KUALA LUMPUR – 21 AUGUST 2020: Plantation estate workers from Ulu Sepetang, Kamunting, Perak, protested in front of the headquarters of Malakoff Corporation Berhad in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur today, to demand an end to forced evictions on plantation lands owned by Malakoff. They urged Malakoff to reconnect the water and electricity supply to the estate workers’ homes. They further asked for Malakoff to start a housing plan for their estate workers, as is practiced by other plantation companies in Malaysia.
Two days ago, on the 19th of August 2020, the management of Windsor Plantation cut the water and electricity supply to the homes of three estate workers whose employment was terminated last year due to their age. These utility cuts were intended to evict those workers from their homes in the Windsor Plantation.
The workers of the Windsor plantation formed a committee to seek a housing plan for all the workers of the plantation. On 31 December 2019 they forwarded a request letter for a housing plan to Tradewinds Plantech Sdn Bhd, who managed the Windsor Plantation on behalf of Malakoff Corporation Berhad. However, they received no response from their letter and instead the ones who were retired are facing inhumane actions that threaten to render them homeless. The workers who are young enough to work also worry that they will also lose their homes when they become too old to work.
Malakoff Corporation Berhad is the largest Independent Power Producer (IPP) in Malaysia. It is a subsidiary of MMC Corporation Berhad, a utilities and infrastructure giant that is one of this country’s most influential companies. Malakoff Corporation Berhad owns around 2,500 acres of land in the Windsor Plantation. The workers are only asking that 3 out of those 2,500 acres be set aside to build homes for the 25 workers there. Housing plans for estate workers have been standard practice for other plantation companies. One example is Sime Darby which owns a plantation in Bagan Serai, not far from Windsor Estates. They agreed to set aside some land for their estate workers for the purpose of building homes for them. It is not a great burden for Malakoff Corporation Berhad to do the same for their estate workers. Instead they chose to act in ways that are cruel, inhumane, and irresponsible.
The demands put forward to the Malakoff Corporation today are:
- to reconnect the water and electricity supply to the homes of the estate workers that had them cut
- to halt all forced evictions of estate workers who spent their lives slaving away to create Malakoff’s profits.
- to negotiate with the estate workers on starting a housing plan for estate workers.
Regrettably, the higher-ups of Malakoff Corporation Berhad acted arrogantly and refused to hear from their workers. Malakoff Corporation Berhad was not even willing to accept a memorandum from their workers today.
The Windsor plantation workers are angry about the arrogant attitude displayed by the Malakoff Corporation today. They have reaffirmed their stand that the company halt all attempts to forcefully evict them. The three older workers who had their water and electricity cut received support and solidarity from their fellow workers, including sharing water and electricity with them. They continue to insist that they have a right to housing.
Several others gathered to offer solidarity to the workers of the Windsor Estate plantation today including Dr. Jeyakumar Devaraj, Chairman of Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), S. Arutchelvan the vice-chairperson of PSM, A. Sivarajan as the Secretary-General of PSM, R. Karthiges as Coordinator of the Jawatankuasa Sokongan Masyarakat Ladang (JSML), and plantation workers from other plantations near to the Windsor Estates.