PLUS MALAYSIA IS CERTIFIED WITH INTERNATIONAL ANTI-BRIBERY STANDARD
PLUS Malaysia Bhd (PLUS) recieved the internationally recognized ISO37001 Anti-Bribery Management System (ABMS) standard certification recently. This comes just five months after the taking an Anti-bribery and Anti-Corruption (ABAC) pledge in the presence of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) during its Integrity Day ceremony in February.
“I am truly delighted that even during this pandemic, PLUS accelerated the adoption of new ways of working by leveraging on technology to engage our staff, business partners and the public on the importance of upholding integrity. The certification reinforces PLUS’ zero-tolerance position against all forms of bribery and corruption. Our tagline of #pilihintegrititiadatoleransi affirms our belief that there are no compromises when it comes to integrity,” stressed Datuk Azman Ismail, Managing Director of PLUS.
“This certification bears testament to the tremendous effort made towards driving the ABAC culture and mindset to each and every Warga PLUS and demonstrates our commitment and readiness for corporate liability requirement in the Section 17(A) of the MACC Act” said Mr Satpal Singh, Chief Governance and Risk Officer of PLUS
The certification was obtained following extensive audits conducted by SIRIM QAS International, an independent certification body which concluded that PLUS has institutionalised robust and effective processes and practices to prevent, detect and respond to bribery in line with anti-bribery laws.
Leading up to the certification, PLUS had also launched an independent whistleblowing channel on its website, where the public can report real or suspected cases of improper conduct PLUS without fear of retaliation or reprisal. “All reports are highly confidential, and action will be taken to those who do not comply with PLUS’ ABAC Principles” added Mr Satpal.
UEM SUNRISE BERHAD ANNOUNCES ITS FIRST QUARTERLY FINANCIAL RESULTS FOR THE YEAR
UEM Sunrise Berhad (“UEM Sunrise” or the “Company”) today announced its financial results for the first quarter ended 31 March 2020. The Company recorded a loss of RM22 million for the quarter mainly due to the impact of the foreign exchange losses amounting to RM18 million arising from the weak Australian Dollar and South African Rand. Revenue for the quarter decreased from RM419 million in the same quarter last year to RM196 million. The majority of the Company’s projects in 2019 was launched in the second half. This led to lower revenue as these ongoing projects are at the early stages of construction progress during the period under review. Revenue was also affected by lower sales for the period, mainly attributable to the absence of new project launches in the quarter. In terms of revenue breakdown, 78% was contributed by property development, 17% by property investment while the balance 5% was from others. 42% of the total property development revenue was contributed by the Central region mainly from Residensi Solaris Parq in Dutamas, Serene Heights Bangi and Kondominium Kiara Kasih in Mont’Kiara. 31% was from the Southern region primarily by Aspira ParkHomes in Gerbang Nusajaya, 68o Avenue opposite the Southern Industrial Logistics Cluster and East Ledang near Educity; all in Iskandar Puteri, Johor. The balance 27% was from Aurora Melbourne Central and Conservatory in Melbourne, Australia. Sales for the quarter was RM97 million led by Southern developments mainly Aspira ParkHomes, Estuari Gardens in Puteri Harbour and Denai Nusantara near Gerbang Nusajaya representing 48% of the total sales, while 43% was from the Central region largely Residensi Solaris Parq, Residensi Astrea in Mont’Kiara and Residensi AVA in Kiara Bay, Kuala Lumpur. The balance 9% was from Conservatory. As at 31 March 2020, the Company’s unbilled sales stood at RM1.8 billion. It will be substantially recognised over the next two financial years.
