KUALA LUMPUR: A palm oil industry player has called for a coordinated approach to deal with the issues in the palm oil industry, including the treatment of foreign labour in Malaysia.

Wilmar International Ltd general manager for group sustainability, Perpetua George pointed out that foreign labour issues were happening in many sectors throughout Malaysia, not just in the palm oil industry.

“I think when you expect only one sector to take action, that is not going to resolve the issue. We also need to get input from the manufacturing and construction sectors,” she said.

During a panel session titled “Palm Oil Sustainability: The Way Forward” at the Palm and Lauric Oils Price Outlook Conference and Exhibition (POC2023) here today, she noted that the oil palm sector has, for years, been scapegoated in terms of the treatment of foreign labour.

She noted that there has also been a failure to recognise the sector’s contributions to rural development, and highlighted that over the years, palm oil companies had provided infrastructures such as accommodations, schools and roads.

She added that during the Covid-19 pandemic, palm oil companies had set up vaccination centres in rural areas.

“We are doing a lot. We need reciprocation, we need guidance from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and the Malaysian Palm Oil Certification Council. We need the government to come and support us,“ she said.

The two-day POC2023, which ends today, was organised by Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Bhd. -Bernama