by AZREEN HANI/ pic by RAZAK GHAZALI
FGV Holdings Berhad (FGV) says the firm does not tolerate any form of violence or discrimination nor does it compromise the health of its workers, regardless of gender.
The plantation company also said that it views the recent reported allegations of rape and abuse in palm oil fields seriously.
“FGV refers to the article published in The Associated Press (“AP”) on 18 November 2020 titled ‘Rape, abuses in palm oil fields linked to top beauty brands.’ FGV views the alleged findings as a matter of serious concern, as they do not only constitute gross human rights violations but are also criminal in nature,” FGV said in a statement today.
“Should these allegations be true, perpetrators must be found and be brought to justice,” it added.
The AP reported on the brutal treatment of women in the production of palm oil, in Indonesia and Malaysia which included the hidden scourge of sexual abuse, ranging from verbal harassment and threats to rape.
Touching on the AP ‘s reference about FGV and Felda relations, FGV said its governance and management remain independent despite Felda being the majority shareholder of FGV.
FGV also stressed that although women make up only around 10 percent of FGV’s upstream workforce, the planter attaches great importance to protecting and safeguarding their rights and wellbeing.
“FGV does not practice discrimination. Our female workers are offered the same terms of employment, benefits and entitlements as male workers,” the planter added.
“In terms of wages, both male and female workers receive equal pay for equal work. FGV’s adherence to Malaysia’ Minimum Wage Order 2020 also applies to all workers,” it said.
The company said the work carried out by female workers are confined to gathering loose fruits, weeding, manuring, pruning, office and hostel cleaning, and general work which may include assisting in clerical tasks.
In addition, the workers handling chemicals, pesticides and fertilisers are required to strictly adhere to SOPs on safety and health, including the mandatory use of personal protective equipment (PPE), which are provided by FGV.
“We prohibit pregnant and breastfeeding women from handling chemicals, pesticides and fertilisers,” it said.
FGV added it remains committed to respecting human rights and upholding labour standards.
“We view very seriously the findings of the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) which led to its issuance of the Withhold Release Order (WRO) on FGV’s palm oil and palm oil product, and will continue to intensify our efforts towards enhancing our labour practices and to addressing any remaining gaps”, it said.
Read our previous report here