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Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said local companies can emulate Nestle (Malaysia) Bhd, which has a 100 per cent Malaysian workforce, and yet, is able to produce various food and beverage products locally with 30 per cent of its products exported to over 50 countries. Pix by Intan Nur Elliana Zakaria

SHAH ALAM: Malaysian companies have been urged to hire locals in an effort to reduce the number of foreign workers.

Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said local companies can emulate Nestle (Malaysia) Bhd, which has a 100 per cent Malaysian workforce, and yet, is able to produce various food and beverage products locally with 30 per cent of its products exported to over 50 countries.

“This proves that if we follow the good and right culture like Nestle, we do not need to rely on foreign workers. If Nestle can do this, a lot of other companies in Malaysia should follow suit. I would like to see more doing so and boast a 100 per cent Malaysian workforce.

“I have also observed that many of their staff have worked here for around 20 to 30 years and this is the culture that we want. With the right culture, when the workforce has gained valuable knowledge and skills, they will stay long with the company. Nestle not only gives them the skills but the comfort of working here.

“We should not be seeing Malaysian workforce as expensive (as compared to foreign workers) and therefore think that our products cannot be competitive. Another problem is also that we only look at the margin that we can make.

“Nestle has showed us that by hiring over 5,000 Malaysians, they do not just stop at providing jobs to the locals but demonstrated that with a local workforce, they are also capable of exporting their products to more than 50 countries which are well received internationally,” said Hamzah today.

He was speaking to reporters after an official visit to the Nestle’s Shah Alam Factory Complex to mark the recent Labour Day celebrations.

Accompanied by Nestle (Malaysia) Bhd chief executive officer Alois Hofbauer and his technical and production executive director Adnan Pawanteh, Hamzah was taken on a tour of the factory’s training centre and production line.

Hofbauer said they have always put Malaysians first in their hiring process and that the company believes in investing in its people to encourage career development.

“We take the strongest Malaysian potential and develop them into a powerful workforce that is engaged, empowered and exceptionally productive. That gives us the competitive edge.

“We believe in investing and building our Malaysian talents to drive growth for our company. In 2016 alone, we have invested over RM11 million on training and development programmes for all our employees. We have also committed over 60,000 hours towards training for our world-class factory workforce,” he said.

Meanwhile, Adnan said it would be a disadvantage if one turns to foreign workers where skills are provided but only to have them return to their home countries after several years.

“When they go back, we lose skill. Over here we appreciate and value the skills of a person. When we look at a person, we do not see cost but instead the value one can bring to our company.

“Every year, we want to ensure we improve productivity and we do it by engaging their hearts and mind, not just their hands and legs. When we do that, they bring more much fantastic value not just a simple output,” said Adnan.

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