KOTA KINABALU: A construction material company based in Shah Alam is giving its Sabahan and Sarawakian workers three days paid leave, complete with air ticket and allowance, to fly back and vote in the general election.
Marble Emporium Sdn Bhd proprietor Sim Yen Peng, 43, said he was doing this as “voting is a responsibility”.
He hoped that his gesture would spur other firms in the peninsula with such workers to do the same.
Sim, who is from Miri, said he was also driven by his own experience of not having enough money to fly back home for Chinese New Year or to vote.
“If employers can spend on compulsory annual return tickets for their foreign workers, why can’t the same be done for our Sabahan and Sarawakian workers once every five years for the general election?” Sim said yesterday.
He said 11 of his workers from Sabah and Sarawak will get three days off from May 7 to May 9, free return air tickets and RM300 travel allowance each, with expenses coming up to about RM1,000 per worker.
He posted the announcement on the company’s Facebook page yesterday, hours after the Election Commission fixed May 9 for polling.
The posting went viral, with people giving the thumbs up to the company which supplies natural marbles and granite across Malaysia.
Sim, who started the company eight years ago, said at the very least, companies should give workers living away from their polling centres RM100 and an extra day off to enable them to cast their ballots.
“I have been encouraging my staff to register as voters for the past five years and pledged to help them go back to vote when it was time,” he added.
Many people praised the company for its initiative, with some even going as far as offering to purchase products from the company.
Facebook user Mohamad Nasir wrote: “I’m now in the middle of renovating my house, may I know where I can buy your products?”
Vishnnu Rajahram contributed this post: “I know where I’m getting my marble next!”
Another FB user Choon Hoe said the company’s actions should set an example for other firms in the country.
“Really salute your company. You have set a very good example to many big firms out there.”