Tyre dealers want to be allowed to hire foreign workers as young Malaysians don’t want to do “dirty work”

Tyre dealers want to be allowed to hire foreign workers as young Malaysians don’t want to do “dirty work”

In the automotive realm, workshop mechanics and technicians provide a vital service to vehicle owners, but the associated toil of the industry and easier pickings elsewhere means that fewer folk are wanting to take up the vocation these days.

One such segment facing a shortage of workers is the tyre retail industry, specifically tyre technicians, who are responsible for assessing tyre conditions and repairing, replacing and maintaining tyres on various types of vehicles. The situation has become so dire that tyre dealers are asking the government to allow them to hire foreign technicians because they aren’t getting enough locals to do the job, as The Star reports.

According to Malaysian Association of Tyre Retreaders and Dealers Society president Goh Kiang Weng, many tyre dealerships and workshop operators are facing an uphill battle to hire “new blood” for the job, which is generally seen as dirty.

He said there is a serious shortage of workshop technicians in the country, especially in Johor Baru due to its close proximity to Singapore, which is luring many away due to the strength of its currency. “The industry is facing a big gap where existing technicians are getting older and retiring, yet there is a lack of replacement from the next generation,” he told the news publication.

Tyre dealers want to be allowed to hire foreign workers as young Malaysians don’t want to do “dirty work”

Goh said that while the industry has seen a gradual drop in the number of people working at workshops in the past decade, the situation has gotten worse in recent years. He said that as such, hiring foreign help would be the solution.

“However, the government does not allow us to do so because it says that there are sufficient Malaysian skills certificate (SKM) holders in the country who can be hired for the job. As industry players, we are seeing a different story as young SKM holders prefer to work as ride-hailing drivers, food delivery riders and chain food/beverage outlets compared to working in the automotive repair industry, which gets their hands dirty,” he said.

Goh said the association had raised the matter with government representatives in the past, and was once again appealing to authorities to allow it to hire foreign help to fill up the vacancies. “In the age of digitalisation and business model shifts, we have to tackle the issue seriously or risk the industry’s elimination and dealerships being forced to close,” he explained.

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