Malaysian handymen specializing in trade skills like plumbing, electrical work and general manual tasks, may cause the death of the local tradesman industry, local insiders say.
Malaysian plumbers, for instance, may perform simple repairs for $50 per job, a rate that is at least 100% cheaper than regular local plumbers in Singapore.
When asked what accounts for the differences in price, local tradesmen cited a whole grocery list of advantages enjoyed by Malaysian tradesmen.
They claim that these foreigners do not need to pay local rates of income tax or CPF, which is required of all local tradesmen. They also enjoy lower vehicle tax, sans COE and road tax, and cheaper petrol in Malaysia, which they can freely top up in their home country.
Citing the need for greater regulation of the foreign tradesmen population, one netizen pointed to the increasing number of complaints against foreign tradesmen, who perform a rushed and unsatisfactory job before disappearing with their clients’ hard earned money. Oftentimes, consumers end up turning to local tradesmen to solve their botched jobs.
“It’s very common these days,” says one industry insider, who has been in the electrical line for over 20 years. “In the past, we would make sure perform a good job. If our customers like our work, they will recommend us to their friends and we will benefit together.”