Refugees may be able to work in plantation sector

KUALA LUMPUR: The possibility of allowing refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia to work temporarily in the plantation sector as a way to overcome the workforce shortage issue is being studied, the Dewan Negara was told.

Currently the government, under the National Security Council (MKN), bans refugees or asylum seekers from working in all sectors in Malaysia, including the plantation sector, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, who is also Plantation and Commodities Minister.

“There was a pioneer project previously, however, that was implemented by the government that allowed these groups to work, but the project failed and the matter is under review by the MKN,” he said during the wind-up session of the Supply Bill 2023 yesterday.

The matter was brought up by Senator Datuk Dr Dominic Lau Hoe Chai who suggested that the relevant ministry study the hiring of refugees and asylum seekers as temporary workers to resolve the labour shortage in the plantation sector.

According to Bernama, Fadillah also said the government was committed to spurring the agri-commodity sector beyond the various challenges it faced through various efforts to ensure that agri-commodity products were competitive, and also focused on the development and commercialisation of technology.

“My ministry is always committed to implementing various methods to modernise equipment and methods of planting in the oil palm sector, including intensifying the promotion of mechanisation and automation through the Mechanisation and Automation Research Consortium of Oil Palm (Marcop),” Fadillah said.

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