KUCHING: The recent announcement by Chairman of Sarawak Disaster Management Committee, YB Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah, that Indonesian workers with valid working permits are allowed to work in Sarawak is a most timely statement, stated the Sarawak Oil Palm Plantation Owners Association (SOPPOA).
SOPPOA welcome the SDMC Chairman’s statement with relief and gratitude as only the state government is fully aware of the labor situation in Sarawak. The palm oil industry workers shortage woes are primarily due to the small population in the state with limited pool of local workers available. The need to compete with other sectors which are not deemed 3-d jobs also compounded the acute shortage of workers here apart from those who return to their home country after their contracts expired with no foreign worker replacement since the outbreak of COVID 19 infection and MCO begun despite being in operation.
On another note, SOPPOA encourages local youths to also explore opportunities in the training academies of various oil palm companies and learning institutions to equip themselves with skills that can provide wide range of job professions in the industry. The palm oil industry in Malaysia is already more than 100 years old and can provide long term job security as well as financial opportunities for those seeking jobs that promises a bright future if they are not choosy and can adapt well in the plantation sector.
SOPPOA reiterates that the announcement by the SDMC Chairman allowing for Indonesian workers with permits to come back to Sarawak is a ‘win-win’ by the state in view of the opening up of hiring foreign workers to cope with the acute shortage of workers for the survival of the industry. On the other hand, the revenue taxes collected from the industry will contribute to the state’s economy now and for the foreseeable future post Covid-19 era.