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Digital annual report 2016
Sustainability Report - People
The people side of sustainability has always been one of the key focus areas for Kulim, sharing the global vision for healthy communities, equitable human well-being, articulating ethical responsibility and protecting the vulnerable.

Our people are our greatest asset, as we have often said, and with it is well-reflected in our corporate culture and the way we conduct our daily business. Our people are the source of our ideas, actions and performance, and it is only with the determination and commitment of our people that we can achieve our business and sustainability goals, deliver value to our shareholders and contribute to society. We are, therefore, determined to foster a workplace culture and environment that attracts, retains and develops talented people so that they can reach their full potential and deliver value to our stakeholders.
STAFF STRENGTH


At the end of 2016, we had a total staff strength of 6,926 full-time employees in Malaysia, of which 5,684 or 82.07% were categorised as workers. Another 17.93% comprised management and staff. About 78.48% were foreign workers, predominantly from Indonesia, India and Bangladesh.

In 2016, our turnover rate was 21.33% compared to 25.98% recorded in the previous year. This was mainly attributed to the repatriation of 580 (2015: 676) foreign workers on completion of their contractual obligations.
HUMAN RESOURCE POLICIES

Kulim adheres to a Group-wide policy of treating all its employees with fairness and dignity with our human resource policies governed by Malaysia’s labour legislation and the International Labour Organisation’s (“ILO”) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. At the same time, we are guided by the Code of Conduct for Industrial Harmony, which lays down “principles and guidelines to employers on the practice of industrial relations for achieving greater industrial harmony.”
Policy of Non-Discrimination

We strive to create an inclusive work environment, where we practice non-discrimination against women, ethnic or religious minorities and foreign workers. We have equal pay for equal work for all field, office and management workers based on predefined grades. We have guidelines on HIV/AIDS where workers who have the disease are guaranteed confidentiality and retained in employment as long as they are healthy and able to perform.
Fair Wages
Effective on 1 July 2016, we have adopted the Minimum Wages Order 2016, raising the minimum wage to RM1,000 per month in Peninsular Malaysia and RM920 per month in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan.
Living Conditions
Workers are typically accommodated in a two (2) or three (3)-bedroom house that meets the minimum standard of the Housing and Amenities Act 1990. Appointed staff also conducts weekly inspection of the workers’ housing to ensure that all buildings used for housing of workers, nurseries and community halls are in good operating condition and are not abused.
Termination of Employment
Local workers also have the right to resign without penalty, while foreign workers have to fulfill their three (3)-year contracts as part of the terms and conditions of employment.
Managing Overtime
During the peak harvesting season, mill workers may be required to work longer hours to ensure that fruits are processed before the quality deteriorates. However, care is taken to ensure that workers do not exceed the overtime limits allowed by local regulation and are in compliance with the regulatory guidelines issued by the Department of Labour.
Child and Bonded Labour
Despite the fact that child and bonded labour is illegal, this modern form of slavery flourishes in many Third World countries. As a matter of principle, Kulim does not employ anyone below the age of 16. For many of our workers with families, Kulim provides their children access to schools and amenities
Employee Development
A skilled workforce is essential for the continued success of our business. Our emphasis to strengthening our organisational capabilities continued in 2016. Through a Performance Management System (“PMS”), we strive to promote and improve employee competencies as the quality of our people is our greatest competitive advantage, more than ever in a highly competitive business landscape, and to accomplish the Group’s vision and business expansion plans. Employing outstanding people and providing them the opportunity to maximise their potential, showcase their talents and improve their careers are critical to our sustainability.
Employee Climate Survey
We seek to continually improve the level of engagement with our people through an Employee Climate Survey (“ECS”), which is one (1) of the tools at our disposal to build positive employee relations and a conducive work environment. In the most recent ECS conducted in 2015, it is gratifying to learn that our employees are generally happy with the work environment and are proud to be a part of the Kulim Group. The ECS also provides valuable insights on sustainable staff engagement, measuring critical contributing factors, such as the internal environment, as an enabler of high performance and employee value proposition.


ENGENDERING GENDER QUALITY

Kulim’s commitment to promote gender equality is seeing positive results. Various initiatives rolled out to empower women have been gaining traction. As at 31 December 2016, women made up 11.52% of our workforce and 12.41% of them are at the management level. Notwithstanding the challenges that are involved, we do not discourage nor discriminate against women working on our estates.


Women Onwards
Women OnWards (“WOW”), originally called Panel Aduan Wanita or Women’s Grievance Panel, came into being as part of a larger women employee outreach programme. It has been endorsed by management and its activities are fully funded by the Company. WOW also promotes gender equality and empower women to develop their knowledge and skills.
Sexual Harassment
In 2016, there were 3 cases of sexual harassment reported. Efforts are ongoing to educate and refresh the employees of what constitutes inappropriate behaviour and it is reinforced from time to time. Through a concerted campaign, women are also more aware of their rights and are more receptive to reporting cases of sexual harassment.
Maternity Leave
All our female employees are entitled to 60 consecutive days of paid maternity leave, in accordance with Malaysia Employment Act 1955 Part IX Maternity Protection. In 2016, 19 employees took maternity leave and on returning to work, continued to remain employed with the Company. We are proud of the 100% retention rate as employment patterns suggest that women with a new baby are most likely to leave their jobs after one (1) year. No work with harmful chemicals shall be undertaken by pregnant or nursing female workers.
OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH (“OSH”)


Every employee has the right to work in a safe and healthy work environment. We take our responsibilities regarding health and safety at the workplace very seriously and is critical to the success of our business.

We want to include among our many accomplishments, an occupational health and safety record that sets us apart from the others. Our mission is to manage OSH effectively through the implementation of efficient oversight and regulatory action. This is enforced at all our mills and estates, where a dedicated OSH Officer ensures the effective implementation of the Group’s OSH system. Apart from organising safety training, tool-box safety briefings and OSH quarterly meetings, the Officer’s responsibilities include conducting investigations and reporting all accidents to the OSH Manager.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Kulim strives to build good relationships with the communities wherever we operate. Being active in the community has always been central to our values and our business strategy. We have long been a supporter of various charitable organisations and worthy causes throughout the country. Rallying under the banner, “We Care, We Share” our community investment programme is built on five (5) main pillars: community sports, welfare, education, and health infrastructure development. Naturally charity begins at home and we have set up the As-Sajadah Fund to provide assistance to our staff.

In 2016, Kulim was involved in the following community investment activities:


PINTAR FOUNDATION
The PINTAR Foundation is a school adoption programme with the mandate to contribute towards nation building agenda by targeting under-performing and under-served schools. In addition to the existing three (3) adopted schools, in January 2017, Kulim has adopted another three (3) primary schools – SK Kemedak in Segamat, SKJ (Tamil) Ladang Ulu Tiram in Ulu Tiram and SK Ladang Tunjuk Laut in Kota Tinggi. The three (3) newly adopted schools are located within Kulim’s operation areas.
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