FOR PLANTATION WORKERS: Central Housing Complex project to be rolled out over next 10 to 15 years
SIME Darby Bhd will be investing some RM2 billion over the next 10 to 15 years on housing projects for its plantation workers.
Sime Darby chairman Tan Sri Samsudin Osman said the initiative falls under its Central Housing Complex (CHC) scheme, whereby plantation workers of a nearby estate will live in a strategically developed location.
The CHC, which was launched last year for the Tennamaram Estate in Selangor, has now been adopted for plantations in Kedah and Sabah.
"The CHC scheme will be rolled out at all local plantations within the next 10 to 15 years with an investment of about RM2 billion," Samsudin said after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak officiated at the launch of Sime Darby's housing scheme for its workers on Carey Island, here, yesterday.
The project was first mooted by Najib after his meeting last year with plantation workers who expressed their wishes to own affordable houses.
The 400 single-storey houses with a built-up area of 800 sq ft each, built on a 16ha plot, are for current and retired estate and mill workers.
In addition to the houses, Sime Darby Property will be building commercial business lots to cater for Kedai 1Malaysia and Klinik 1Malaysia, a multi-purpose hall and a sports complex.
"Our long-serving employees on Carey Island, where we have one of our oldest and biggest plantations, now have the opportunity to own a home for the first time," said Samsudin.
He said in view of palm oil being the fourth largest contributor to the economy, maintaining a productive and effective workforce is a challenge.
"We hope this project will not only enhance the living conditions of existing workers but also encourage potential workers to view this sector more positively," Samsudin added.
He said through Sime Darby's initiatives over the recent years, 4,984 locals have returned to the plantation sector.
There are about 580,00 plantation workers in Malaysia today and about 40,000 are employed by Sime Darby Plantation.