Fragmentation of the Suffolk Estate, Sitiawan

The Member of Parliament fro Bandar Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, today issued the following statement:

Fragmentation of the Suffolk Estate, Sitiawan

The Minister of Labour, Tan Sri V Manikavasagam, has many times, inside and outside Parliament, declared that the Alliance Government is opposed to fragmentation of estates because of its adverse social effects in creating unemployment and causing hardships and suffering to estate workers. Un-fortunately, these words do not seem to be accompanied by deeds.

I refer to the illegal fragmentation of the twice-sold Suffolk Estate near Sitiawan. When the 1,158-acre estate, which originally employed 243 workers, was first sold in 1969, 157 workers were retrenched while some resigned.

In December last year, the estate changed hands a second time. Out of the 86 workers re-employed after the first sale, only 49 were employed by the new owners.

Despite these indisputable facts, the Alliance leaders in Perak have denied that there had been any fragmentation.

Since December last year, the 150-odd retrenched workers had been picketting at the entrance of the estate, and this has gone on for five and ahalf months.

The Ministry of Labour has failed to date to help the 150-retrenched workers or stop the illegal fragmentation.

I therefore call on Minister of Labour to personally intervene, and help the 150-retrenched workers. This will be a test case of the sincerity of Tan Sri Manickavasagam and the Alliance Government when they claim that they want to stop illegal fragmentation, and want to help workers retrenched by such illegal and anti-social measures.