Monday, May 25, 2009

High Foreign Labour Cost Jeopordising Sabah's Palm Oil Industry

25/05/2009 (Bernama), Sandakan - The dependence on foreign labour has resulted in high operations cost for the country's palm oil industry, says Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Tan Sri Bernard Dompok.

At the end of last year, there were 525,000 foreign workers in the country's plantation sector and from that, 274,523 workers were in Sabah and Sarawak.

"In Sabah, there are many foreign workers for the palm industry from Indonesia and the cost of getting their services is high.

"If this is not dealt with, it will jeopordise the oil palm industry of the state, which is the most important state for Malaysia in the industry," he told reporters after a dialogue with the East Malaysia Planters Association here today.

Also present at the dialogue was the Chairman of EMPA Othman Walat and Chief of the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) Datuk Dr Mohd Basri Wahid.

Dompok said the high cost problem was brought up by EMPA during the dialogue session which he had attended to hear out the problems being faced by the industry in Sabah.

He said he will bring up the matter to the federal government and state government and identify the factors that would need study, and find a resolution for it.

Dompok said Sabah was the main palm oil producing state in the country with its total oil palm planted area coming to 1.33 million hectares or 30 percent of the country's total oil palm planted area.

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