Wednesday, October 28, 2020

FGV maintains priority on workers’ welfare in bid to diffuse US criticism

It details the use of RM350 million for the provision of workers' housing.

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Plantation giant FGV Holdings Bhd today reiterated its commitment to the welfare of its workers whom it called the “backbone” of the company, detailing the allocation of some RM350 million over the past three years for the provision of adequate housing.

In a statement, FGV CEO Haris Fadzilah Hassan said 27 housing projects have been completed so far including five in Pahang, one each in Terengganu, Kelantan, Perak, and Negeri Sembilan, as well as two estates in both Sabah and Sarawak.

An additional five housing projects are expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Haris also said “concrete steps” had been taken over the past few years to improve amenities in FGV’s 190-plus estates in Malaysia as well as Indonesia.

He also noted the company’s provision of additional amenities such as community and prayer halls, recreation fields and sundry shops.

FGV came under increased scrutiny when the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) authority issued a directive against its palm oil and palm oil products based on a negative assessment of the company’s treatment of its plantation workers.

The CBP’s assessment of FGV’s practices cited instances of forced labour in its production process, and insufficient measures by the company to ensure the protection and welfare of its workers including the failure to provide adequate housing.

The CBP assessment resulted in a withhold release order that took effect this month, effectively barring the entry of FGV products to the US.

The company slammed the move, saying it had consistently prioritised the welfare of its workers and refuting the allegations of worker mistreatment.

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