Mixed reaction from workshop operators in Kuching to government requirement to list mechanics’ names and qualifications

Benny Chin

KUCHING (July 19): The federal government’s decision to require auto repair shops to display a list of the names and qualifications of their mechanics has received mixed reactions from local operators.

Those interviewed by The Borneo Post questioned the practicality of the new requirement, which was announced on July 16 by Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub.

The minister in a statement said the condition is one of several improvements contained in the Consumer Protection (Workshops Information Disclosure) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 which came into effect nationwide on July 1.

Benny Chin, who runs several workshops here, said he would find it difficult to list the names of his mechanics because of the ‘unstable’ nature of their work.

He said he has had several mechanics quit after only two to three months of employment.

“If we are talking about ‘fixed’ mechanics, I can write their names. But usually mechanics always change (employers) – only work for two to three months then they quit.

“So it will be difficult to always update the list as required by the government,” he said when met at one of his workshops in Batu Kawa.

In terms of his mechanics’ qualifications, Chin says many of them – including himself – are self-taught with years of hands-on working experience.

“We don’t have any kind of relevant certificates.”

For those with the necessary qualifications, he said he assesses them in terms of how they work, as well as their attitude and willingness to learn.

“If you are talking about those with qualifications or the relevant certificates, there are so many of them; they understand the theory but, most of the time, they don’t know the practical side of it.

“For me, getting the necessary certificate or qualification is only secondary. The most important thing is their attitude towards work.

“If the person is willing to learn and he doesn’t make a fool of himself at work, they can become good mechanics – on the other hand, if they have a qualification but they have a poor attitude to work, then having the qualification will be useless,” added he.

Chin shared the sentiments of Muhd ​​Bakhtiar Suhaili who runs the Mile 3 workshop.

He lamented that it was impractical to list the names of mechanics in his area.

Like Chin, Muhd ​​Bakhtiar said he and most of the workers are self-taught mechanics, who learned to fix cars out of passion and interest in cars.

Muhd Bakhtiar Suhaili

“It is difficult for us to get the necessary qualifications because some of us are not able to do it. Moreover, most of us here started from scratch – what started as just a hobby turned into a keen interest and , ultimately, setting up this business.

“As I am the mechanic as well as the manager of this business, I will also find it difficult to leave my workshop to attend a course to obtain a qualification certificate.

“I have to be a mechanic, manage the shop and guide my workers,” said Muhd ​​Bakhtiar, who graduated in hotel management but chose to pursue his deep passion and interest in cars by setting up of his own workshop.

Another workshop operator, Samarahan-based Jonathan Dee Clement, sees the new requirements imposed by the federal government as a non-issue.

He said, the only problem he foresees is how to determine if a mechanic is ‘qualified’ or not.

Jonathan Dee Clement

“Is it based on their qualification certificate, or on their experience? Those with certificates learn the theory, but they may not know the practical side of it.”

Jonathan is firm in his belief that mechanics with no qualifications on paper but with years of experience are more ‘valuable’.

“Even those with qualifications need to learn from those with experience.

“If this thing is implemented with full force, for me, it is irrelevant, but it is very difficult to send a very experienced mechanic to attend a course and study for their qualifications.

“Imagine, these people are in their 40s or even 50s. Even if they don’t have the necessary qualifications, it doesn’t mean they can’t do the job.

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