Developing Our People

The People aspect of Sustainability has always had a special meaning for Kulim. We share the global vision to build healthy and vibrant communities.

Improving the well-being of the individual on an equitable basis, practising ethical responsibility in dealing with the communities in which we work and play and protecting the vulnerable form the basis of sustainability.

Beginning in our own backyard, our employees are the Group’s greatest assets. The contribution of our people assets to the Kulim’s success cannot be over-stated. We have a great team on board with a diversity of talents, knowledge and experience to take us to where we want to be. We are, therefore determined to foster a workplace culture and environment that attracts, retains and develop our people to reach their fullest potential so that we can continue to deliver value to ourstakeholders.



As at end of 2017, we had a total staff strength of 6,930 full-time employees in Malaysia. Of this total, 5,690 or 82.10% were classified as workers with the remaining 17.90% comprising management and staff. Foreign workers made up 78.95% of the Group’s staff strength, coming mainly from Indonesia, India and Bangladesh. In 2017, we recorded a turnover rate of below 5%, a testament to the Group’s strong retention power.


We strive to inculcate an inclusive work environment, where we have strictly enforced a policy of non-discrimination against women, ethnic or religious minority groups and foreign workers. We also subscribe to the basic labour right of ‘equal pay for equal work’ for all field, office and management employees based on pre-defined grades.



Kulim has put in place a group-wide policy of treating all its employees with the fairness and dignity they deserve. Our human resource policies are governed by Malaysia’s labour laws as well as the International Labour Organisation’s (“ILO”) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at work. We are also guided by the Code of Conduct for Industrial Harmony, which sets forth the “principles and guidelines to employers on the practice of industrial relations for achieving greater industrial harmony”.


To protect our employees from unethical conduct, all employees are expected to abide by the Ethics Declaration Form. We are also committed to the highest standard of integrity,openness and accountability in the conduct of our business and operations. Since 2013, we have put in place a Whistleblowing Policy that encourages staff to come forward with credible information on issues or wrong-doing that merit concern.


Kulim is also implementing the Conflict of Interest Policy, which will reinforce and provide guidelines on Corporate Business Principles by establishing certain non-negotiable minimum standards of behavior in key areas. In the interest of its employees, the Group adopts a zero-tolerance stance on the use of illegal drugs, banned substances and alcohol in the workplace.



Performance Management System

Kulim acknowledges the critical importance of a skilled workforce as a prerequisite for the continued success of its business. Throughout 2017, we continued to strengthen our organisational capabilities. Among our many initiatives, we have in place a Performance Mangement System (“PMS”) that is aimed at promoting a high performance culture. We have also implemented a performance-based Reward System to improve employee competencies. Each year, the targets are reviewed and the bar is raised so as to challenge the Group and employees to achieve the next level of performance.


Job Rotation

The Group’s job rotation and generic training programmes are specifically tailored to bridge the skill gaps of staff at all levels. Our experience has proven that job rotation can increase the depth and breadth of an employee’s knowledge and capabilities, thereby adding value to the organisation. An employee is moved from one job to another handling a schedule of assignments that have been designed to give that individual maximum exposure to a range of the Group’s operations. Apart from learning new skills, job rotation facilitates a better understanding of the organisation as a whole and the functions of its respective operating units and departments.


Engagement Sessions

Building a strong pipeline of leaders is a fundamental part of our sustainability strategy. Millennials are quickly becoming the influential segment of today’s workforce as they reach their peak employment years. They bring with them new perceptions of what office life should be like and how relationships should be structured. Compared with Gen X employees and baby boomers, millennials are more likely to change jobs if they do not believe there are opportunities to move up the corporate ladder. Kulim understands that millennials want their points of view heard and through regular staff engagement sessions, they now have a platform to voice their concerns and expectations.


