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While the pandemic forced the Malaysian Government to impose an MCO in March 2020, the oil palm plantation sector was not required to shut down as palm oil is considered an essential commodity. This meant that Kulim was able to continue with our principal business throughout the year.

In doing so, however, we recognised the need to ensure all SOPs were adhered to. Indeed, the safety of our employees became our key priority, and saw us adopt a more vigilant stance on the well-being of our people – at our plantations as well as our office premises.

Meanwhile, certain aspects of the MCO, such as restrictions on cross-border movement, had a significant impact on our operations. Below, we provide an account of how the pandemic affected our value chain while describing actions taken to minimize negative outcomes.





IMPACT ON OPERATIONS

Business Risk Mitigation Strategies
Plantation •Restrictions on cross-border movement leading to labour shortage in our estates and mills
•Delays in construction work and
commissioning of projects
•Collaborated with the Labour Department in Peninsular Malaysia to organise job fairs to attract and recruit more local workers.
•Recruited about 200 Malaysian workers from nearby villages to work in Kulim Group Estates.
•Introduced Working Permit Incentive Scheme of RM100 per month for all foreign workers who prolonged their stay and continued working with us.
•Engaged with Konsulat Jenderal Republik Indonesia (“KJRI”), Johor Bahru, to advise Indonesian workers to postpone their pre-planned departure back home.
• Further enhanced mechanisation to cover more areas of our plantations.
Agribusiness –
Livestock
• Due to SOPs, most of our customers
cancelled their Qurban orders
• Requirement by government for
Qurban to be conducted at approved
Department of Veterinary Services
(“DVS”) sites
•Selai Cattle Project and the plantation division applied for a temporary slaughter house at Basir Ismail Estate. Built for use during Eid al-Adha only, it was approved by the Majlis Perbandaran Pasir Gudang and DVS.
•With this temporary slaughter house, Selai Cattle was able to fulfil demand for Qurban.


EMPLOYEE SAFETY & WELL-BEING

• Daily temperature screenings for employees and visitors; the latter were also required to fill up health declaration forms
• Social distancing measures enforced across our operations
• Regular sanitisation of company vehicles and operation units
• Employees displaying signs of COVID-19 to stop work immediately, consult a doctor at the nearest medical facility, and report outcome to their supervisor
• For cases of potential vulnerability, employees are to selfquarantine at home
• Employees who have been in proximity with a potential carrier to leave the work area immediately
• Additional medical staff were made available at operational sites
• Adherence to MPOA guidelines including:
– Ensuring all workers, including foreign workers, are paid monthly according to minimum wage requirements
– Ensuring sufficient food supplies and medical care at all plantations
• Provide support and reassurance to foreign workers unable to return home during the MCO
• Through our Estate Operation Department and Kulim Safety Training and Services Sdn Bhd (“KSTS”), we conducted RTKAntigen Screening Programme for foreign workers at all operating units from 11-28 February 2021
• Office workforce was reduced to 50%-70% by encouraging staff to work from home
• Provided online counselling for employees affected by COVID-19 through our holding company, JCorp
• Distributed cash to about 200 employees in need following a Kelab Sukan & Rekreasi Tiram (“KSRT”) As-Sajadah COVID-19 donation drive


EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT

We kept employees updated on COVID-19-related news and regulatory requirements through:

• Regular announcements and circulars on:
  • KMB Restricted Movement Order (in both Bahasa Malaysia and English)
  • Travel restrictions
  • SOPs for operating units
  • SOPs on preventive measures and risk reduction
  • SOPs for management teams on safeguarding employees’ health and safety
  • SOPs on workflow
  • Guidelines by relevant authorities such as the Ministry of Health, MPOA and Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities on the handling of COVID-19
  • MCO do’s & don’ts

• COVID-19 daily updates via email and briefings during roll
calls
• Awareness posters shared via email

As a result of our efforts, a survey conducted as part of our social impact assessment revealed that employees felt secure and had no issues complying with the new SOPs.

For office-based employees, we ensured a smooth transition to work from home by quickly implementing a Virtual Private Network (“VPN”), which not only keeps employees connected to work but also connects operating units with our Head Office. Direct access to the Head Office has enabled our operating units to speed up various administrative processes. To engage and communicate in real time with employees at home, we organise online meetings through Microsoft Teams.

CONTRIBUTING TO THE NATION/COMMUNITY

As a responsible company, Kulim also enhanced our community efforts:


• Through Kulim Pineapple Farm, we donated 23,925 kg of fresh pineapple, 1,750 cups of cut fruits and 15,984 cans of Melita pineapple juice worth RM0.11 million to frontliners
• Provided accommodation in Kulim Training Centre, Kota Tinggi, for 80 Army personnel on COVID-19 assignment to assist the Police, commencing 6 January 2021
• Contributed RM0.76 million to Hospital Sultanah Aminah Johor Bahru, government COVID-19 fund, frontliners, hemodialysis patients undergoing Home Surveillance Order for COVID-19, NGOs and the community