KUCHING: The lack of local workers in the oil palm plantation sector is partly due to the employers’ failure in adhering to the RM800 per month minimum wage requirement.
Head of bureau in-charge of PKR land task force committee Joshua Jabeng said the low wage factor was perhaps the main reason why thousands of local workers sought employment in Peninsular Malaysia and other countries.
“If the plantation companies here were to adhere to the minimum wage requirement, the daily wage of all plantation workers should be RM34 per day assuming workers work six days a week. Even if they work 30 days a month, their wages would be RM27 per day.
“But after conducting random checks in Tatau and Tamin as well as information gathered from other areas in Sarawak, locals only receive between RM12 and RM25 per day which falls directly below the minimum wage requirement – a total manipulation,” he told reporters at the state PKR headquarters yesterday.
State PKR chairman Baru Bian as well as vice-chairmen See Chee How and Boniface Willy Tumek were also present.
On Feb 28, public rallies organised by Gerakan Anak Sarawak (Gasak) at several cities and towns in Sarawak was held to demonstrate local resentment to the government’s move to bring in 12,000 Bangladeshi workers to work at oil palm plantations in the state.
Joshua said the move to import foreign workers came with many risks such as social, security, health and even politics.
“The greatest impact will be felt by the rural folk who will be the front liners in the event of any conflicts. This can easily lead to endless and unwanted incidents when they (locals) feel overwhelmed and their legitimate rights threatened.”
“Sarawak with its extensive land rich in natural resources and a population of 2.8 million people is not in a desperate situation economically to warrant the import of 12,000 Bangladeshi workers,” Joshua