looting, and an increase in crime if the situation is not brought under control,” he added, noting that everyone should take a lesson from foreign countries where looting and robberies occurred as a result of a poor economy and unemployment.

Meanwhile, Voon, a lawyer by profession, stated that those in the employment sector would be extremely satisfied with the implementation of this minimum wage policy, and that politicians who support it will find themselves popular with voters and will enjoy widespread support from workers as the 15th General Election (GE15) approaches.

“The government should bear in mind that the majority of businesses are small and medium-sized enterprises, which should be given time to recover from the economic shock caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” he added. — DayakDaily