‘All firms need work permits’


Outside help: Foreign workers harvesting oil palm fruit in Dengkil. — AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Medium and small plantations should also be provided with work permits as the larger firms, says the Malaysian Estate Owners’ Association (MEOA).

Amid the labour crunch facing the palm oil industry, it said the association was pleased to hear in the market that a big company had been allocated a permit to bring in a limited group of workers from Lombok, Indonesia, even if it was reported that the inaugural intake was aborted.

ALSO READ: Expedite entry of Bangladeshi workers, says Papsma

“This means that the issuance of permits has started.

“Notwithstanding that there may be reasons and perceptions raised pertaining to the intake cancellation, the top priority now is to ensure the modus operandi is firmed up and the entire process can begin without delay so that all companies – big, medium or small players – will benefit from the return of the guest workers into Malaysia,” it said in a statement yesterday.

MEOA said that at the start of 2022, it estimated there was an acute shortage of around 120,000 workers in the local palm oil industry.

ALSO READ: Hard to find local workers

According to Malaysia Productivity Corporation, this can deprive the industry and the nation of a massive RM28bil in revenue from unharvested fresh fruit bunches this year.

MEOA said: “Malaysia is missing a golden opportunity to ride on the growing global palm oil demand as it is unable to cope with the harvesting of all of the oil palm bunches at the appropriate harvesting rounds due to the limited labour force.”

ALSO READ: Estate owners warn of losses ahead from ‘severe’ labour crunch

It warned that the acute labour shortage would also affect future earnings as many plantations would try to manage their labour productively by channelling scarce human resources merely towards crop harvesting and hence giving lower priority to other works in the fields, including palm maintenance along with fertilisation.

These would have an adverse “lag” effect on field conditions and crop yields, especially set against insufficient application of fertilisers, MEOA said.

ALSO READ: Workers’ delay due to visa issues

“Accessibility to the fields and oil palm trees would also be hindered due to overgrown fields and unpruned old fronds.

“Rehabilitation work will require more workforce and at higher costs,” it said.

MEOA urged all stakeholders, especially the relevant authorities, to “quickly connect all the dots and make the return of the guest workers a reality, sooner than later”.

Article type: free
User access status:
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

plantations , work permits , labour , palm oil

   

Next In Nation

Integrated fishery complex in main districts crucial for Sabah, says Kitingan
Floods: Two states still affected and number of victims increases, says Nadma
Melaka cops nab seven for betting on World Cup matches
Smugglers nabbed after high-speed chase in Lahad Datu waters
AGC not appealing against High Court ruling to return luxury items to Najib, Rosmah
Law firm withdraws from representing Jho Low's mother in 1MDB suit
Covid-19: Sarawak sees rise in cases in last four weeks
TNB conveys condolences to family of boy killed by electric poles
Bung leads Sabah Umno group in meeting with Anwar in Putrajaya
Bar associations should pick out JAC members, proposes Conference of Rulers Chairman

Others Also Read