FGV Holdings Bhd has voluntarily ceased operations at five palm oil mills within the Sahabat region in Lahad Datu, Sabah, after police enhanced the movement control order (MCO) in the area after 11 Covid-19 cases were detected.
FGV confirmed in a statement today that none of its employees in Sahabat has tested positive for Covid-19. FGV said its operations in the Sahabat region involve 115,432 hectares of plantation, comprising seven mills and 48 estates.
"At two of the five mills, four employees are quarantined as persons under investigation. The other three mills have been closed as a precautionary measure due to their proximity to the affected FELDA operations. FGV is giving full cooperation to the Health Ministry and has immediately advised its employees and their family members to undergo tests if they had been in close contact with any positive Covid-19 patients in the past 14 days, particularly in Wilayah Sahabat.
FGV is fully committed to supporting the Sabah state government’s efforts to contain the pandemic by adhering to “radical and robust guidelines and SOPs (standard operating procedures)" at all of its estates and mills to ensure the risks to the safety and health of all employees are minimised, it said.
FGV reaffirmed in the statement today that its employees’ safety, health and wellbeing are its utmost priority, and it will continue to be vigilant in its efforts to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Since the outbreak, FGV had established a Covid-19 Task Force Committee and implemented a number of preventive measures across all of its operations. Amidst the latest announcement of Lahad Datu district as red zone area, FGV has taken several proactive measures in Wilayah Sahabat in line with the Health Ministry’s guidelines.
"All movements within FGV’s Wilayah Sahabat operations are strictly controlled and monitored. FGV is working closely with PDRM (Royal Malaysia Police/Polis Diraja Malaysia) and has utilised FGV’s Auxiliary Police teams to ensure strict compliance with the state government’s movement control order,” it said.
Yesterday, Bernama reported that the police were enhancing the enforcement of the MCO in Felda Sahabat following the detection of 11 Covid-19 cases in the area so far.
Lahad Datu district police chief ACP Nasri Mansor was quoted as saying that following the instruction from the District Disaster Management Committee, no public movement is allowed in the area.
He was quoted as saying that in line with the directive, all plantation and mills activities in the area will be suspended while the operations of supermarkets, eateries and public markets will be restricted.
According to earlier news reports, FGV was among major plantation companies, comprising Sime Darby Plantation Bhd, Wilmar International Ltd, Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd and Genting Plantations Bhd, which had appealed to the Sabah state government to reconsider its decision to close oil palm operations in Kalabakan, Semporna, Kunak, Tawau, Lahad Datu and Kinabatangan due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
On April 1 this year, FGV said in a statement its appeal took into account the welfare of 871 families in Felda Sahabat and 776 families in FELDA Umas. FGV said their income will be affected as a result of the closure.
“FGV has committed to adhering to all SOPs and guidelines in all FGV estates and mills since the MCO was implemented on March 18 and continues to work closely with all stakeholders to ensure that the risks to the safety and health of all employees are minimised,” FGV said then.
At 11:18am today, FGV’s share price rose one sen or 1.14% to 88.5 sen, for a market capitalisation of some RM3.23 billion. FGV saw some nine million shares traded.