Sime Darby launches internal probe into sexual assault allegation

PETALING JAYA: Responding to news articles detailing sexual abuse in the oil palm sector, Sime Darby Plantation Berhad (SDP) today reiterated its zero tolerance policy on any form of sexual or human rights violation, exploitation or any other criminal offence.

A report by the Associated Press, which was published by news outlets such as Al Jazeera and The Japan Times, contained allegations of rape and sexual assault made by a number of women working on oil palm plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Sime Darby says it is committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the more vulnerable members of its workforce.

In the article, a woman working on a Sime Darby plantation said her boss had made sexually explicit comments to her and that he would not only lurk behind her in the fields but also when she went to the bathroom.

Saying it viewed the allegation with “serious concern,” the company added it had begun an investigation and would take the necessary action if it unearthed any evidence of unlawful or unethical behaviour.

Read : Rape, abuses in palm oil fields linked to top beauty brands

In a statement, the company said it was “committed to strictly abide by our robust governance framework as well as our comprehensive list of policies, guidelines, control measures and procedures, all of which have been put in place to protect the fundamental rights of workers, regardless of gender or ethnicities”.

SDP said it was committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the more vulnerable members of its workforce and that the gender committees in all its estates were empowered to work with female workers and independent NGOs.

The company encouraged employees and stakeholders with information about criminal violations to come forward or go to the authorities, and reminded them of the confidential and independent whistleblowing channels available to them such as the multilingual ‘Suara Kami’ (Worker’s Voice) Helpline.

SDP said it would provide updates on the status and findings of the investigation “in due course”.


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