MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Sunday, June 30, 2019

Kula: Suggestion to bring in African workers for plantation sector dropped

PETALING JAYA: Plantation owners will be informed that the suggestion to bring in Africans to work in the sector would be dropped, says M. Kulasegaran.
The Human Resources Minister explained that his earlier statement about taking workers from Africa for the plantation sector was taken out of context and misconstrued.
"A remark I made in Cameron Highlands yesterday (June 29) that Malaysia may take in workers from Africa to fill gaps in manpower in our plantation sector has been read out of context.
"The issue arose when farmers in Cameron Highlands, in a meeting with me, complained that they were in dire need of foreign workers," he said in a statement on Sunday (June 30).

Kulasegaran said he had told them that he was informed by plantation owners that workers from Bangladesh, Myanmar, Indonesia and Vietnam were no longer keen on working in oil palm estates.

Instead, he said they preferred to work in the sometimes dangerous and difficult occupations unlike their Malaysian counterparts.
He added that bearing in mind that oil palm fruits must be harvested within 21 days of their fruiting or else they become unsuitable for processing, there is, according to plantation owners, an oversupply of fruit in estates because of lack of labour to harvest them.
"It is said the plantation industries are losing some RM10bil a year for the unharvested fruits due to shortage of workers.
"Plantation owners incur huge losses and the country loses out in gaining foreign exchange," he said.
He added plantation owners suggested that to meet the shortfall in labour, the government consider employing workers from Africa, particularly from countries in which Malaysia is heavily invested in the oil and gas sector, as well as in plantation agriculture.
Kulasegaran said that the suggestion seemed understandable, given the reasons for the labour shortfall in estates in Malaysia and that the country is invested considerably in Africa.
"It was in this context that at the town hall session, I floated the idea that the government may have to look to Africa to shore up the labour shortfall in plantation agriculture in Malaysia.
"Also there is a need to get Cabinet approval to this suggestion which has not taken place," he said.
Kulasegaran added that as the Prime Minister has said there is no necessity to bring in workers from Africa, he would inform plantation owners the whole suggestion would be dropped.- Star

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