Up-skilling Programmes

One of the Group’s emphasis in human capital development is to promote a learning environment. In this respect, Kulim has always encouraged interested employees to pursue professional qualifications such as ACCA, CIMA, MIA and Human Resource Certification to enhance their core competencies and to specialize in specific areas that are relevant to the Group’s operations. At the same time, we continued to collaborate with PUSPATRI (Johor Skills Development Centre) to conduct technical courses for our employees.


Each year, we assess the potential and performance of identified candidates through the Johor Corporation Leadership Programme (“JLP”), a two (2) year structured leadership capacity programme. Participants are exposed to business challenges in a variety of scenarios and have the opportunity to share leadership experiences. In 2017, a total of five (5) employees were selected for the JLP Cohort III 2017/2019, the third edition of the programme. The two earlier programmes saw a total of 14 participants.


The Strategic Enhance Executive Development System (“SEEDS”) Programme, which was launched in 2007,has been reengineered and registered with Skim Latihan 1 Malaysia (“SL1M”), coming under the Economic Planning Unit (“EPU”) of the Prime Minister’s Office. The programme aims to develop and enhance leadership amongst the younger generation. The reengineered SL1M programme was launched in December 2016 withan intake of 19 fresh graduates from local higher learning institutions. Another four (4) fresh graduates were picked for the second intake commencing April 2017, while the third intake, which began in July 2017, has a total of six (6) candidates.


Talent Management and Manpower Succession Planning

Succession planning is one of the most important aspects of our human capital development strategy to actualise the Group’s forward plans. Kulim has introduced a revised Talent Management Framework to support its Manpower Succession Plans for key and critical positions in the management hierarchy. The talent management frameworks covers a number of key areas, including identification of candidates with the right potential, talent development programme, mentoring and coaching and placement of the talent pool in core and strategic units to develop the overall exposure.The ultimate goal is to ensure the placement of the right talent for the right job at the right time, as well as to ensure leadership readiness for key position as and when the need arises.



In our commitment tocreate an inclusive work environment, Kulim has rolled out various initiatives to empower women in the workplace. As at 31 December 2017, we had 793 women on our payroll, which constituted 11.44% of our workforce. Of this number, 1.5% were at the management level. Despite the inherent challenges, our policy ofnon-discrimination against women extends to our estate workers.


Sexual Harassment

Efforts are ongoing to educate and remind employees of what constitutes inappropriate behaviours. Through a concerted campaign, women are also more aware of their rights and as a result, have become more open to reporting cases of sexual harassment. In 2017, no cases of sexual harassment were reported.


Maternity Leave

All female employees are entitled to 60 consecutive days of paid maternity leave in accordance with the Malaysia Employment Act 1955 Part IX Maternity Protection. In 2017, 22 employees went on 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 new born babies are most likely to leave their jobs after one (1) year. As a matter of policy, utmost care is taken to ensure that pregnant or nursing female workers are not exposed to harmful chemicals in discharging their duties.


Women OnWards (WOW)

Women OnWards (“WOW”), formerly known as Panel Aduan Wanita or Women’s Grievance Panel, was established 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 provides a platform for women employees to air their grievances and at the same time, it serves to promote gender equality and empower the knowledge and skills of women.

Over the past six (6)years, WOW has been actively providing opportunities for the women in Kulim to become entrepreneurs in their own right under a programme known as Jejari Bestari. A WOW unit has been established in every estate, each one developing a unique product, service or skills such as tailoring, baking, arts and handicraft.These products or services are sold to staff and the public on festive occasions such as Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Company events like the JCorp Carnival, Kota Tinggi Eco Boat Fishing Challenge, Kota Tinggi MTB Jamboree, KotaTinggi Paintball Championship, among others. In 2017, WOW generated an income of around RM56,200, which was plowed back into their fledgling businesses.

For the seventh consecutive year, Kulim has also joined the global movement to celebrate International Women’s Day (“IWD”). Each year, a different theme is selected to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women past and present. In 2017, IWD was held on 17 November 2017 at the KSRT Club house with the theme, “Karnival Hari Wanita Antarabangsa 2017”, attracting over 320 participants.

