Skip to main content
Malaysia's Most Caring Employer Award
Cannot Be A Plantation Firm

On 13/5/2006, the National Level Labour Day Celebration was held , organized by the Human Resource Ministry. In this event, Golden Hope Plantations was awarded the MOST CARING EMPLOYER AWARD! I must say, they have a very effective corporate communications department, one that dishes out tons of information via their annual reports and website. Check out their website at and you will find a darn good website for financials and other news and activities that make them a better corporate citizen. You can do one thousand and one things but if the bulk of your employees are not treated well - you do not deserve the "most caring employer" award.

It matters little if you have a zero burning rate policy (some plantations, especially in Indonesia will burn before replanting thus causing massive pollution) .... it matters little if you have good transparency in revealing financials and in corporate governance ... those are not traits of a "great and caring employer". Those are traits of a company with good corporate governance and a high level of social reponsibility.

Let's look at the employees of Golden Hope (or any plantation firms for that matter). What kind of government would give such an award to a company that has breed poverty among plantation workers over 4 generations! The guaranteed monthly wage is RM325- RM350 per month (US$90-US$98), and even if you were to double that with other incentives and performance related pay, it is still way below the poverty line. Many of our plantation companies make hundreds of million a year - all at the expense of these toiling workers. Sure, they get accomodation, but have you look at the quality of accomodation provided. I thought a "caring employer" would look into the total welfare of an employee, and not be part of a plantation co-op that pay workers pittance compared to company's earnings. There are many ongoing struggles by plantation workers under this company such as Semenyih & Bangi Estate in Ulu Langat, Sogamana and Kinta Kelas estates in Perak and Victoria Estate in Kedah - who are fighting for alternative housing and fair compensation due to eviction. Are we still back in the colonial days, ripping off the locals? Shouldn't there be a minimum wage, like McDonald's, if one is so caring?

The following things / issues are still lacking for many plantation workers: 24-hour water and electricity supply; proper medical care and education for their kids; decent living conditions; a fair living monthly wage; an annual increase; an annual bonus and retirement benefits. Plantation firms will argue that they needed to compete, .... well... so does everybody, but you don't see oil and gas workers getting RM500 per month, do you!!!? Plantation firms are not making tiny margins mind you. For the financial years of 2004 to the projected 2008, Golden Hope's EBITDA margin ranges between 14%-18%, and that's basically the same story for all plantation firms.

Companies have evolved, but these practices at most plantation firms have got to go. How we treat one another, is a reflection on our humanity, personal integrity, fairness and moral values. To be able to blend in profitability, capitalism, social responsibility with an ethos of compassion and generosity of spirit is what every decent company should vie for. We cannot sit idly by and complain that "that's the way things have been done in the past" or "we need to be competitive" as excuses to treat our fellow man poorly.

Certainly none of our plantation firms deserve to be even short-listed for Most Caring Employer awards. People in responsible positions who can do something about this pseudo-slavery situation should take note.


Rohan_888 said…
Yes, it is appalling.

I remember the case of a rubber plantation worker, highlighted in Malaysiakini. Due to the weather he could only work a few days in a certain month, but his contract entitled him to a minimum number of days of salary per month, more than his boss would pay. The worker sued his boss and he did win the courtcase, but the whole affair took about 20 years and the worker had passed away already long time before the final judgement ........

Popular posts from this blog

My Master, A National Treasure

REPOST:  Its been more than two years since I posted on my sifu. This is probably the most significant posting I had done thus far that does not involve business or politics. My circle of close friends and business colleagues have benefited significantly from his treatment.

My Master, Dr. Law Chin Han (from my iPhone)

Where shall I start? OK, just based on real life experiences of those who are close to me. The entire Tong family (Bukit Kiara Properties) absolutely swear that he is the master of masters when it comes to acupuncture (and dentistry as well). To me, you can probably find many great dentists, but to find a real Master in acupuncture, thats a whole different ballgame.

I am not big aficionado of Chinese medicine or acupuncture initially. I guess you have to go through the whole shebang to appreciate the real life changing effects from a master.

My business partner and very close friend went to him after 15 years of persistent gout problem, he will get his heavy attacks at least…

PUC - An Assessment

PUC has tried to reinvent itself following the untimely passing of its founder last year. His younger brother, who was highly successful in his own right, was running Pictureworks in a number of countries in Asia.

The Shares Price Rise & Possible Catalysts

Share price has broken its all time high comfortably. The rise has been steady and not at all volatile, accompanied by steady volume, which would indicate longer term investors and some funds already accumulating nd not selling back to the market.

Potential Catalyst #1

The just launched Presto app. Tried it and went to the briefing. Its a game changer for PUC for sure. They have already indicated that the e-wallet will be launched only in 1Q2018. Now what is Presto, why Presto. Its very much like Lazada or eBay or Alibaba. Lazada is a platform for retailers to sell, full stop. eBay is more for the personal one man operations. Alibaba is more for wholesalers and distributors.

Presto links retailers/f&b/services originators with en…

How Long Will The Bull Lasts For Malaysia

Are we in a bull run? Of course we are. Not to labour the point but I highlighted the start of the bull run back in January this year... and got a lot of naysayers but never mind:

p/s: needless to say, this is Jing Tian ... beautiful face and a certain kind of freshness in her looks and acting career thus far

I would like to extend my prediction that the bull run for Bursa stocks should continue to run well till the end of the year. What we are seeing for the past 3 weeks was a general lull where volume suddenly shrunk but the general trend is still intact. My reasons for saying so:

a) the overall equity markets globally will be supported by a benign recovery complemented by a timid approach to raising rates by most central banks

b) thanks to a drastic bear run for most commodities, and to a lesser extent some oil & gas players, the undertone for "cost of materials" have been weak and has pr…