Golden Palm says minimum wages will attract workers

GUA MUSANG, Feb 10  –  A leading player in the plantation industry says the industry should follow through with the minimum wage policy as it will be attractive to workers.

“It would really help as it only incurs cost in the near term,” Golden Palm Growers Bhd’s executive chairman, Andrew Phang, told Bernama during a tour of the company’s estate here recently.

Phang said it has become increasingly difficult to source workers especially the Indonesians.

“Indonesian companies themselves are opening up new plantation areas thus many Indonesians who used to work in Malaysia are now working in their home country.”

For now, the company has to source its labour from India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

“We ourselves have not only implemented the minimum wage, the policy the government is trying to endorse, but we have in fact exceeded (the wage).

“The plantation industry is profitable and businesses could afford to sustain these higher costs in the longer term,” he added.

Meanwhile, its Plantation Senior Manager, Anand Nambiar said Golden Palm Growers’ oil palm estate aimed to produce 5,000 tonnes of fresh fruit bunches next year from 1,300 tonnes expected this year.

“Currently we are producing five tonnes per hectare (ha) a year and this should increase in the following years.

“Out of the total size of the palm plantation of 4,450 hectares, we have allocated 136 trees per hectare since planting began between 2009 and 2010,” he said. – Bernama



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