In a full calendar, a host of other programmes were also organised throughout the year. Apart from “WOW on Weekend” held at Lotus Desaru, WOW was also represented at various expo and carnivals such as Tribute to Woman Malaysia: Lifestyle Fest 2017, Johor Development Expo 2017, Kembara Mahkota Johor 2017 and others. Under Jejari Bestari Programme, WOW has collaborated with Kolej Komuniti to organise classes to impart useful knowledge on various subjects, examples stitching class, table setting and etiquette.

WOW’s efforts in supporting the cause of women have been recognised by industry practitioners over the years. WOW was shortlisted as one of the finalists for the HR Excellence Awards Malaysia 2016 under the Diversion & Inclusion Category in October 2016. In that year, it was also in the finalist for the Employment of Women Award at the 8th Annual Global CSR Summit & Awards ceremony held on 22 April 2016. The latest recognition came on 30 March 2017, when Kulim was the winner of the Empowerment of Women Award (Gold) at the 9th Annual Global CSR Summit and Awards Ceremony 2017.



The International LabourOrganisation (“ILO”) explicitly states that every employee has the right towork in a safe and healthy environment. This basic human right is enshrined invarious laws enforced by the Department of Occupational Safety and Health in Malaysia.

Kulim has an OSH record that sets us apart from its industry peers. We have made it our mission to manage OSH effectively through the implementation of efficient oversight and regulatory actions. This is strictly 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 programmes, conducting tool-box briefings and OSH quarterly briefings, the Officer’s responsibilities include investigating and reporting all accidents to the OSH Manager. All incidents are transparently reported and thoroughly invested so that important lessons can be learnt to prevent or at least reduce recurrence.

However, one (1) person alone cannot effectively carry the safety message or handle the multitude of tasks that crop up each day. We have therefore made OSH every employee’s responsibility, whereby managers and staff work closely together to build an effective safety and health programme. People are the most important factor in significantly improving OSH performance. That is why it is mandatory for each worker to undergo an average of 40 hours or five (5) mandays of safety training in a year. Among others, the training emphasises the handling, application and safe disposal of chemicals. In addition, tractor, lorry and mechanical buffalo operators have to complete 16 hours or two (2) mandays of training under supervision and must pass the required practical examinations to qualify as a certified driver before they are allowed to operate the machines on their own.

In 2017, we have one (1) case reported for fatalities. Therefore, we continues to improve the safety standard with aim to reduce accident cases. The year under review also saw animprovement in the Lost Time Accident Rate (“LTAR”), which was recorded at 3.41 as compared to 3.51 posted the preceding year, keeping us within the target of below 10. Our injury severity was recorded at 3.45, compared to 2.13 registered in 2016. However, it was still within the target we set of below 3.5.

Although great efforts have been devoted to reducing accidents and injuries at the workplace and the Group’s respective OSH indicators show an improving trend, we are aware there is always room for improvement. With the stakes being so high, there can never be room for complacency. We will strive even harder to identify and manage key occupational and safety risks through responsible governance, rigorous controls and compliance systems. This is a shared responsibility of Management and every employee at Kulim.

Kulim has also put in place a comprehensive OSH plan that takes care of the welfare and heath of its employees. Our workers benefit from a range of amenities that are provided, including crèches, clinics and canteens. Regular fogging is carried out to reduce the threat posed by mosquitoes, while proper water treatment facilities have recently been installed as part of our health surveillance programme. The OSH Plan also covers various environmental aspects, the most critical being the adoption and enforcement of the Environmental Quality Act 1974.



In today’s increasinglyinter-connected world, no business can operate as an entity unto itself. For Kulim, this means striving to be a good neighbour and friend, planting roots deep into the communities wherever it operates. Taking an active role in the community has always been central to our core values, identity and our business strategy of putting people first. We play our part in responding to the needs of society and sharing our success to help improve the quality of life in the community.Naturally, charity begins at home and we have set up the As-Sajadah Fund to provide assistance to staff to improve their quality of life should ever the need arise.