Commenting on the financial results, Anwar Syahrin Abdul Ajib, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of UEM Sunrise said, “Approximately 90% of the projects launched last year, in terms of GDV, was offered to the market in the second half of 2019. The progress completion of the majority of these ongoing projects are still at the early stages of construction with completion at the earliest in May 2021 in the case of Aspira Square while the latest tentatively in June 2024 for Residensi AVA. This resulted in a shortfall of revenue consequently affecting our earnings. We had planned to launch the latest phase of Serene Heights Bangi and a new residential development in Iskandar Puteri, but the plan did not materialise as Malaysia enforced the Movement Control Order (“MCO”) on 18 March as ways to curb the spread of COVID-19. This resulted in the closure of our offices and retails, delays in our project launches and puts a stop to our construction activities. Economic movements have already slowed down. The weakened Australian Dollars against Ringgit Malaysia towards the end of the quarter, worked against us”.
Touching on sales, “Our focus is to capitalise on the re-introduction of the Home Ownership Campaign as recently announced by the Prime Minister under the Short Term Economic Recovery Plan or PENJANA and maximise the incentives given under the campaign. Other inducements such as the removal of the Real Property Gains Tax and the uplift of the maximum loan to value ratio of 70% for third properties allow us to access a wider target market. In terms of delivery, we will continue to leverage on digital channels and online platforms in addition to physical project launches. This is key in rebuilding our sales funnel. As at to-date, reservations and bookings are close to RM300 million. 58% is from the Central region projects mainly Serene Heights Bangi’s latest installment of landed midmarket homes; Frischia, which was opened for registration during the MCO and Verdi Ecodominium in Symphony Hills, Cyberjaya. The balance 42% is from the Southern region mainly the yet to be launched mid-market landed Senadi Hills followed by Aspira ParkHomes. Senadi Hills is a new residential precinct with a total GDV of RM399 million featuring double storey terrace homes near Horizon Hills in Iskandar Puteri. We target to launch both Frischia and Senadi Hills before the end of this month and convert these registrations and bookings into signed agreements soon”. “I am also happy to announce that we just acquired another freehold development site at 21-53 Hoddle Street, Collingwood measuring 5,390 square meters in Melbourne. This development is expected to give us a GDV of AUD250 million. International ventures is part of our strategies and we will continue to look for good development opportunities particularly in Australia”. Focused on further strengthening the Company’s balance sheet, “Our balance sheet must be strong to ride the turbulence so that we can work towards normalising profitability. Our cash and bank balance of RM864 million gives us assurance when cash is required whilst our low net and gross gearing of 0.35x and 0.47x, respectively provide headroom to raise funds and borrow more, should such opportunities avail. Our untapped credit facilities is RM1.9 billion as at the end of the quarter including SUKUK of RM1.4 billion. We continue to explore the acquisition of strategic landbanks both local and overseas for the sustainability of the business and remain steadfast in selling non-strategic lands to raise additional cash. We also target to reduce operating expenses through a cost optimisation exercise. On top of that, the incentives under PENJANA coupled with the current low interest rate regime, should augur well for the property market ahead ”.
The Company foresees that its earlier sales and GDV targets of RM2.0 billion each for 2020 are likely to be impacted by the economic uncertainty and is evaluating the targets pending the finalisation of its numbers. Meanwhile, it will continue to exercise prudence in managing the challenging environment.
UEM SUNRISE ACQUIRES PRIME DEVELOPMENT SITE IN COLLINGWOOD
Leading Malaysian property developer, UEM Sunrise Berhad (“UEM Sunrise” or “the Company”), has acquired a prime development site at 21-53 Hoddle Street, Collingwood, for AU$43 million.
The 5,390 square metre inner east site was purchased from Jowett Properties and will be transformed into a mixed-use development by UEM Sunrise. The site is currently home to a Melbourne auto dealership.
UEM Sunrise Managing Director and CEO, Anwar Syahrin Abdul Ajib, said the company was thrilled to secure the sought-after site and embark on its next project in the Australian market.
“Following the success of our Aurora Melbourne Central and Conservatory projects, the acquisition of the landmark Collingwood site signals a new chapter in Melbourne for UEM Sunrise and continues our active presence in the Australian market.
