Junz: Barisan Government Morally Obligated To Solve SFI Workers Plight

Junz together with other local Warisan leaders join in the picket by the SFI workers at Sipitang Thursday.

SIPITANG: Parti Warisan Sabah has queried the State government as to why it has failed to take any action against trouble-ridden Sabah Forest Industries which is now owned by an Indian company.

Warisan vice president Junz Wong said the government had the moral obligation to look after the interests of Sabah worker and to make sure the foreign-owned SFI comply with the existing laws.

“Though (they are a) foreign company, they operate in Sabah and when they are operating in Sabah, they will have to comply with our labour laws and other related regulations,” he said after a visit to the picketing SFI workers on Thursday.

SFI is owned by Ballarpur Industries Ltd (Bilt), India’s largest paper company.

Junz said he sympathised with the plight of the approximately 1600 Sabahan workers and would do whatever he can to force the relevant agencies to attend to the worsening situation at this one-time state government owned business.

He said he will raise the issue at the upcoming State Assembly sitting so that the voices of the workers can be heard and a solution sought to overcome their dilemma.

The Likas Assemblyman said that he had spoken to the workers as well as their union leaders to get a better understanding of the situation, and expressed shock and disgust when told the State government seemed disinterested in their plight.

Samlih Juaisin, the Warisan chief coordinator for Sipitang addresses the SFI workers, from the back of a pick-up. With him are Junz and Nazib Maidan, left.

“They (union) have pleaded with the Sabah government to intervene in this matter and help resolve this fiasco amicably, but sad to say it remains mum. Even the Barisan Nasional MP for Sipitang and the Assemblyman for Sindumin have have vanished,” he said.

“Whether they are a stakeholder or not, the Sabah government is obliged to look into the plight of the workers as it is the very same government who had allowed foreigners (India) to take up 98% of the SFI shares.”

The Sabah government is understood to still hold a two percent share in the company.

Junz also said that he was told that the Union had briefed State Secretary Tan Sri Sukarti Wakiman on the workers’ plight and yet nothing had come out of it.

Junz Wong to pursue the matter and would raise the issue at the State Assembly when it sits in April.

He was accompanied by the Warisan chief coordinator for Sipitang, Mohd Samlih Juaisin, and other local party leaders including Harunsyah Ibrahim, Nazib Maidan, Hajah Johair Matlani and several others.