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    Yoursay: Improve work conditions and cut reliance on imported labour

    (Updated )

    YOURSAY | ‘Gov’t should help fund research into automation of the entire palm oil production.’

    Kula abandons idea of bringing in African workers

    Redmann: Our politicians are still wailing infants in political diapers. Experimentation, experience and exposure are needed to get them toilet-trained first.

    But, unwittingly, they were thrust into prominence without the necessary qualifications in wheeling and dealing - the sine qua non of politics and government.

    The Human Resources Ministry needs to focus on how Malaysian workers can be encouraged to participate in our economy. Why not offer attractive wages and perks?

    Understandably, and admittedly, our businesses and its captains of industry need and must realise a profit, but at what cost?

    Inundating the country with imported labour satisfies the commercial aspect of our country's integrity at the expense of forced demographics and illegal overstays and permanent Malaysian families on the quiet.

    Neighbouring Singapore imports Malaysian labour, while Malaysia imports Bangladeshis, Nepalese, Indonesians and welcomes illegal Myanmarese now settled in squatter homeland Bukit Malut, Langkawi for whom the Emperor-King has promised "better housing."

    We need the likes of economists KS Jomo and Edmund Terence Gomez to iron out a plan of action with Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng in tow.

    Importing labour is not the only answer. We should be looking at industrial robotics, a burgeoning industry, that is dedicated to finding solutions to the inevitable dependence on human capital.

    Restaurant chain owners, construction sector titans and other labour-intensive sectors must find ways to lessen dependence on imported workers using advanced robotics.

    The Human Resources Ministry has to consult these professionals instead of taking the easy road. Do the right thing, not the popular thing.

    Vijay47: Apparently, what the local plantation, construction, and other industries badly need is manpower. So we brought in workers from Bangladesh, Myanmar, India, China, Indonesia, Nepal, Vietnam, and Thailand. There was not a squeak of protest from anyone.

    But when there was a suggestion that we bring in Africans to fill the void, all hell seems to have broken loose. Why?

    Not only are we racists, we are also absolute hypocrites. Ah well, another Malaysian record to be proud about.

    Idiocracy: Unharvested palm oil fruit bunches are a consequence of palm oil businesses paying workers peanuts.

    These palm oil bosses make fat profits to build towns and skyscrapers, diversifying into other businesses. They continue to get richer with monies they made earlier from palm oil.

    When palm oil prices drop, the first thing they do is cut workers’ pay. Money they took away from palm oil is never given back to protect workers nor spent to improve sustainable practices.

    Clever Voter: Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran should stop siding with the plantation owners who have made enough money from their investments.

    Try doubling the pay, and one will find many Indonesian workers returning. Try to spend more time figuring out how to move the fruit upstream.

    Rembrandt: Yes, it’s all about the pay. Double or triple their pay with some benefits and see if they will come to work in Malaysia.

    We need to stop the exploitation of foreign plantation workers. It’s a tough job. Pay them well and maybe even the locals will work for you.

    As for Kulasegaran, please think carefully before you speak.

    Anonymous_cdb4fb5d: The government is always thinking of profit for the plantation owners, so it brings in cheap foreign labour to help rich owners make a good profit.

    A caring government will always insist that all sectors employ locals and pay them a decent salary plus allowances.

    Rupert16: The government should help fund research into automation of the entire palm oil production - from plucking the fruits to processing, so that we don’t become over-reliant in foreign workers.

    With the technological skills in operating this specialised equipment, local workers can then deserve higher pay.

    Toffeesturn: For the plantation sector, the best option would be Southeast Asian workers.

    I think we should look at countries like Laos, and possibly Cambodia.

    Things will never improve as long as living conditions and conditions of employment are not raised in the estates.

    To get workers to stay and not abscond, one has to give them the facilities that will make it attractive for them to stay.

    There must be a saving fund for employees, similar to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) that guarantees these employees a sum that will be attractive enough to make them want to stay on.

    The monies in this fund will not be paid should a worker abscond or leave before a period of three years, with the most attractive sum guaranteed after five years. Workers should be able to take home leave of 30 days after completing three years.

    This was a system that was put in place before and found to be very attractive.

    Anonymous_1543475877: Here is a suggestion on how to attract locals and undocumented foreign workers.

    Build reasonable inexpensive living quarters, arrange transportation to and from work, arrange food handlers to open mobile shops for food which should be subsidised, if not free, and pay a special monthly allowance as a bonus so that they can visit family or friends.

    This does not cost much but will attract and retain workers. Kulasegaran must care for the welfare of workers, and be tough on employers.


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