KUCHING: The Sarawak Oil Palm Plantation Owners Association (SOPPOA) is most grateful to the Honorable Chief Minister Sarawak, Datuk Patinggi Dr. Abang Abdul Rahman Zohari Bin Abang Openg for the approval to allow foreign workers back into Sarawak on March 2021 following the Covid-19 pandemic shutdown since March 2020 last year. Thanking the State Government for this good start of allowing 27, 000 foreign workers entry to Sarawak with stricter SOPs, the palm oil industry as well as other business sectors in Sarawak will be able to survive and continue to operate more efficiently, avoid business losses or closures and a major step to eliminate undocumented workers coming into the state as previously highlighted by the SDMC Chairman, YB Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah.
“On behalf of the palm oil industry in Sarawak, SOPPOA would like to say ‘Thank you!’ to Honorable Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Abang Zohari, for his consent, understanding and support to the industry here,” stated David Tiong, Chairman of SOPPOA. In addition, similar note of thanks should also go to all those YB State Ministers involved, especially the SDMC headed by Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah and esteemed team, the State Secretary Sarawak, Labor Department, Immigration Department and the Chief Minister’s Office. Apart from the opening for new foreign workers to enter, Sarawak Government is also allowing for recalibration of foreign workers with expired documents to be allowed to extend their work permits to continue to work in Sarawak which help prevent outflow of healthy foreign workers who are already in the state.
The palm oil industry in Sarawak has been plagued with continuous acute labor shortage, as well as low crop yields, low mill OER, Pest and Diseases, soils and climatic issues affecting crop yields which is performing well below those achieved in peninsular Malaysia and Sabah. With healthy foreign workers now allowed to enter, this number one priority palm oil industry issue should be resolved amiably by the quick intervention of the caring Sarawak State government with strong leadership, good foresight compassion and help for the continuous economical development of the palm oil industry here. Plantations and other sectors who are employing foreign workers must reciprocate the good gesture from the State Government by fully cooperating, practicing and complying to the strict SDMC Covid-19 prevention SOPs at all times.