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Something stinks in Putrajaya

 | February 18, 2016

Contrary to what our ministers say, our local youth are willing to work dirty, dangerous and difficult jobs.



A few months ago during my backpacking trip around the peninsula, I met a young man working at a small nasi kandar stall in Ipoh. Through our conversation, I learnt he was a graduate from UPM who decided to return home and start his own business after failing to secure employment in the city.

Not too long before that, during a weekend holiday in Port Dickson, I met another young chap – also a graduate, working as a petrol pump attendant. According to him, it was only temporary until a “proper job” came along.

A friend of mine, a graduate from UTAR, is waiting tables at a pub and giving tuition during the day and a political science graduate I know, is in the same boat, juggling small jobs while sending out resumes by the dozens to prospective employers.

My cousin, who’s in his early 20’s worked at a mamak restaurant in Penang and later left to work at the City Council of Penang (MPPP), sweeping the streets of George Town and riding at the back of garbage trucks.

These are but a few examples of young people who are working in jobs our ministers call 3D – dirty, dangerous and difficult.

The truth is, there are people out there who are willing to take up these dirty, dangerous and difficult jobs when there are no other means of survival – but if the vacancies are filled by foreign workers, what other choice will these young men have?

Today not only 3D jobs but almost all other jobs in various sectors are snapped-up by foreign workers.

The juice bar I visited this morning was managed by a foreigner. The cashier at a Japanese restaurant I dined at last night was a foreigner. The supervisor at a gym I was checking out yesterday was a foreigner. Likewise, many hypermarkets, supermarkets, stores, boutiques, restaurants, hawker stalls and hotels hire foreign workers.

Putrajaya has been justifying the need to bring in foreign labour by drumming it into our heads that local youth are refusing to take up jobs considered dirty, dangerous and difficult.

However I have noticed many employers offer foreign workers not only 3D jobs but positions such as assistant managers, supervisors, cashiers and receptionists. Are these jobs considered dirty, dangerous and difficult?

I have nothing against foreign workers for they are merely looking for employment as a means of survival just as our young graduates are. The foreign workers in our country are no different from our own citizens who flood other countries in search of employment. But this raises yet another question – if ministers say our people reject dirty, dangerous and difficult jobs in our country, why then are they willingly taking up similar jobs in a foreign land?

Something definitely stinks.

Today, we have ministers who instead of making our welfare their priority, are challenging our university graduates to take up dirty jobs scrubbing toilets while they sit in their air-conditioned office suites in Putrajaya with their SRP and SPM certificates hidden inside their drawers. Is this how our so called leaders appreciate and optimise our country’s human capital?

To Zahid, Khairy and Azalina who are backing each another in the challenge to our youth to take up dirty, dangerous and difficult jobs, I challenge you to find a way to solve our employment issues instead. In case you’ve forgotten, that is your job – or is it too DIFFICULT for you to get it done?


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