Thursday, August 6, 2009

Plantation Worker Issue To Be Discussed At Meeting

KOTA TINGGI, Aug 6 (Bernama) -- A top-level meeting will be held this month among state executive councillors in charge of human resources to discuss issues related to basic facilities and salaries in the plantation sector.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam said Thursday the Plantation Welfare Committee meeting would also be attended by representatives from the relevant agencies.

Housing was among the main issues to be discussed at the meeting, to be held in Putrajaya, he said when launching a new building for the National Union of Plantation Workers here.

He said 66,854 housing units were provided for workers by 2,538 plantations, including those in Sabah and Sarawak, of which only 40,949 or 62 per cent met the minimum standards while the rest were sub-standard and required repaires and renovations.

He said 974 or 56 per cent of plantations provided electricity supply from public sources, while 763 (44 per cent) were still using electricity supplied by the employers, some of whom used bulk meters.

"The electricity supply is charged at commercial rates and this includes that supplied to the workers' homes. This is unfair to the workers because they should be charged domestic rates as enjoyed by other residents," he said.

On water supply, he said 749 plantations (43 per cent) provided water supply from public sources while 988 (57 per cent) supplied plantation homes from private sources.

He also said that the government had allocated financial aid of RM3.4 million under the Ninth Malaysia Plan for the purchase of learning aids for child daycare centres.

So far about RM1,644,113 million had been disbursed to supply daycare centre learning tools to 119 plantations across the peninsula.

He asked the Manpower Department to identify qualified plantations which had yet to apply for the aid to do so before the end of the Ninth Malaysia Plan in 2010.

-- BERNAMA

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