The Special Cabinet Committee on Foreign Workers and Illegal Immigrants (JKKA-PATI) has decided to ban fast-food restaurants from hiring non-Malaysian employees.

Around one in every six workers from Malaysia are from poorer countries such as the Philippines and Nepal. They often run local restaurants, or are used as manual labor in construction projects.

The JKKA-PATI secretariat, in a statement issued after a meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, said the decision was made to give priority to local residents for such jobs.

“The government views the matter seriously and fast-food concept restaurant operators have been urged to employ locals who are still interested in working at such places,” it said.

Restaurants and international fast food chains, such as KFC, are among the most desirable employers in Malaysia for uneducated workers. The government decided on the new regulation while considering the attraction of young people to the sector.

“Fast food restaurants are still popular as a source of employment among young people such as school-leavers and university students to obtain exposure and income, even as part-timers in the food industry,” said the JKKA-PATI secretariat.

About Kate Wong

Kate previously worked in asset management for a major bank headquartered in Beijing and now manages her own venture capital fund. She also works as a freelance consultant to start-up companies in mainland China and Hong Kong.
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