Security at workers’ lodge to be enhanced — CEO
Posted on July 18, 2012, Wednesday
BINTULU: Samalaju Property Development Sdn Bhd has assured that the security features at its workers’ lodge in Samalaju Industrial Area will be enhanced following the fracas between two small groups of workers on Sunday evening.
“We are working very closely with the relevant authorities here to ensure the incident would not occur again in the future.
“We reiterate our commitment to safety and as such additional security initiatives have been implemented based on international standard for global players,” said its chief executive officer Isaac Lugun.
Six workers from China and a local were hospitalised after they were attacked by another group on Sunday, in what looked a case of misunderstanding.
According to Isaac, 30 internal security personnel and five police officers had been deployed at key areas in the facility.
In addition, he said that stringent checks would be implemented to ensure that no alcohol or other illicit substances were allowed inside the workers’ lodge.
He said they were, in fact, very upset with the incident which was not supposed to happen in the first place but acknowledged that managing a huge workers’ lodge with workers from different countries, and of different races and religions was a bit challenging.
“After the incident, the atmosphere at the lodge was rather stressful especially among the workers but we are working very hard to lower down the pressures by taking appropriate measures,” he said, adding that double fencing will also be constructed by this week to ensure no illegal substances such as alcohol was brought to the camp.
In fact, he said there were cases of vendors caught by their security personnel trying to bring alcohol to the lodge.
“Based on our initial investigation, the incident was sparked by a China worker with Press Metal spitting at the direction of a local security guard at the entrance of the lodge at 6.24pm (Sunday).
“A heated exchange ensued followed with the duo pushing each other but no serious physical contact,” Isaac said, adding that four police personnel were on duty at the camp then.
At about 10pm, a small group of disgruntled local workers retaliated by attacking the aforementioned foreign Chinese worker and some of his colleagues, Isaac said.
Fortunately, he said there were no fatalities in the incident and only six people required medical treatment – five Chinese workers and one local. Of the six, four had already been discharged while the remaining two were still at the hospital recuperating.
As an immediate safety measure, he said that all the 432 Chinese workers living at the workers’ lodge had been moved to other accommodations in the area.
The workers comprise a multi-national mix of Chinese, Indonesians, Indians, Myanmarese, Thais, Filipinos, Bangladeshi and Vietnamese, and Malaysians. The lodge has a capacity to accommodate of 4,500 workers.
When asked, Isaac said: “We daresay that our workers’ lodge has set a benchmark in how worker communities can be managed with quality living standards. These measures strictly follow the government mandate to plan and deliver quality accommodation for foreign worker welfare.”
He said it was not appropriate to say that the incident was caused by poor working conditions because the management had met the global standard in terms of providing quality facilities.
The workers’ quarters feature three distinct kitchens namely halal for Malay and Indonesian, Chinese and Indian to ensure that all religious and cultural dietary requirements were met.
“Following our Standard Operating Procedures, the workers are served three hot meals a day with a minimum of 100gm of meat or fish and two servings of vegetable. The menus are agreed every week with the sub-contractors. Even the meals served on site are freshly cooked and served, not packed. There is also a free centralised laundry for the workers – the only one in Malaysia,” he said.
In addition, the lodge had a supply of clean and drinkable water stored in highly-visible new buffer tanks.
“We strongly reject any claims that water is being pumped from a nearby pond for consumption. We acknowledge the concerns on water pressure and pledge to look into it immediately with new pipes being installed,” Isaac added.
He also said that they were about to expand the workers’ lodge in order to provide better facilities to the workers.
He said they were committed in providing high-quality living environment and accommodation, foods and tip-top security in the facility.