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Sarawak oil palm body: Reconsider insurance scheme implementation

Monday, 5 November 2012

KUCHING: The Sarawak Oil Palm Plantation Owners’ Association, comprising over 80 plantation proprietors in the state, is asking the Government to seriously reconsider implementation of the Foreign Workers’ Health Insurance Protection Scheme from Jan 1 next year.

It said the implementation would only further burden the “very young” oil palm industry in Sarawak, making it even less competitive.

“Moreover, any imposition of additional terms and conditions for work permit applications will merely slow down processing time and, with the labour shortage in the state, this will make the situation even worse,” said the association in a statement issued by its secretariat yesterday.

Given the prevailing low crude palm oil (CPO) prices, the Government should intervene to assist the industry, it said.

The association member companies were also mandated to comply with the RM800 minimum monthly wage for oil palm sector workers from Jan 1 next year, it said.

“The market price for CPO has dwindled drastically over the past months and oil palm plantation companies are losing money due to the price drop.

“The price slide is especially ‘hurting’ young plantation companies that have invested heavily in oil palm cultivation,” the association said, adding that both oil palm estate owners and smallholders would be equally affected by the insurance scheme introduction. – Bernama

Taken from The Star