Hartalega to reimburse up to RM40m in recruitment fees

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KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 10): Hartalega Holdings Bhd is set to reimburse up to RM40 million in recruitment fees previously paid by migrant workers to employment agents during the recruitment process.

In a statement today, Hartalega chief executive officer Kuan Mun Leong said the firm is committed to enhancing its social compliance policies in line with international benchmarks.

“This is an ongoing process that we always strive to improve on and we are pleased to mark our progress to date with the reimbursement of recruitment fees. This follows our previous Zero Recruitment Cost Policy instituted in April 2019, to protect the welfare of migrant workers and ensure that they are free from any recruitment costs,” he said.

Kuan said the issue of recruitment fees paid to third parties by migrant workers is a complex global issue, requiring multi-stakeholder involvement to reach a solution as it is a shared responsibility.

He added that over the past year, Hartalega had been engaging with multiple stakeholders to find a solution, and towards the later part of 2019, it decided to remediate migrant workers who joined prior to its Zero Recruitment Cost policy.

Earlier this year, Hartalega had appointed a third-party non-profit organisation with a proven track record in social compliance and recruitment fee remediation to conduct interviews with affected workers.

He said despite a delay caused by the movement control order (MCO), these interviews were concluded in June.

“We target to begin remediation by the fourth quarter of 2020, to be completed over the span of up to 24 months. Meanwhile, we are also working with another external independent party to review our remediation plan.

“The wellbeing of all our people has always been of utmost priority to Hartalega, regardless of nationality or background. We are dedicated to ensuring that we continue to progress in our social compliance journey, to safeguard the welfare of our employees."

At 11.40am today, Hartalega shares were down 3.87% or 74 sen to RM18.40, valuing the group at RM63.07 billion.