“There’s no doubt that Collingwood has evolved into a go-to residential and commercial precinct, thanks to its close proximity to the CBD, vibrant café culture and wonderful sense of community. UEM Sunrise looks forward to bringing our development expertise and vision to the area, to deliver quality residences and commercial spaces for the Melbourne’s growing population and help stimulate job creation via the project’s delivery,” said Anwar.
The new site forms part of a broader expansion strategy for UEM Sunrise, Anwar also noted.
“The Melbourne commercial and residential sector continues to remain strong despite challenges presented from the global COVID-19 pandemic, with the Victorian Government committed to ongoing development and approval of shovel-ready projects. We are optimistic when it comes to strategic and well positioned opportunities,” said Anwar.
The sale was brokered by Oliver Hay and Peter Bremner from Colliers International in conjunction with Raff De Luise from ICR. Hay said: “This acquisition is a perfect example that well known and sophisticated capital remain active and see positive fundamentals in both the Melbourne residential and commercial property markets.
“We are delighted to welcome UEM Sunrise to the high-profile Collingwood site in what will no doubt be another sterling mixed-use project for the Company. Over the past few weeks, we have noticed a return in confidence in sales activity, particularly by highly experienced property players who are continuing to make new acquisitions in the Melbourne market.
“The Collingwood suburb profile clearly ticks those core fundamentals, including its close proximity to CBD, education and transport, as well as a thriving working-age population which has attributed the suburb with a newborn status as the emerging office and residential precinct,” said Hay.
UEM Sunrise most recently successfully completed its AU$800 million flagship Australian project, Aurora Melbourne Central, located in the Melbourne CBD. The residential component of the project had strong sales success, with 95 per cent of stock selling out within two weeks of launch and 100 per cent of the project sold prior to completion. Aurora Melbourne Central also achieved a 98 per cent settlement rate for its residences to date.
(UEM SUNRISE) DOCUMENTING THE NATION'S RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Publika Shopping Gallery is currently holding a photography exhibition chronicling the early days of the Movement Control Order to curb the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
The exhibition titled 'Bridging the Distance: Making us Stronger' held from 13-30 June showcases the extent of the impact of the MCO and Covid-19 to human lives and their livelihoods and the communities reeling from the aftershocks of prolonged containment. It features a total of 900 images by 75 photographers.
This will be the first exhibition in the country to involve the new norm of conducting a presentation of works of art, with social distancing measures put in place around the exhibits.
"As the developer of Malaysia's premier creative retail mall Publika, we wanted to present and document the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia especially during the Movement Control Order when the country was in near lockdown while the authorities, frontliners and media risked their lives," said UEM Sunrise Berhad Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Anwar Syahrin Abdul Ajib.
"While the pandemic itself was undeniably destructive, the MCO will have lasting effects on many of us in various aspects. Despite that, we can see that the spirit of making do and rising to the challenge, demonstrating the underlying strength and resilience of the people.
"Similarly to our brand tagline of 'Find Your Happy', we have faith in Malaysians' optimism and positivity during these challenging times, and it was evident that everyone emerged out of it with hope intact," Anwar said.
According to Fergana Art founder Jaafar Ismail, "The key imperative of this project is of chronicling visual and textual narratives which aggregates into forming part of the History of Malaysia. Covid-19 is a global viral pandemic in the same class as the Spanish Flu in 1918; hence it is an occurrence that calls for documentation. We chose photojournalism - visual and textual - as the window to chronicle the phenomena since it is widely regarded as the first draft of history."
"The idea of this exhibition is intuitive - as the role of artists and curators is of observing, recording, provoking and invoking issues around life and environment," said Jaafar.
"Photojournalists and writers are logical and natural observers and recorders - being given full and unfettered media access to newsworthy events despite the MCO," he added.
Fergana Art collaborated with The Biddy's, a collective of photojournalists and writers - and as their tradecraft is news gathering, timely responses are natural and crucial when documenting the situation.
"As the documentation project goes into a 24-month phase - we will consider open calls to artists and others who work with different mediums," Jaafar explained.
