KUCHING: Sarawak’s Deputy Chief Minister, Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing recent statement that the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) will not compromise with any employer employing new illegal foreign workers in Sarawak is most appropriate and appreciated by all concerned to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the state.
“We are fully supportive of the Deputy Chief Minister and Acting SDMC Chairman’s warning and have been adhering to SDMC Covid-19 prevention SOP for workers in our estates and mills, especially foreign workers in the daily operations,” stated a spokesperson from Sarawak Oil Palm Plantation Owners Association (SOPPOA). Foremost, SOPPOA members have since March 2020 implemented self-lock down or restricted movements in and out of estates for personnel and the practice has continued since then; outsiders, unauthorized are not allowed to enter these premises. In reference to the Deputy Chief Minister’s concern on the entry of illegal workers into the state, SOPPOA fully support the government’s stance of not allowing illegal workers entering into the state. Until there is government’s approval to opening of the borders then new foreign workers should only be allowed into Sarawak after following proper SDMC administrative screening procedures, strict SOP and quarantine before being allowed to be employed in the state.
“SOPPOA members have also been provided with Covid-19 prevention SOP for their operations during the whole process of Movement Control Order which is effective and have always followed closely the directives from SDMC all throughout the period since March 2020. We are as concerned as everyone else in the state to ensure that the pandemic will not spread to our employees and affect our operations. In appreciation of the work of the SDMC, SOPPOA members have also made generous donations of RM500,000 in September 2020 to the SDMC for their fight against Covid-19 and work closely with SDMC to fight the spread of the pandemic.”
“As the pandemic is still a threat to people, SOPPOA members will continue to observe and enforce Covid-19 prevention SOPs for their operations throughout the state in compliance with SDMC directives for movements of workers. Due to these strict SDMC regulations and directives, the palm oil industry in Sarawak has been able to operate as usual and continue to provide financial support for thousands of families and workers in the state during these difficult times of need and sufferings where many sectors have been affected by closures of businesses and loss of jobs. SOPPOA are indeed most thankful to SDMC and esteemed team in enforcing the necessary procedures to keep the state safe for people and for plantation business operations as essential services to continue operations,” he added.