KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has urged Sime Darby Plantation Bhd (Sime Darby Plantation) to be a supporter and pioneer of the government’s efforts to reduce dependency on foreign labour in the plantation sector.

In his Facebook post tonight, Anwar said the approach and technological advancement used by the plantation company should be emulated as a model by smallholders in the future.

Sharing about his working visit to the Sime Darby Plantation’s operation site at Pulau Carey, Selangor, Anwar said he was shown the transformative potential of mechanisation, automation and digitalisation in the oil palm plantation sector.

“This includes the use of new plantation technology and machinery, like autonomous palm fruit picking robots and fertiliser application machinery developed by the company’s in-house expertise.

“SD Plantation is also pioneering advanced technology that is equipped with AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning to reduce the sector’s reliance on manual labour and, thus, attract more young local talents to be involved in the oil palm industry,” he said.

Anwar also expressed his pride after being told of the existence of technologies at the Sime Darby Plantation operations centre which is operated by local companies like eMooVit Technology Sdn Bhd, which is a high-tech company that specialises in autonomous vehicle technology and robotics.

“In its collaboration with Sime Darby Plantation, eMooVit has developed various technologies, including the Autonomous Mechanical Buffalo Grabber (AMBG), which is a driverless vehicle to pick oil palm,” he said.

The Prime Minister said another local start-up company which has partnered with Sime Darby Plantation is Braintree Technologies Sdn Bhd, which assists Sime Darby Plantation in developing an autonomous fertiliser sprayer to ensure the fertilisation process is done efficiently and accurately.

In addition, he also hopes that government-linked companies (GLCs) and government-linked investment companies (GLICs) in the plantation sector will mobilise energy and funds and share ideas with start-up companies to ensure they expand to the international stage and achieve their maximum potential, as envisioned through the MADANI Economy framework.