KUCHING: The Sarawak Oil Palm Plantation Owners Association (Soppoa) calls on the government to reconsider the parameters for the Movement Control Order (MCO) for isolated cases of mills or estates.
“The whole plantation fraternity in Malaysia is currently operating within the MCO guidelines and authorities’ directives and in many ways contributing to the country economy and stability,” it said in a statement yesterday.
“We concur with the views expressed by the Malaysian Palm Oil Association and the Malaysian Estate Owners’ Association that an enhanced MCO or shut down should be implemented for isolated cases of Mills or Estates affected by coronavirus while those unaffected ones be allow to continue operation.
“This is to stabilise the workforce who are self-locked down in their respective operation and to prevent a mass exodus of hundreds of thousands of foreign workers prospecting jobs elsewhere leaving a big vacuum in manpower in the current workplace if there is a shut down in operation even when the operations resume again,” Soppoa said.
“There is also an element where by the Covid-19 infection is unintentionally propagated either as carriers or recipients where there is intermingling and contacts between the workers during the movements outside the plantation domain once they leave.”
Soppoa said crop losses in those non virus affected operation will run into the millions as the crop deteriorate while the shutdown continues and would need another few weeks to clean up this discarded rotted FFBs when operation should resumed again.
“This will cause a significant revenue loss to the planters and farmers who need finance to pay their employees and pay off their loans as well as the state government’s loss in the form of CPO sale tax,” it highlighted.
Soppoa shared the same view with the industry on the full commitment to strictly implement the MCO guidelines and MPOB standard Operating Procedures for all estates and mills which are already in place right from the beginning.