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The grumbling of Foodpanda deliverymen

  • The government doesn't seem to know what to do with serious economic problems faced by the country as well as escalating racial and religious conflicts, and has opted to go for minor things as if they are serious issues that need to be handled right away.

By TAY TIAN YAN
Sin Chew Daily

People living in major cities of this country should be familiar with Foodpanda.

Even if they have not previously ordered food through it, at least they should have seen its deliverymen sporting pink plying on highways and city streets as they wheeze past you.

Along with the green-uniformed GrabFood delivery team, they have become a ubiquitous sight in Malaysia's major cities and towns.

Foodpanda riders have the most complaints! Their company has set a new rule that will take away their fixed RM4 hourly allowances but offer extra RM1.50 to RM2 per order (from RM3.50-RM5.00 per order to RM5.00-RM7.00 depending on delivery area) on top of new incentives.

The delivery team is not happy with the new ruling, and about 200 of the riders are currently staging a strike outside the company's office.

Well, as outsiders, it is difficult for us to judge who is right and who is wrong.

From the company's perspective, the new solution will help cut cost and boost efficiency, but from the riders' perspective, without the fixed hourly pay, they will not get anything if they have nothing to deliver for that day.

Under the principle of free market operation, the most ideal way is to get both sides to sit down and talk in order to come up with a solution acceptable to all.

Such a problem exists almost on a daily basis in our labor market, and often no government intervention is needed.

The weird thing is, the government has decided to put a hand into this thing. Youth and sports minister Syed Saddiq has met the Foodpanda representatives, and has taken this case to the cabinet meeting.

What is even more astonishing is that the cabinet has mobilized three ministries -- human resources ministry, youth and sports ministry and the domestic trade and consumer affairs ministry, to set up a special joint committee to handle this matter.

Prior to this, the government has asked Foodpanda to cancel the new measure.

I have two questions here.

Firstly, is the government too free now that it needs to make a big fuss over this seemingly minor thing instead of attending to more urgent issues plaguing this country?

Secondly, Employer-employee relationship is very much part and parcel of free market economics. If your offer is attractive, you will get the top brains to work for you, but if your offer is crappy, not even foreign workers would want to work for you. While a company's hiring policy is very much based on costing and efficiency, the employees are only concerned about remunerations and perks.

Both sides will work together nicely if their relationship is good; otherwise, that's the end of the story. Does the government need to worry so much about it in the first place?

Over-protection of employees will impact a company's dynamism, and over-protection of employers will hurt the workers' interests. Why not let the market mechanism take over instead of interfering?

There are way too many things that warrant the government's attention. The government doesn't seem to know what to do with serious economic problems faced by the country as well as escalating racial and religious conflicts, and has opted to go for minor things as if they are serious issues that need to be handled right away.

Sure enough majority of Foodpanda's riders are Malays whom the PH government is fighting tooth and nail to win their hearts, and votes. But to be honest, this emerging food delivery business alone is not going to fundamentally resolve the problem of youth unemployment among the Malays.

There are much bigger things awaiting the government, including reviving our listless economy, wooing foreign investments, improving the country's competitiveness, exploring new development areas and restoring the fading public confidence.

Members of the cabinet need to put in more time and effort to dissolve inter-communal confrontation and endless religious issues which are time bombs ready to go off any time in our society.

As for the deliverymen, Foodpanda or GrabFood, their main problems are speeding, reckless riding, red light jumping and violation of every known traffic rule, often putting other road users in danger but repeatedly condoned by our enforcement authorities.

Perhaps the government should do something about this instead!

 

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