The Malaysian Trades Union Congress’ Penang Division refers to the statement by Bakke Salleh, the Sime Darby Plantation Bhd executive chairman and managing director, that an implementation of a minimum wage of RM1500 would increase its production cost.
According to its online profile, it was reported that its profits up to 31 March 2018, stated by none other than chairman/managing director Bakke Salleh himself, saw a commendable increase of 93%. In absolute figures, it was reported as RM1.7bn!
It was argued, for the company, that a minimum wage of RM1500 would translate to an increase from the current 26% to 35% in production costs ie an upward cost impact of 9%.
The MTUC Penang Division does not have the advantage of the cost indicators of the company. Nevertheless, being a responsible corporate citizen, the company is obliged to uplift the socio-economic status of its employees.
On this score, we believe that the world’s largest plantation enterprise cannot distance itself from the economic transformation of the working population based on a consideration of a decline in its profit margins.
This company cannot divorce itself from the reality that the lowest segment of citizens is marginalised by the misplaced influx of migrant workers as a lucrative business model of those who were in power in the past.
In conclusion, we demand that Sime Darby Plantation Bhd makes public the salaries and perks that have been accorded to its corporate figures including top management personnel so that the people of this country can draw their own conclusions as to the fairness of the wage parity between the top and bottom levels of employees of the company.
We believe the same disclosure is a must for all government-linked companies.
K Veeriah is secretary of the MTUC’s Penang Division.