15% more in wages to recruit new Indonesian workers
KUCHING: Plantation companies in Sarawak will have to pay about 15% more in wages to recruit new Indonesian workers soon.
Indonesian consul/counsellor Rafail Walangitan (pic)
said the minimium daily wages of Indonesian plantation workers in
Sarawak would be raised to RM22 from RM19 in three months’ time. The
last revision by RM3 a day (from RM16) was in 2010.
He said the
Indonesian Kuching consulate would only issue job orders to plantation
firms to recruit Indonesian workers if they commit to pay the minimium
are now more than 200,000 Indonesian workers in Sarawak, about 70% of
them are employed by plantation companies. Another 25% work in the
timber industry and the rest include construction and general workers,”
he told StarBiz yesterday.
Rafail believed there were an
estimated 100,000 illegal Indonesian workers, mostly in the state’s
plantation sector, who were paid much lower wages.
example, he said the consulate had to mediate in a demonstration last
week by some 160 registered Indonesian plantation workers in Pusa in
southern Sarawak as they were unhappy with their daily wages of RM14.
said based on RM19 a day, Indonesian workers would earn less than RM600
a month, and that the costs of living in plantation area was high as
the prices of essential goods costed more compared with the normal
Rafail said with the current high crude palm oil (CPO)
prices, plantation companies could afford to increase the wages and
provide more benefits to their workers.
“It is the
responsibilities of plantation companies to share the increased profits
with their employees as workers are their assets.
wages, it is hoped that Sarawak could become a main destination for
Indonesian workers, who now have more choices in view of the many job
opportunities in Indonesia offered by industrial and plantation
development. Many of them now work in the Middle East, Hong Kong and
Taiwan because of the high salaries,” he added.
Rafail lauded Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin‘s
recent statement that a formula should be worked out to improve the
wages of plantation workers, be they locals or foreigners, as what they
earn now was below the poverty line.
Muhyiddin said in Sarawak
last week that the Cabinet had decided to start talks with
government-linked plantation companies, beginning with Sime Darby, to restructure their workers’ wages.
talks is spearheaded by the Human Resources Ministry Wage Consultative
Council. Describing the Malaysian Government’s latest move as a good
gesture to Indonesian plantation workers, Rafail hoped that any upward
revision of wages could be extended to other sectors.
the consulate approved some 20,000 job orders for Sarawak plantation
firms last year, he predicts that the demand for Indonesian workers
could go up this year as Sarawak still faces an acute shortage of
Rafail met with owners of plantation and
timber companies in Miri and Sibu last week to discuss ways the
Indonesian authorities could help to address their labour woes, and
their problems in recruiting Indonesian labour.
Sarawak Oil Palm
Plantation Owners’ Association said recently that the state oil palm
industry was short of between 20% and 30% of its total labour
requirement, and that the labour woes were expected to worsen as more
land is opened up for cultivation.
An estimate of between 10% and
15% of fresh fruit bunches (FFBs) in plantations were reported not
being harvested and left to rot due to labour shortage. Sarawak is
reportedly losing up to RM1bil a year in revenue due to uncollected
Source : Business Times