Malaysian estates call for return of foreign workers
Malaysian palm plantations have urged the government to let foreign workers return, warning of severe damage to the palm-oil industry if it is not granted an exemption from a hiring freeze. The Malaysian Estate Owners’ Association implored the government to consider the survival of the sector and let grower companies that have been unable to recruit locally hire foreign workers immediately. The palm-oil industry in Malaysia, the world’s secondlargest producer and exporter of palm oil, faces a worsening of its chronic labor shortage. It relies on foreigners for 70 percent of its plantation workforce and almost all its field work, especially people from Indonesia and Bangladesh.
Thousands have left the plantations for home as borders closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Reuters