SD Plantation commits to upholding human rights, address allegations

KUALA LUMPUR: Sime Darby Plantation Bhd views a possible action by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with concern following recent news reports identifying it as the target of an import ban by the agency.

In a statement issued today, the plantation company noted that it has been the subject of a petition filed by anti-trafficking group Liberty Shared with the CPB on April 20, 2020.

In response, Sime Darby Plantation released a trio of statements in July and August addressing Liberty Shared's petition summary and public statements.

According to the company, it has not been provided with the details of the allegations by Liberty Shared and has not had the opportunity to provide an explanation to this date.

"Over the years, we have embraced our position of leadership in driving the principles of sustainable development across our operations.

"Our responses underline our serious commitment to upholding human rights and genuine intention to remedy any lapses in our operations and supply chain.

"They are further underscored by our plan, following our engagement with LS, to commission an independent review of our governance, procedures and practices related to the areas of concern, the details of which will be announced in due course," it said.

Sime Darby Plantation views the US as an important growing market for its products, even though the value of its export to the country is a modest sum of about US$5mil.

Moving forward, the company will continue with its engagements to obtain the details of the allegations against it and address them accordingly.

Labour practices in Malaysian plantation companies were thrown into the spotlight on Wednesday when FGV Holdings Bhd was hit with a withhold release order by the CBP in light of allegations of labour rights abuses in the company.

Plantations Minister Datuk Seri M Saravanan was subsequently reported to have said another major plantations player was soon to face the same action by the agency.
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