BINTULU: Workers at Press Metal Bintulu Sdn Bhd located at Samalaju Industrial Park (SIP) want more facilities such as housing, commercial centres and eateries to be provided in the area.
Currently, most workers at SIP live either in Bintulu or stay at the workers’ quarters belonging to the various mega factories located in the area.
Those staying in Bintulu have to commute about 60km to work and back.
Nurfatin Syafawani, 25, who is working as an engineer, shared that they usually wake up as early as 5am to catch the bus provided by the company, which departs at 6am.
“Although the normal working hours start at 8am and end at 5pm, we usually reach home at about 7pm depending on the traffic,” she said.
According to assistant manager Ling Ing Hua, 41, the workers at Press Metal knew what they were getting themselves into even before they were employed at the plant.
Ling has been working with Press Metal for seven years and was attached to its Mukah plant prior to his transfer to SIP in 2012.
“All interested candidates will be given a tour of the plant during their interviews so they roughly know what the challenges ahead are,” he said.
Commenting on the lack of facilities, Ling stated: “We do not even have a kindergarten or school provided for the children of our workers”.
Meanwhile, chemical engineer Paul Lawang Belayong, 25, said the two hours spent travelling back and forth to work every day is time wasted.
However, Paul believes the long journey is part of a learning experience as he grows in his career.
“This is my first job after graduating from Universiti Malaysia Pahang; I did not expect it to be easy.
“I am planning to gain as much experience as I could and take the difficulties as challenges that I need to overcome,” said Paul, who is originally from Sri Aman.
He also hoped that the Samalaju Eco Park would at least have grocery shops and eateries for the convenience of workers living in the area.
Currently, there are 12 blocks of apartments in Samalaju Eco Park, a township built to cater to the needs of SIP.
Press Metal Bintulu Sdn Bhd workers will occupy four of the blocks.
They are expected to move in batches starting next month.
Casting manager Kong Teck Wi, 33, shared that although the job at the plant is fast-paced and challenging, it is a good opportunity for them to grow and have better prospects in their career.
This is because the plant is running 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“I hope that the Eco Park will be fully completed as soon as possible so that we have better living environment and be closer to our workplace,” Kong said.
Press Metal Bintulu Sdn Bhd has a workforce of about 2,000. Other companies at SIP are Tokuyama, Asia Advanced Minerals, Asia Minerals and OM Holdings.