I REFER to the letter “It’s time to act on illegal workers” (The Star, Jan 4). While the letter makes some valid observations, I cannot agree that the reason for so many foreign workers is that they are cheap and abundant.
I used to think that too, but upon closer observation I noticed that foreign workers like to work, and so they are more productive and truly answer the need of their employer. Of course, money is a crucial consideration, but an employer who employs a cheap worker who can’t do the job will soon go out of business.
Foreign workers have the right work attitude, and that is the main reason why employers like them.
These workers are focused and ready to fulfil the terms of their employment.
They know they will work a few years, save some money for themselves and send some money home. And when their contract is over, they will return home and maybe start their own business.
Many popular treats such as roti canai, murtabak, chicken rice and ayam tandoori which are by right local property are now cooked in countless mamak stalls and restaurants by foreigners who, in spite of their supposedly low pay, never miss a beat and still manage to serve their customers with a smile.
Locals must change their attitude, and get some real education too. If you ask the local hawkers or restaurant owners what they want for their children, they will answer that they want their children to have a better life than themselves, which means that they want them to study and never become a hawker or work in a similar labour intensive profession.
So, if the parents themselves do not like what they do, how can they expect their children to carry on with the tradition?
What if the hawker has a son who would like to do the same kind of work as his father but is constantly told that the work schedule is back breaking, it doesn’t pay well, and people will look down on you because you are just a food seller by the roadside?
Due to outside pressure, the child will soon deny his vocation and proceed to university, at great cost to his parents and society. He will then become a depressed and problematic office worker who, although entitled to a steady pay check, will be unhappy and uninspired.
If Malaysians want to do away with foreign workers, they must learn to appreciate work and respect the vocation of those who prefer to labour with their hands as opposed to working with their mind.
Money is everything, but money without happiness makes everything else meaningless.