Report: Low pay, strict enforcement causing severe shortage of lorry drivers

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 17 — The logistics industry could face a severe shortage of lorry drivers as low wages and strict traffic regulation turn the younger generation away, Yayasan Pengguna Negara Malaysia (YPNM) president Datuk Mohd Firdaus Abdullah was reported saying.

Firdaus claimed vacancies for the job could be in the five digits, Utusan Malaysia quoted him as saying as he warned of the shortage’s potential impact on the country’s supply chain.

Lorry drivers are paid by commission and typically get between 15 and 20 per cent of the delivery fee, but nearly half of it is spent on daily expenses and other costs such as an allowance for a lorry assistant.

Drivers are also subject to “intense” scrutiny by the authorities, Firdaus said, and companies usually force them to pay for fines imposed for traffic offences even if some are caused by employer negligence.

“Many lorry drivers confide in us… they tell us their commissions are based on the (lorry) rental rate calculated by weight of goods carried. If the quantity of goods is small the commission becomes smaller and if the quantity in in excess, they get penalised by the police, Road Transport Department, or the Land Public Transport Agency,” he said.

“At the moment, many lorry drivers are jobless or are still looking for other jobs because they’ve been blacklisted for many traffic offences and put on trial. Many of them can’t pay and are forced to look for other jobs.”

The frequent road accidents involving lorry drivers have fuelled backlash that has forced the authorities to target logistic companies with hefty fines and tougher laws, but YPNM said policy-makers often neglect legacy problems caused by poor policies that are plaguing the industry.

“YPNM hopes all parties respect the law, still, guidance and counsel should be prioritised over this preference to only arrest and punish so these problems can be corrected,” Firdaus said.



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