"We envisage a nationwide tour of discrete versions of the exhibition – hence the title Bridging the Distance," he added. "The end objective is to publish a book about this project -- a testimony of Covid-19, and how a global pandemic catalysed the nation as a whole."
As of what will be the new norm of conducting an exhibition or presentation of works of art due to this pandemic both from an exhibitor's point of view and artists in the way they create works, Jaafar says the Creative Industry will adjust to the demands and prerogatives arising out of this global pandemic as it is about projecting the future and not re-making of the past.
"We also express gratitude to UEM Sunrise Berhad and management of Publika for offering the opportunity and management support in undertaking this project," he concluded.
UEM Sunrise previously contributed personal protective equipment (PPE) and facemasks for healthcare frontliners as well as essential items and groceries to families affected by the Extended Movement Control Order. Together with its collaborative partners, Melati Ehsan Group and Pelaburan Hartanah Berhad, the Company also funded Hospital Kuala Lumpur in their purchase of a ventilator machine.
Recently, it also embarked on a corporate social responsibility effort together with local social enterprise to distribute treats and goodies to the frontliners in Kuala Lumpur and Iskandar Puteri, Johor in conjunction with the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations.
Driven by its brand values of C.H.I.E.F. which stands for Caring, Honest, Involved, Enthusiastic and Fun-Loving and tagline 'Find Your Happy', UEM Sunrise believes in helping its communities and customers to find their happiness and make the best in whatever circumstances.
Event: Bridging the Distance: Making us Stronger photography exhibition
Date: 13-30 June 2020
Time: 10am to 10pm
Venue: The Gallery, Publika
RMCO: ALL SURAUS ALONG PLUS & LPT2 HIGHWAYS ARE RE-OPENED
PLUS Malaysia Berhad (PLUS) has opened its suraus located in all its 24 RSA (Rest Service Areas), including two OBR (Overhead Bridge Restaurants) effective from 10th June 2020, in line with the Government’s post RMCO (Recovery Movement Control Order) announcement.
Highway customers can fulfil their prayer obligations in the suraus along the northbound and southbound RSAs, namely Gurun, Gunung Semanggol, Sungai Perak, Tapah, Rawang, Dengkil, Seremban, Ayer Keroh, Pagoh, Machap, Gelang Patah, including Sungai Buloh and Ayer Keroh OBRs. Similarly along the East Coast, the LPT2 highway suraus at its 3 RSAs ie Perasing, Paka and Ajil (both East Bound) are opened.
“We would like to stress that highway travel in this new normal will consume more time, as safety SOPs will be fully implemented to all who visit our RSAs,” explains Datuk Azman Ismail, Managing Director of PLUS.
“While PLUS conducts body temperature checks at all RSAs, and food hygiene is a priority along with the overall cleanliness of the entire RSA area, including the car park area, we urge everyone to take their own precaution as we are look-out for each other’s safety and wellbeing, in line with, Kita Jaga Kita, advocacy by the Government,” added Datuk Azman.
Inter-state highway travellers are assured that PLUS RSA and OBR facilities are cleansed and thoroughly sanitised. Each Surau praying hall has social distancing markers to establish the 1-metre apart rule. There are also markers at the ablution wash areas as well. Highway customers are encouraged to bring their own prayer mat (Sejadah) and for the ladies, their own prayer attire (Telekung) to ensure personal hygiene is preserved.
Depending on the size and spatial layout of each surau, notification posters of indicative limited number of congregations allowed are visibly affixed and registration is required for contact tracing purpose. All suraus located at PLUS toll plazas remain closed to the public until further notice.
EDGENTA UEMS ‘PRIHATIN MEET’ ROADSHOW AND ENGAGEMENT WITH STATE HEALTH DEPARTMENT IN PERAK
Edgenta UEMS has kicked-off its ‘Prihatin Meet’ internal engagement programme which will involve visits to meet our healthcare support services (HSS) front liners at several hospitals in Northern Peninsular Malaysia. This roadshow type of engagement programme will involve senior management personnel from both UEM Edgenta and Edgenta UEMS conducting onsite visits as part of the company’s annual internal engagement activities with all employees.
