Malaysia’s Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) has released the following statement, in response to the reforms announced by Sime Darby earlier this week:
“Malaysia’s Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) fully supports the recent announcement by Sime Darby Plantation to adopt sweeping operational and governance reforms of its labour and recruitment practices.
“The Malaysian Government takes the issue of labour rights seriously. The Ministry of Human Resources (MOHR) has launched the National Action Plan on Forced Labour (NAP). This plan sets a policy direction for improving the situation for migrant workers, and demonstrates the government’s determination to address these matters.
“The Malaysian Government has recently concluded a Memorandum of Understanding with Bangladesh on the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers as migrant laborers in Malaysia. MPIC and the Malaysian palm oil private sector is fully committed to implementing the commitments and undertakings made in the MoU with Bangladesh.
“The Malaysian Palm Oil Association (MPOA) – made up of a membership of the largest palm oil growers – committed to a new Responsible Employment Charter. The Charter includes an explicit commitment to end debt bondage and the practice of recruitment fees, alongside other labour rights commitments.
“MPIC and other bodies such as MPOC will continue to engage in productive, pro-active communications with U.S. government authorities. Engagement and open dialogue are the best way forward to achieve our shared objective.
“MPIC reiterates our call for greater transparency from the U.S. government. Moreover, it is MPIC’s hope that the U.S. government and relevant agencies will recognise the actions taken by Malaysia’s private sector palm oil producers towards resolving the scourge of forced labour. This recognition is best achieved through official reporting and public statements.”
DATUK HAJAH ZURAIDA KAMARUDDIN
MINISTER OF PLANTATION INDUSTRIES AND COMMODITIES
18 FEBRUARY 2022