Thursday, 08 March 2012
It is the eve of 8th of March , 4 years ago the Malaysian people created a tsunami in the political landscape of Malaysia where for the first time 5 states were taken over by opposition parties though one year later the BN government through the back door took over Perak.


Though the political landscape has changed and the BN government is trying hard to impress the rakyat, it continuously neglect and exploits one community directly for the sake of profit through their investment arm like Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) and Skim Amanah Trustee Bhd.


Thus, to continue to expose the exploitation in the plantation industry and keep up the campaign for the betterment of the plantation community JSML, JERIT is launching a new Facebook page  titled 

BN sucks the Blood of Plantation Workers”(

The FB page is launched to bring the issues of Malaysian plantation community to a wider group of people and to continue to pressure the government and the plantation company especially SIME DARBY to provide what is due to the plantation workers who have toiled and sweated in developing this country.


Yes, the plantation community in Malaysia is continuously exploited and marginalized for the sake of profit by Sime Darby , where the major shareholders are the government of Malaysia through : Skim Amanah Trustee Berhad – 37.40%,   EPF – 14.09%  and  Permodalan Nasional Berhad – 12.19%.


This exploitation did not start now, it is a 150 years vicious cycle which was started by the British colonialists and is continued by the independent Malaysian government. This is because the plantation industry is very profitable when the workers are exploited and paid pittance.


Prior to 2007, there were several big companies like Sime Darby, Guthrie and Golden Hope which had many rubber and palm oil plantations and made millions in profit. Workers were given below poverty line wages and also when plantation land was developed workers were evicted mercilessly as no alternative housing was offered and workers had to fight for it.

In 2007, all this large corporations merged into one Sime Darby Sdn Bhd, and created a giant plantation company. Sime Darby became a large monopoly mainly in the palm oil exports and has spread its wings to Indonesia and Liberia. On 30th September 2011, Sime Darby Berhad that it acquired ; a pre-tax profit of RM1.5 billion and a net profit of RM1.1 billion.The profit from plantation only amounts to RM933 million


However plantation workers are still paid daily wages which is a colonial structure. Even with the talk of minimum wage of RM 900 now by the government, the status of plantation workers wages is still not determined. The employers are talking about taking away incentives live quarters in plantations and also other basic facilities of RM 900 is made a must to plantation workers also. Doesn’t this bring the workers back to square one? And who owns the Sime Darby, the government of Malaysia. In this instance itself the hypocrisy and the exploitative nature of the Malaysian government is exposed as with one hand they give and as the shareholder the take it away.


The truth about the plantation industry is :

  1. - Plantation workers in peninsular Malaysia still earn between RM400 to RM650 a month. At times this can reduce to RM 350 also as  wages are not linked to productivity but other factors such as weather and yield which is not determined by the workers but they have to borne the risk
  2. - The real income of plantation workers has further diminished because of the impact of rising  costs
  3. - The 1996 demand of the Plantation Workers Support Committee  (JSML)for a monthly basic wage of RM750, as well as yearly increments, has not been met up to now.
  4. - Most estate workers earn incomes that place them below the poverty line as the government propagates poverty rates have dropped in the country.

JSML have presented numerous memorandum to the government on the issue of a fair wage and a modern wage structure to the government over the past 16 years. The government incidentally includes plantation workers in its category of poor, in the Malaysia Plans. But instead of directing plantation owners to pay a fair wage to their workers, it has permitted the import of foreign labor to work in the plantations. This move has only weakened the bargaining power of local estate workers.


It is a shame for developing Malaysia that it is not able to provide a decent wage for the plantation workers who have been the backbone of the country's development even after 55 years of independence. The industry is continuing to keep the plantation community in poverty while the government just looks on and benefits from the profits by making its cronies rich.


If the plantation industry is not able to provide a decent living standard for the plantation community, such as monthly wage and proper housing, then it is better for the government to shut down the plantation industry. There is no need to keep alive an industry that has and continues to generate poverty. We say, shut down the plantation industry, and compensate each worker with land for housing and commercial purposes. This is the only solution to this century old problem.



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