Recruitment agencies facing difficult times

Rokiah Mahmud

Recruitment agencies are among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many forced to shut down or put their businesses on hold until the situation improves.

Due to border closures and travel restrictions enforced by the Brunei Government, recruiters are unable to bring in foreign labour as domestic helpers and construction workers.

A spokesperson for several of these agencies told the Weekend Bulletin, “At some press conferences held at the Ministry of Health (MoH) building, Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong and Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Economy and Finance II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah told the landlords or premises owners to revise the rental payments, in view of the current situation in the country.

“Some of the landlords or premises owners complied with these instructions, but others did not. They even asked for the rental fees in full, even though we tried to negotiate with them.

“With our business operations badly affected, many of us are unable to pay the rental. At the same time, we are trying to find a solution on how to pay our staff, office bills and day-to-day expenses.

“We would very much appreciate a solution for our current situation, and we hope that the relevant parties or agencies could assist on this matter.

“We also hope there will be discussion on the matter, especially helping those who have had to close their businesses.

“Some of us had to let our offices go and operate from home, as we were unable to afford
the rent.

“We also feel sorry for our staff. We are trying to keep them employed, but we also need to find a way to resolve and ease our difficulties,” he added.

A board to keep track of employee statuses at a recruitment agency. PHOTO: RAHWANI ZAHARI