Offering state dignitary title to tourism pioneers… again!

Slapping each other’s back on perceived achievements is a very familiar sight among the rich and politicians. President Anni conferring ‘State Dignitary’ title to Muhammad Umar Manik and Champa Hussein Afeef, yesterday is another such feat which needs to be commented about.
Despite their unremarkable running of several resorts (where workers toil in slave-like conditions), these two individuals have been receiving state dignitary title almost every year since ‘recognitions’ began. The citation of their award each year lists the same old tale of how they were there with the first batch of tourists to the country. But after hearing this consistent tale for the past few decades, one wonders weather is it not enough? Will we have to bear to hear the praise of Champa and Mu Manik for the rest of our lives? Would not somebody recognize the ‘others’ (a significant number of others) who worked hard to bring smiles to the guest and made the holiday possible? The waiters, roomboys the laundry boys, the engineering boys and so many other boys and girls who started their career at about the same age as Champa and Mu Manik who worked on their properties? Of course they are no longer boys and girls any more, time has taken its toll and they have grown to respectable old age with no recognition of their services. For sacrificing half of their adult life, banished away in 5 star resort islands, away from their families and friends what have they got in terms of recognition? Very little apart from the satisfaction that they have been useful for themselves and their loved ones back at home irrespective of how tough for them life was..
Recognition and awards are momentary 5 minutes of fame kind of things most people can do away with, but what about a proper recognition of their services such as a pension they can rely on once they are retired and back in their islands?
In most other countries business regulations and norms requires private employers to make arrangements for such cases where the staff can retire to a dignified retired life, however no such requirements were required of our ‘state dignitaries’ and those who served all their life in their resorts are just faceless nameless people once discharged from the resort after their useful resort life.
So we call on the government to rescind these farce recognitions and be judicious in selecting those who are worthy of recognition. The already rich and famous needs not be recognized because they are already recognized. People know Champ and Mu Manik and successive presidents needs not to introduce them again and again. Champa and Mu Manik were not doing favours for anyone except themselves. This country would have produced more entrepreneurs besides Champ and Mu Manik if the government plays even handed with all its citizens. The already rich in this country are rich because the government helped them in one way or another way. Bright ideas, innovative approaches and dedicated work have yet to be recognized in the country.

relevant links: velidhoo online

When all the resorts follow the labor law to the letter and spirit…


What would happen if the this were to happen? Would indeed this happen and who would benefit most? These are all important questions easier to be asked than to be answered as is the case with most questions that are answerable. As for the fact that the law is binding and compliance is required is a mere statement on paper. What is supposed to happen is for the employers to find fault with the law (as had already happened) and find ways to water down the law to suit them. This is nothing new. Rule of law is applicable to the masses. To the elites same law would have to be customized to suit their needs. Hence MATI with its loyal fat business clientèle has summoned their fat legal team and are said to be discussing changes to labor law. One should not be too much surprised if they have it their way because there is very little awareness in the public about how serious the implications of these issues will be.

In the short term all resort managements will do their part in conforming to labor law provisions some with obvious signs of feet dragging while others taking things in their stride. Those resorts who would not find much difficulty implementing the law requirements would mostly be the big already reputed to be good to staff resorts such as W, Four Seasons, Banyan Tree etc. What that is easier for these resorts to adjust is the portion of service charge to staff of which they were distributing a bigger percentage to staff than the other resorts which are renown for notoriety to staff such as Universal group resorts and Villa and Champa group resorts. These resorts would have to find ways to adjust their accounts to where service charge was involved as service charge is to be wholly distributed staff by law.

As for the other requirements such as the 48 hour week all the talk that was then prevalent is now reversed by a turn of 180 degrees. The industry bosses had predicted that the resorts would have to take on additional staff to comply with time restrictions of the law which at present seems not to be the case. In fact most Human Resources departments in resorts are now compiling lists of redundant staff citing compliance to labor law requires them to cut cost which means job cuts .

Whatever will be will be and the coming weeks and months will show where the industry heading. In the bigger picture the prospects doesn’t seem to be all sad and gloomy as compliance to labor laws will inevitably force some unwilling hands of the tourism industry from the economic slavery they have been subjecting our fellow resort workers for some long long time.