The roadshow, which began yesterday at the Ulu Kinta Bahagia Hospital and Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital in Perak, saw several key management members meeting with HSS supervisors and front liners. The sessions were impactful for the management to obtain feedback, suggestions and comments on how things can be enhanced to improve working conditions, as well as provide much needed encouragement to the employees. Additionally, PrihatinLine, a platform designed to receive direct feedback from our HSS employees was introduced during the sessions.
Furthermore, our management team members also met with the Perak State Health Department officials, including its Director, Dato’ Dr. Ding Lay Ming, to show our commitment to ensure all hospitals under our care in the state continue to run optimally at all times and that any matters relating to our employees welfare are managed internally.
The roadshows are an extension of Edgenta UEMS’ Quarterly Townhall, in which a series of site visits are planned to include further engagements with both HSS employees and front liners.
(PLUS) MALAYSIA’S FIRST HIGHWAY CHATBOT, ‘PUTRI’ SAYS HELLO
As Malaysia enters its Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO), PLUS Malaysia Berhad (PLUS) anticipates a surge of traffic along its highways as interstate travel is now permissible.
While the new normal fundamentally means that all the usual conduct and interaction, which we grew up with before MCO will today take longer as the health SOPs, including social distancing will require more time.
Therefore, to alleviate this, PUTRI or PLUS Texting Realtime Interface, a customer engagement chatbot has been introduced to respond to queries that are general in nature with regards to highway travel. To give you an insight on how to engage with PUTRI from the free PLUS app, this short video will show how simple and easy it is for anyone to connect with PUTRI.
PLUS EXPECTS DAILY TRAFFIC TO INCREASE UP TO 15% FROM 10TH JUNE ONWARDS
PLUS Malaysia Berhad (PLUS) has been recording a healthy increase in daily traffic post May 4th when the Government announced the Conditional Movement Control Order or CMCO, with the relaxation of inter-state travel for work and the opening of selected economic sectors resulting in a surge of commercial vehicles for the transportation of essential goods. Since then, the daily traffic has even surpassed the 1 million mark during weekdays and has been steadily fluctuating in a positive manner.
“PLUS is optimistic that the announcement of the Recovery Movement Control Order or RMCO for more commercial sectors will be a boost to the economy, especially with inter-state travel being allowed unabated. We are confident that Malaysians will adhere to the new safety SOPs by the Health Ministry and will conduct themselves accordingly,” said Datuk Azman Ismail, PLUS Managing Director.
“Notably the RMCO lifting of inter-state travel will mean more vehicles plying our highways and we are prepared for the increase, which is expected to be between 10% to 15%. During pre-MCO, PLUS manages a daily flow of traffic above 1.6 million vehicles on daily basis and each major festive celebration the numbers hover around 2 million per day. Hence, the RMCO volume is highly manageable,” explains Datuk Azman.
When the first Movement Control Order (MCO) began on 18th March, PLUS traffic volume dropped drastically. However, that volume steadily increased from May 4th and rose during the last week of Ramadhan to over 1 million vehicles. However, the numbers declined as over 95% complied to staying home during the duration Aidil Fitri festive celebration.
With noticeable increase since 1st June, PLUS anticipates traffic to climb between 10% and 15% vehicles per day, from the first weekend of the RMCO on 12th, 13th and 14th June.
Since the first MCO, the highway R&Rs, lay-bys and toll plazas barred the suraus and F&B operators, with only the public washrooms and parking made available for highway customers. There are visible social distancing markers towards the toilets to remind highway customers to be safe and not mass gather at the R&Rs.
Over the phases of MCO to CMCO, relaxation allowed for selected F&B outlets to operate along the key locations to support the commercial transporters. Also, petrol stations operated to provide refuelling for long-distance travel by heavy vehicles.
