by BERNAMA / pic by BLOOMBERG
THE government’s decision to issue temporary work permits to illegal foreign workers will assist plantation players and smallholders in cushioning the labour shortage impact, which is resulting in 20-30 per cent potential production not being realised.
The Malaysian Palm Oil Association said by resolving this particular issue, it shall allow the Industry to optimise returns from the current bullish prices, as well as help the government in increasing its tax revenue.
“The industry fully appreciates and lauds the initiative announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin recently that the government is considering to issue temporary work permits to illegal foreign workers in the country to overcome the shortage of workers in the oil palm and rubber industries.
“We fully appreciative the government’s efforts to resolve the industry and smallholders’ predicament and recognise the importance of the oil palm sector contribution to the wellbeing of the country’s economy.
“And we sincerely hope that this latest initiative will be implemented soonest possible,” MPOA chief executive Datuk Mohamad Nageeb Wahab said in a statement.
He said the industry has made bold steps and taken real efforts to recruit locals to work in the plantations but the response has been lukewarm until now.
Mohamad Nageeb said that the industry is also seriously looking at automating and mechanising estate operations in order to reduce dependency on guest workers but effective implementation could only be visible in the near future.
“It is our sincere wish that the government will also consider allowing guest workers on leave back in their country to return here, as well unfreeze the recruitment of foreign workers for this sector very soon.
“The Industry gives its assurance that all standard operating procedures and guidelines introduced by the government will be strictly adhered to and complied with, and we shall whole heartedly support all efforts made to address the COVID-19 pandemic in the country,” he said.