KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 28 — Sime Darby Plantation Bhd’s (SDP) report on the assessment of allegations regarding forced labour used in its plantations is now close to completion, group managing director Mohamad Helmy Othman Basha said.

He said the assessment that was conducted by an independent ethical trade consultancy was delayed due to the government-mandated Covid-19 restrictions across Malaysia.

“We had appointed an independent ethical trade consultancy to undertake a full-scale, independent, assessment spanning its facilities across Malaysia in response to the allegations,” he said in a statement today.

Meanwhile, Mohamad Helmy said he is hugely disappointed with United States Customs and Border Protection’s (USCBP) findings, primarily aimed at SDP’s Malaysian operations, which had determined that certain SDP palm oil products are produced using convict, forced or indentured labour.

He said the finding came just ahead of the publication of the independent report.

“Through the in-depth, onsite work done by the independent consultant, SDP is confident this report will demonstrate that the company has internal controls and systems in place to support its workers and ensure their well-being.

“We look forward to cooperating with the USCBP and to demonstrating our full compliance with US import regulations,” he added. — Bernama