PLUS, Pre-Order Meal service was recently introduced through the PLUS Mobile App to enable highway customers to place orders and make payments earlier before they reach and take away food from pick-up points at selected R&Rs to maintain social distancing.
Under RMCO most R&R stalls (including dining areas) will reopen from 15th June and customers can enjoy dining while adhering to the SOPs. All Food Truck services will resume operations at respective R&Rs and lay-bys from 15th June as well. However, all surau facilities are still closed to the public until further notice.
PLUS, R&Rs, lay-bys and toll plazas are regularly cleaned and sanitised to eliminate the risk of the virus transmission since the beginning of MCO as a regular SOP.
To find out the latest updates and information on PLUS highway, customers can download the free PLUS app or log on to www.plus.com.my or contact toll-free PLUSLine 1800-88-0000. They can engage with the first highway Chatbot, PUTRI (PLUS Texting Realtime Interface) for the traffic status, promotions and to help plan one’s journey.
In case of emergencies, the highway patrol unit the PLUSRonda and the Traffic Monitoring Centre (TMC) are on call 24-7 and reachable via PLUSLine 1800-88-0000.
UEM EDGENTA TO CONTINUE ENSURING SERVICES AT HOSPITALS REMAIN UNCOMPROMISED DESPITE MISLEADING ALLEGATIONS BY UNION
UEM Edgenta Berhad (“UEM Edgenta” or “the Company”) wishes to clarify the Company’s position with regards to a gathering which took place at the Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun (“HRPB”), Ipoh, Perak on 2 June 2020.
UEM Edgenta Berhad (“UEM Edgenta” or “the Company”) would like to echo the Ministry of Health’s (“MoH”) stance as delivered by the Director-General of Health on 4 June 2020, to ensure no service disruption at all hospitals under the Company’s care and manage any issues relating to the welfare of its workers are settled internally.
The Company also wishes to reiterate that it has always remained professional in dealings with the National Union of Workers in Hospital Support and Allied Services (“union”).
It is unfortunate that the gathering on 2 June 2020 at the Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun (“HRPB”), Ipoh, Perak took place during the Conditional Movement Control Order (“CMCO”) period, which defied Regulation 7 (1) of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within the Infected Local Areas) Regulations. Actions taken by the authorities relating to the organisation of public gatherings during the CMCO are matters which are neither determined, nor issued by the Company.
UEM Edgenta would like to reiterate that the Company neither contacted the authorities during the unfortunate incident, nor is the Company pressing any charges on them.
Out of the five (5) union members who were detained and charged with defying the CMCO, only one (1) is confirmed to be a current employee of Edgenta UEMS Sdn. Bhd. (“Edgenta UEMS”), a wholly owned subsidiary operating under the Company’s Healthcare Support Division. Based on our internal investigations, the Company has identified that only four (4) who gathered in front of HRPB on 2 June 2020 are hospital front liners, while the rest are made up of external parties and not the Company’s employees. The Company did not stop any of our employees from participating in the gathering as they took personal leave to do so.
The Company wishes to highlight that pursuant to an insourcing arrangement which was discussed within UEM Edgenta, a total of 2,200 cleaners from previous subcontractors became employees of Edgenta UEMS on 1 January 2020. This arrangement was implemented in the spirit of offering better livelihoods to our employees, which among others benefits include:
Permanent employment (cleaners were on contract terms with previous employer)
Improved basic salary aligned with national minimum wage act
EPF contribution of 13% (not enjoyed with previous employer prior to insourcing arrangement)
Healthcare benefits (insurance coverage, group hospitalisation scheme, outpatient)
Paid Annual Leave
Only six (6) individuals refused the terms offered. The acceptance of over 99% of cleaners to become Edgenta UEMS permanent employees is a clear indicator of improved welfare and benefits compared to the front liners’ pervious contract terms which the Company wishes to highlight.
