Saturday 13 Apr 2024
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BANGI (Jan 23): The government has agreed to allow the hiring of foreign workers specifically for the plantation sector under the Ministry of Plantation and Commodities, said its Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani.

He said the matter was informed to him by the minister of home affairs, who decided that only the plantation sector is currently allowed to hire foreign workers. 

“The Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Human Resources have agreed that foreign workers are no longer allowed to enter the country except for the plantation industry. This industry is open to take in foreign labour.

“According to survey findings up to December 2023, we estimate that 40,000 workers are needed in the plantation sector. Hence, plantation companies will need to submit an application to hire foreign workers,” Johari told the media after the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) Excellence Awards Ceremony 2023 here on Tuesday. 

He also stressed that plantation companies wanting to apply for foreign workers must ensure the requirement for employment is in the plantation sector specifically and not in other sectors.

“The ministry will ensure companies provide conducive foreign workers’ accommodation, and that the welfare of this group is not neglected, as to avoid any forced labour issues.

“According to the minister of home affairs, any company which brings in foreign workers into the country still has to pay wages to those workers despite there being no work. This is to avoid our country being accused of practising human trafficking or forced labour,” he added. 

Earlier, Johari witnessed the handing over of funds, specifically for the RM100 million palm oil replanting programme, from the MPOB to Agrobank. 

The funds allocated through Budget 2024 consist of a grant component (50%) and financing (50%) to private smallholders.

The funds for both the grant and financing components will be fully disbursed by Agrobank, and the repayment by the applicant will only involve 50% (including 2% interest) of the total amount of disbursed funds.

The value of the financing is as much as RM14,000 per hectare for smallholders in Peninsular Malaysia, and RM18,000 per hectare for smallholders in Sabah and Sarawak.

Applications have been open since Jan 15.

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