JAKARTA, SAWIT INDONESIA – Five palm oil groups asked the Sabah government to resume operations and take into consideration that the palm oil industry operates. These groups namely Sime Darby Plantation Bhd (SDP), FGV Holdings Bhd, Kuala Lumpur-Kepong Bhd, Wilmar International Bhd and Genting Plantations Bhd. The state’s decision announced the closure in phases of palm oil operations in the districts of Tawau, Lahad Datu and Kinabatangan.

Sime Darby Plantation Berhad (SDP) shares the concerns voiced by the Malaysian Palm Oil Association (MPOA) and the Malaysian Estate Owner Association (MEOA) over the decision announced yesterday by the Sabah State Government to close palm oil operations in three additional districts in the state. The decision expanded the shutdown of palm oil operations to a total of six districts in Sabah which account for 75% of the state’s CPO production.

“We fully appreciate and understand that the control over the spread of the COVID-19 virus pandemic is being regarded as the top priority of the State Government. At the same time, SDP believes that the initiative on containment needs to be balanced with considerations to not jeopardize industries recognised by the National Security Council (NSC) as essential to avoid potentially adverse and severe implications arising from the decision,” SDP Said

“We are hopeful that the State Government of Sabah will take MPOA’s concerns into account and reconsider its decision. This is in line with the National Security Council (NSC)’s move to allow palm oil companies to continue limited parts of their operations deemed essential by strictly adhering to the conditions and operational guidelines as specified by the NSC,” it said.

Likewise, KLK fully supports this appeal and hopes that the State Government will give due consideration to the concerns raised over its shutdown directive. KLK understands and shares the objective of the State Government to introduce measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Sabah. However, KLK believes that most Plantation companies have already put in place robust Standard Operating Procedures (“SOPs”) coupled with various other preventive measures following the Movement Control Order (“MCO”) on 18 March 2020.

“We urge the State Government to allow the palm oil industry to resume operations and take into consideration that the palm oil industry operates in an open environment with workers employed in large fields where physical distancing can be enforced and is a norm. In addition, an estate management has full control over its premises which could further assist the State Government in enforcing the MCO,” KLK said.

Sime Darby hopeful that the State Government of Sabah will take MPOA’s concerns into account and reconsider its decision. (photo illustrations)

FGV Holdings Berhad (FGV) supports concerns raised by the Malaysian Palm Oil Association (MPOA) and the Malaysian Estate Owners Association (MEOA) over a decision announced by the Sabah State Government to close oil palm operations in three additional districts in the state until April 14.

Closing operations in the three additional districts constituted 65 per cent of the total 1.2 million hectares of cropland and 75 per cent of production in Sabah.

FGV understands the State Government’s concerns on the increasing COVID-19 in Sabah but at the same time, we are concerned about the social impact of the closure. In line with the announcement of the Prime Minister recognising the palm oil industry as an essential service, all operations related to the palm oil industry need to be continued to avoid worse financial and social implications.

FGV also takes into account the welfare of 871 families in Felda Sahabat and 776 families in FELDA Umas, whose income will be affected as a result of the closure.

 

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