Sime Darby Plantation provides opportunities for prison inmates

Supervised persons (ODS) in the oil palm nursery perform tasks such as filling the soil in polybags
as well as to take care of oil palm seedlings.Sime Darby Plantation Berhad had been supportive
of the Malaysian Prisons Department programme since 2018.

KUALA LUMPUR: Inmates are given the chance to have a fresh start in life through the Corporate Smart Internship Programme (CSI) by Sime Darby Plantation Bhd in collaboration with the Malaysian Prisons Department.

The programme, which will be held at Sime Darby's oil palm plantations, provides technical and social skills training for parolees (ODP) and supervised persons (ODS).

Sime Darby Plantation Bhd chief human resources officer Zulkifli Zainal Abidin said since 2018, Sime Darby Plantation Berhad had been supportive of the Malaysian Prisons Department programme.

"We believe it is a good platform to bring about a positive change in our community.

"At the earlier stage of this collaboration, we trained a total of 40 ODPs in Sarawak and currently, we are pleased to provide technical and social skills to ODS through our 'On-the-Job Training' (OJT) programme in Peninsular Malaysia.

"Our approach with this programme is not only focused on building technical skills, but also strengthening social skills by providing participants with the opportunity to interact closely with other plantation workers within a multi-racial and multi-national community," he said.

The inmates are required to carry out general tasks at the oil palm plantations for a minimum of three months and above for ODPs and a minimum of three months and above for ODS.

They are also offered incentives, such as a minimum salary of RM1,100 and overtime pay if they manage to perform their assigned tasks beyond their target.

One inmate, who wished to be known as Awie, 33, said that he enjoyed working at the oil palm plantation.

"During the early stages, it was a lot to take in. However, over time I began to enjoy it," he said.

He also said even though outsiders might look down on manual labour work, he viewed differently since he could gain experience and an opportunity to work.

Another inmate, who wished to be known as Zack, 26, accepted the job offer because of his past experience.

"Previously, I used to work at an oil palm plantation since my family also owns a small estate. I am grateful to be chosen to work with this company," he said.

Another inmate, who wished to be known as Rico, 32, said it was important for ODS to be given this kind of opportunities in the private sector because it would help them to not repeat the same mistakes again when they were released.

Johor state prison commissioner Abdul Wahab Kassim lauded the initiative taken by Sime Darby Plantation Bhd.

"The involvement of an established company such as Sime Darby Plantation in the CSI programme certainly helps to contribute towards the positive development of our society.

"In addition to providing valuable opportunities to the ODP and ODS communities, this programme will instil a sense of confidence and realisation that they can lead a better life in the future," he said.

Source: New Straits Times
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