PETALING JAYA: The Forest City master developer today warned of employment scams and stated it was strongly opposed to slavery and human trafficking when it comes to workers involved in its project in Johor.
“We will not knowingly support or conduct business with any organisation involved in such activities,” said Md Othman Yusof, executive director of Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd, the master developer of Forest City.
“We have always paid our suppliers, contractors and sub-contractors on time and expect them to operate in a responsible, ethical, open and transparent way, and in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
“There is a set of standard operating procedure from the company on illegal employment, which suppliers, contractors and sub-contractors are required to adhere strictly to.
“We will be reviewing our suppliers for adherence to our processes and will not hesitate to take stern action against those found breaching them.
“We are confident this matter will not affect the ongoing construction of Forest City.”
Othman was commenting on a Malaysiakini report that scores of workers from China, brought in to work at Forest City, were left stranded at the airport, waiting for flights home.
It said they had entered Malaysia on social visit passes but were forced to return home after learning that they might have to work illegally or would be paid much less than anticipated.
According to DAP’s Senai state assemblyperson Wong Shu Qi, the Chinese nationals were broke after paying between 10,000 yuan (RM6,300) and 24,000 yuan (RM15,100) to agents in China.
The report said the migrant workers were hired by individuals from China, who were appointed by the subcontractors.
Referring to the report, Othman said Country Garden Pacificview (CGPV) had been made aware of the issues faced by foreign labourers allegedly brought in for the construction of the Forest City development.
“CGPV relies on suppliers, contractors and sub-contractors to support high-quality and efficient delivery of residential and commercial units to home-owners, business owners, and investors.
“The procurement, employment, labour and payroll management of local and foreign labour is under the purview of the contractors and sub-contractors who may have subsequently used employment agencies or agents to secure foreign labour.
“CGPV is not involved in these proceedings.”
Othman said the company, nonetheless, was concerned about the lack of proper documentation as highlighted in the news report.
“In addition, we have also been made aware of scams by unscrupulous employment agents or companies not related to Forest City, who have fraudulently used this high-profile project to solicit potential employees.”
He said CGPV was currently assisting the Labour Department and the Immigration Department in this matter.
Forest City is a futuristic smart city project being built in Johor on four man-made islands spanning 1,385.6ha.
Costing RM100 billion, it is expected to be completed within 20 years and will have a range of facilities, including housing units, offices and shopping malls.