EFFORTS TO ACCELERATE EMPLOYMENT OF INDONESIAN WORKERS NEED
TO BE COORDINATED USING DIGITAL PLATFORMS
1. The Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) takes cognisance of the concerns raised by the Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) in May this year that the Malaysian oil palm plantation sector could potentially be incurring losses of RM21 billion in 2021 and a further RM28 billion in 2022 if foreign workers are not brought into the country immediately.
2. The issue of the lack of foreign workers started following the closure of national borders due to the implementation of several stages of the Movement Control Order (MCO) when the Covid-19 pandemic peaked and worsened, affecting the harvesting process in farms across the country.
3. The Ministry at the same time also welcomes the agreement made by the Republic of Indonesia over the decision to re-allow the entry of its workers into Malaysia, which has been in effect since 1 August 2022, after withdrawing the restrictions before that, which were made due to concerns over issues related to rights of its (Indonesian) workers.
4. In order to simplify the process of hiring foreign workers, MPIC acknowledges that the process must be complete and efficient, hence we are all looking forward to the coordination process to be gradually switched to a fullydigitalised platform without any human interference possible.
5. For a long-term solution, MPIC encourages farm owners to provide retraining and skills improvement among local workers, in addition to practicing good labour management, which is important to keep foreign workers, employed.
6. A good labour force management policy will not only prevent foreign workers from absconding, it will also enable employers to circumvent the risk of forced labour and human trafficking which can ultimately be disruptive to their export business in the long run.
7. The Ministry will not compromise on issues related to forced labour in the country and Malaysia will continue to comply with the guidelines set in the International Labour Organization (ILO). In fact, MPIC will continue to support the National Action Plan on Forced Labour (NAPFL) which was developed in an effort to address and eradicate the issue of forced labour in the country.
8. The Ministry is confident that the noble efforts being undertaken at this time can help mobilize the 'Global Movement to Champion the Goodness of Palm Oil' campaign which, among other things, aims to explore and penetrate new markets and increase our country's palm oil exports.
YB DATUK HAJAH ZURAIDA KAMARUDDIN
MINISTER OF PLANTATION INDUSTRIES AND COMMODITIES
15th AUGUST 2022