KUALA LUMPUR: Sime Darby Plantation Bhd warned on Thursday that labour shortages at palm oil plantations in Malaysia because of coronavirus border closures will worsen in early 2022 compared to the last six months until workers are allowed to return.
Mohamad Helmy Othman Basha, managing director at Sime Darby Plantation, also told a conference that there was a shortage of more than 75,000 workers resulting in a potential 20%-30% hit to production.
Sime Darby Plantation is the world's biggest palm oil planter by land size and said last year that foreign workers made up 75% of its employees.
Mohamad Helmy urged the industry to advance automation and mechanisation efforts and hire more locals.
"The industry should take this opportunity to reset," he said.
Malaysia's border remains closed in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19 and restrictions on the hiring of foreign labour have been in place since the pandemic started. - Reuters