Labour woes in furniture industry to be resolved soon

PUTRAJAYA: There will be a “practical solution” to overcome the shortage of workers in the furniture-making industry.

Giving the assurance was Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, who said he had raised the matter with Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He expected some positive news soon, adding that representatives of the Muar Furniture Association and eight other organisations had met him to air their concerns about the labour shortage.

“They are appealing to the Government to ensure that the supply of fresh Bangladeshi workers is not disrupted.

“Hopefully, this will be resolved soon so that our exports are not affected.

“The DPM will study the matter and come up with a proposal on how to resolve it for the long-term,” the minister said at his office yesterday.

Dr Wee said it was more practical to recruit workers from Bangladesh due to “suitability and availability.”

“Other countries like Nepal cannot meet the industry demands.

“In the furniture-making industry, you cannot use 30 people to do a job meant for 100. Based on feedback, Bangladeshi workers are doing a good job,” he added.

Dr Wee also said industry players had spoken about the shortage of rubberwood, which is affecting production.

“They have petitioned the Government. Malaysia is one of the top 10 exporters of furniture, but if these shortages are not addressed, other countries like Vietnam can overtake us,” he added.