KUALA LUMPUR | Sime Darby Plantation (SDP) has appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and an independent international NGO that specialises in migrant worker rights as its moves to strengthen its human rights commitments and compliance.

In a statement today, SDP said that PwC was appointed on October 19 to support the company in its efforts “to establish effective platforms and channels of communication to address any concerns or issues surrounding their operations in Malaysia”.

The appointments followed a petition submitted by Liberty Shared (LS) to the US Customs and Border Protection (US CBP) in April 2020 on alleged human rights breaches.

“SDP commits to swiftly take any and all corrective measures required, should there be evidence of any wrongdoing or breach of SDP’s comprehensive policies and procedures that are already in place,” the statement read.

SDP also said the appointment of an international NGO specialising in migrant workers on October 1 is to help assess current recruitment processes, develop better recruitment practices that can be deployed once restrictions have been lifted and propose other corrective measures that can be implemented by SDP to further strengthen recruitment procedures.

“Due to Covid-19 restrictions that have been in place in Malaysia since the first quarter of 2020, we have been unable to recruit new migrant workers. SDP will announce further progress updates on these new collaborations and other measures in due course,” it said.

Earlier this year, Hong Kong-based activist group Liberty Shared submitted a petition to the US Customs and Border Protection, claiming that SDP is using forced and child labour practices and urged an import ban on palm oil products produced by the planter or its associate companies.