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MPC: Oil palm sector risks losing RM28 bln in 2022 without foreign workers

23/05/2022 04:05 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 (Bernama) -- The Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) has proposed for stakeholders to take intervention measures such as expediting the arrival of foreign workers to address the shortage of labour in the oil palm plantations.

Director-general Datuk Abdul Latif Abu Seman said the arrival of a total of 32,000 foreign workers (field workers) from Indonesia must be accelerated as there is a shortage of workers to carry out harvesting work in the plantations following the closure of borders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the shortage of harvesters among foreign workers saw the oil palm plantation sector incurring losses of RM21 billion in 2021, and it is expected to continue suffering losses of RM28 billion in 2022 if the foreign workers are not brought in immediately.

Additionally, the sector saw a decline in export of 4.4 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2021 due to the shortage of local and foreign workers.

“To facilitate the process of hiring foreign workers, the process must be complete and efficient because currently, the coordination in the process must be switched to the full digitalisation platform without any human interference,” Abdul Latif said in a statement today.

As for the long-term intervention, the government and plantation owners are urged to cooperate in continuing the funding for  Reskilling and Upskilling programme especially for local workers.

”Development and empowerment of local workers must be given full emphasis as they (workers) holding positions at the higher level such as office workers and plantation managers will ensure the management of the plantations are well taken care of.

“The provision of subsidies for the right educational programmes on oil palm plantation must also be given priority,” he said.

Abdul Latif also said the programmes introduced by the government must be designed and empowered towards good thinking, perception and understanding of the oil palm sector.

Programmes on awareness and prepardness must also be emphasised toward automation and mechanisation initiatives to attract more Malaysians to get involved in this sector, he added.


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