Assessments by two independent groups contradict a WSJ report.
PETALING JAYA: A Malaysia-based verifier and an international palm oil promotion group have cleared Felda Global Ventures Holdings Berhad (FGV) of an allegation that it is involved in human trafficking at plantations in Jempol, Negeri Sembilan.
The assessments by Wild Asia and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm oil contradict a report that appeared in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) last July.
Wild Asia, which is registered as a company in Malaysia, describes itself as a “not-for-profit social enterprise.” It said in a recent report that it did not identify any case of human trafficking at the plantations. Nor could it conclude that “forced labour” – as defined in the SA8000 standard – was prevalent.
SA8000 is a social certification standard for decent workplaces based on the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the conventions of the International Labour Organisation.
FGV Group President and CEO Mohd Emir Mavani Abdullah said in a press statement today that the company hired Wild Asia to carry out the investigation because of its “solid reputation” and its “familiarity with Malaysia.”
“Investigations into the allegations were also carried out by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, the global organisation dedicated to promoting the sustainability agenda in the palm oil industry,” he said.
“Based on these independent findings, we are proud to conclude that there are no human trafficking cases or forced labour on our plantations.”
He said FGV had “zero tolerance” for any form of harassment or abuse.
“As a fair and equitable employer, all foreign workers employed by FGV are accorded the same rights and privileges as Malaysians,” he added.
Mohd Emir also said FGV was “committed to ethical and transparent operations to ensure equitable long-term value for all our stakeholders, including employees, smallholders and plantation workers, without whom we would not be able to function as a business.”
The WSJ report alleged that unsuspecting migrant workers were brought in by human traffickers and used as labourers.
It quoted an unnamed Malaysian lawyer as saying that abuses were common.