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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Thousands of plantation vacancies but no takers

Despite more than 3,000 vacancies in the plantation sector, there are no takers, Malaysian Agricultural Plantation Association (MAPA) executive director Mohamad Audong disclosed Wednesday.

He said MAPA had made provisions to give priority to retrenched local workers to fill the vacancies, but so far, there were no applicants.

Mohamad said Malaysians should change their mindset as working in plantations was a very lucrative alternative as the perks and salaries were also attractive.

The lowest category of worker, that is, general worker, was paid a clean monthly wage of RM600.

For skilled and semi-skilled workers, the pay would vary from RM2,000 to RM3,000 a month.

Besides this, the workers are provided with free housing, transportation, electricity and water.

They are also entitled to medical benefits, Socso coverage and Employees Provident Fund contributions.

Mohamad said that the 400 MAPA member estates were employing a total of 125,000 workers and almost half of them were foreigners.

"However, in line with government policy, we are reducing our dependence on foreigners," he ex plained.

He hoped retrenched Malaysians would consider working in the plantations and help realise the government's policy.

On the ongoing negotiations with the National Union of Plantation Workers (NUPW), he said MAPA was reviewing its collective agreement with the union for the benefit of members who were oil palm harvesters and mill workers.

The NUPW, the country's oldest union, represents 40,000 local and foreign workers in the plantation sector.


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