Sime Darby Plantation’s Statement in Response US CBP’s Issuance of its Withhold Release Order
Kuala Lumpur, 31 December 2020 – Sime Darby Plantation Berhad (SDP) refers to the Withhold Release Order issued by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on 30 December 2020.
We are currently reviewing the CBP’s news release in order to better understand the potential impact, if any, of the Withhold Release Order.
The CBP’s news release does not provide sufficient information to allow SDP to meaningfully address the allegations that triggered the issuance of the Withhold Release Order. Nevertheless, we look forward to receiving pertinent information and working with CBP in order to address their concerns and quickly resolve this matter.
SDP will also continue to engage with Liberty Shared (LS) and other organisations to obtain information regarding the initial complaint that would enable us to take any appropriate corrective actions as required.
SDP is committed to combatting forced labour and has implemented robust policies to protect worker’s rights. These efforts include the appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting Associates on 19 October 2020 to assist us in our continuous improvement commitment. Our engagements with multiple stakeholders have commenced ever since SDP became aware of the petition submitted by LS to the CBP back in July 2020, and have continued regularly with SDP updating stakeholders on all measures taken internally to address any gaps and potential areas of concern as identified by our own internal audit processes.
SDP will always act in the best interest of our stakeholders, particularly our employees, customers, and shareholders. Thus, SDP will continue to engage with the CBP and all persons involved in this matter. The allegations made suggest a breach in the implementation of SDP’s own strict policies. It would be in the interest of all parties, especially our foreign workforce and women employees, if these matters are addressed expeditiously. We hope to be able to enjoy the full support and cooperation of our NGO partners and the CBP to ensure that these vulnerable groups are protected.