KUALA LUMPUR (March 24): The palm oil industry has implemented and reinforced strict social distancing guidelines at its estates, mills and refinery operations during the movement control order (MCO).
In a joint statement today, the Malaysian Palm Oil Association (MPOA), Malaysian Estate Owner Association (MEOA), East Malaysia Planters Association (EMPA) and the Sarawak Oil Palm Planters Association (SOPPOA) — which cover 80% of the Malaysian palm oil industry — said their members will step up existing measures to ensure that any employees who may have been exposed to the virus prior to the enforcement of movement control order (MCO) are self-isolating.
“Stringent and comprehensive SOPs (standard operating procedures) have been implemented in all our members’ operations and will be reinforced. We termed this initiative as voluntary lockdown and the purpose is to starve the virus of plantation victims,” the industry bodies said.
They added that they are closely engaging with both federal and state authorities to ensure that the latest information on Covid-19 is spread to all of their employees and dependents, in order to keep them abreast of the situation.
They said the immediate notification of Covid-19 incidents are the responsibility of each operating centre, all of which have been instructed to comply with any actions recommended by the authorities.
They were responding to reports of Covid-19 infections in a palm oil estate in Sabah that were connected to an individual that had attended an event in West Malaysia earlier this month.
They emphasised that since the implementation of the MCO last week, all members are to adhere to safety and security standards set in all estates, mills and refinery operations, over and above those announced by the Ministry of Health and the Malaysian Palm Oil Board.
The bodies added that contact tracing and monitoring of the infection in the estate in Sabah are being managed effectively, with the necessary quarantine procedures having been enforced, and with those infected and people who have been in contact with the infected people in isolation.
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