KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Palm Oil Certification Council (MPOCC) has observed with great concern over the US ban on Sime Darby Plantation Bhd which cited allegations of forced labour in its production process.
The US government widened its ban on Malaysian palm oil imports over allegations that Sime Darby Plantation Bhd used forced labour in the production process.
Under a new withhold release order, the US Customs and Border Protection will be required to detain any palm oil arriving in the US from Sime Darby Plantation.
MPOCC acting chief executive officer Simon Selvaraj, in a statement, said under the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification scheme, which is mandatory across the board for the industry, there were clear and strong requirements on workers’ rights and health and safety, and that no forms of forced or trafficked labour were used.
“All MSPO certificate holders must abide by Malaysian laws and regulations, which include the Immigration Act 670 and Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act (2007) (ATIPSOM), ” he said.
Selvaraj said any instance of forced labour or the violations, which falls under the 11 forced labour indicators, namely abuse of vulnerability, deception, movement restriction, isolation, physical and sexual violence, intimidation and threats, retention of identity documents, withholding of wages, debt bondage, abusive working and living conditions, and excessive overtime, have to be reported to the authorities for action to be taken.
This is clearly outlined under the MSPO Principle 4: social responsibility, health, safety and employment conditions, where, among others, complaints and grievances raised are responded to and safe work practices and conditions are ensured, he added.
“Any violations of the MSPO requirements that are substantiated may result in the certification being suspended or revoked.
“A more holistic solution would be for the concerned stakeholders to engage with the industry players and regulatory agencies to follow through on the issues raised and to seek realistic and sustainable solutions, ” he said.
Selvaraj added that the MPOCC would continue to monitor the development of the allegations while contributing proactively towards strategic solutions to solve labour issues in the palm oil industry. — Bernama
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