At Kulim, we actively encourage our management and staff to be actively involved in welfare work and charity projects. Their response has always been encouraging – with staff at all levels volunteering time and effort and often making personal donations insupport of noble causes. Our community development programmes and activities rest on five (5) main pillars: community, sports, welfare, education and infrastructure development.


In 2017, Kulim was involved in the following community investment activities:




Approximate Contribution


Persatuan Bola Sepak

Negeri Johor

National sports sponsorship to support the development of football in Malaysia


Yayasan Johor


To improve the living condition of the underprivileged community


Raja Zarith Sofiah 

Wildlife Defenders

Challenge 2016

An awareness programme on wildlife conservation for students


Pintar Foundation

Sponsorship for tuition programme and provide

school essentials for six (6) adopted schools


Pintar Foundation

The Pintar Foundation was established in 2008 to spearhead the PINTAR School Adoption Programme. It serves to complement ongoing efforts by the Government to provide equitable access to quality education for all by targeting under-performing and under-served schools.


In 2017, Kulim adopted three (3) additional primary schools – SK Kemedak in Segamat, SKJ (Tamil) Ladang Ulu Tiram in Ulu Tiram and SK Ladang Tunjuk Laut in Kota Tinggi. All theseschools are located within the vicinity of Kulim’s operations and bring the total number of schools adopted by Kulim under the Pintar Programme to six (6).


Kulim extends financial support to its adopted schools, supplementing their education with tuition classes, motivational courses and educational trips. In 2017, we also provided funding to improve the infrastructure of some schools.


We are heartened and encouraged by the progress made by our adopted schools during the 2017 national examinations. The academic scores achieved by the students showed a marked improvement when compared with previous years. On Teacher’s Day, Kulim presented prizes to the high achievers in the national examinations, while their teachers also received a token of appreciation.



Semarak Kasih 2.0 was celebrated on 29 October 2017 in collaboration with degree students from Institut Pendidikan Guru Kampus Temenggong Ibrahim (“IPGKTI”), Johor Bahru with objectives among others, to enhance awareness towards disable people (“OKU”).About 30 participants with special needs OKU from each of Kulim’s operating units also participated at the event.


Among activities that were organized included aerobics and therapy sessions conducted by students from IPGKTI. A highlight of the Day was a “Forum Inspirasi Semarak Kasih 2.0”,which was moderated by Puan Salina Omar from IPGKTI. Other panel members included Puan Zarina Zainuddin (invited celebrity), Puan Widyawina Abd Ghani (Kulim’s representative) and Puan Periakka Rengaya Chinaya (IPGKTI representative).


World Children’s Day was held by Kulim on 24 December 2017 at Kelab Sukan & Rekreasi Tiram (“KSRT”) and was attended by about 300 employees, family members and invited guests. In a carnival-like atmosphere, adults, the young-at-heart and children pitted their skills against one another at various competitions such as futsal, netball,Kulim’s Got Talent Jr, Glorious Girls, Magnificent Boys and Junior Chef. Prizes to lucky winners were handed out by Tuan Mohd Akhir Wanteh, Head of Plantation Division. Tunjuk Laut Complex was announced as the overall champion of the carnival.


Various organisations such as Agensi Anti Dadah Kebangsaan (“AADK”), Perbadanan Taman Negara Johor (“PTNJ”),KPJ College, Bomba, Pejabat Kesihatan Daerah Johor Bahru and MCHM Kolej Hospitaliti & Pengurusan took the opportunity to set up exhibition booths.The WOW chapter of the Sedenak Complex was in attendance to sell delicacies and handicraft items.


Like many corporations across the world, Kulim is taking proactive actions to address a range of sustainable development metrics in its investment and business planning decisions. By focusing on resource management, waste management as well as pollution and emissions monitoring, we play our part in minimizing the environmental impact of our operations.