PUTRAJAYA, 5 Feb — The revocation of the Withhold Release Order (WRO), imposed against Sime Darby Plantation by the United States Customs and Border Protection (US CBP), has a positive impact on the country’s oil palm industry, said Human Resources Minister, V Sivakumar.
He said this positive news is closely related to the country’s oil palm export market, the business continuity of the principal industry, oil palm joint ventures and subsidiaries, as well as Malaysia’s reputation for not being associated with forced labour practices.
"I would like to praise Sime Darby Plantation for all the efforts and commitment in dealing with the forced labour issues claimed by the US CBP.
"Sime Darby has implemented various initiatives, aimed at further strengthening aspects of employee welfare, in line with the stipulations outlined under the labour law, as well as international instruments under the purview of the International Labour Organisation (ILO),” he said in a statement here today.
He said Sime Darby Plantation’s success, by developing initiatives such as a zero recruitment policy, employees retaining their passports, and developing the company’s internal complaint resolution mechanisms, should be used as a guide or model of best practice by other industries.
US CBP imposed a WRO against the Sime Darby Plantation in 2020, before withdrawing the order on Jan 31, this year.
Meanwhile, Sivakumar also urged the industry to step up efforts to create a conducive work environment for workers, as well as the level of compliance with labour standards, namely the National Action Plan on Forced Labour (NAPFL) 2021-2025.
He said NAPFL provides a platform to fight for the concept of inclusion with all stakeholders involved, to create the best mechanism to curb the practice of forced labour by 2030.
He added that his ministry always adheres to the principle that any form of oppression or exploitation cannot be compromised, enforcement activities are also intensified, and any party that commits such an offence will be severely punished. — Bernama