On the matter relating to Edgenta UEMS front liners denied PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic, UEM Edgenta wishes to reiterate that the Company continues to ensure the availability and responsible usage of PPE and that there are stock controls in place to avoid abuse of PPE usage, as well as reduce the risk of pilferage. Supply of PPE was known to have a global shortage in March 2020, an issue which was also highlighted by the World Health Organization (“WHO”) during that period. Nevertheless, the Company took extra efforts to procure PPE to ensure the safety of staff despite significantly higher cost.
Due to the swift action by the Company and prioritisation of worker’s safety over cost, PPE supplies and stocks were adequate since April 2020, and staff had been provided with appropriate PPE based on hospital recommended usage guidelines. There are differentiated usage guidelines for COVID-19 vs non COVID-19 treatment areas due to the level of risk involved following MoH Guidelines COVID-19 Management No.5/2020 (updated on 24 March 2020).
UEM Edgenta is committed to the highest standards of professionalism, honesty, integrity, accountability and ethical behaviour in the conduct of its business and operations. We aspire to conduct our affairs in an ethical, responsible and transparent manner. The Company’s Whistleblowing Policy (“the Policy”) has been formulated to enable employees of UEM Edgenta and members of the public to report instances of unethical behaviour, improper conduct, actual or suspected fraud and / or abuse with the Company. The implementation of the Policy is also in line with the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010, Companies Act 2016, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009, Capital Markets and Services Act 2007, Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, Personal Data Protection Act 2010 and all applicable laws and regulations in Malaysia. Disclosures can be made via the whistleblowing channel on the Company’s website (https://whistleblowing.uemedgenta.com/WhistleBlowerMain.aspx).
The Company has released two statements on the matter prior to this, providing clarity on misleading allegations by the union. The latest statement dated 3 June 2020 is an 11-point rebuttal which is attached in the Company’s distribution for further reference. Due to ongoing developments relating to this matter, any further updates will be communicated through our website (www.uemedgenta.com).
(UEM EDGENTA) UPDATE ON 2 JUNE 2020 GATHERING AT HOSPITAL RAJA PERMAISURI BAINUN
UEM Edgenta Berhad (“UEM Edgenta” or “the Company”) wishes to clarify the Company’s position with regards to a gathering which took place at the Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun (“HRPB”), Ipoh, Perak on 2 June 2020.
The Company would like to reiterate that we always remained professional in our dealings with the National Union of Workers in Hospital Support and Allied Services (“Union”). Actions by the authorities relating to the organisation of public gatherings during the Conditional Movement Control Order (“CMCO”) are matters which are not determined by the Company.
Notwithstanding the circumstances as explained above, UEM Edgenta is committed to provide our clarification on the misleading allegations raised by the Union as follows:
1. Edgenta UEMS (“Ed-UEMS”) has embarked on widespread union busting activities in all its hospitals, attacking union members and worksite committee members.
Since 2015, the Union has been active in advocating for the rights of cleaners employed by subcontractors appointed by hospital support service concession holder, Edgenta Mediserve (sister company of Edgenta UEMS).
NS Medik Sdn Bhd, one of the subcontractors employed by Edgenta Mediserve prior to 2020, entered into a Collective Agreement with the Union on 23 October 2019. The insourcing arrangement undertaken by Edgenta Mediserve (i.e. provision of the cleansing services to be undertaken by Edgenta UEMS from 1 January 2020 onwards) was seen as “Union Busting” by the Union.
This is untrue as the decision to insource was discussed within UEM Edgenta (parent company of Edgenta UEMS and Edgenta Mediserve) for a period of time, which was an internal business decision and it is aimed at:
Improving the quality of service delivery of cleansing in the hospitals;
Adopting an operating model that allows for workers to be employed directly under Edgenta UEMS instead of being sub-contracted. This then allows for better terms to be offered to the workers, examples, permanent employment (instead of fixed term contract) and hospitalisation insurance.
Pursuant to the insourcing arrangement, a total of 2,200 cleaners from previous subcontractors became employees of Edgenta UEMS.
Basic salary was improved to RM1,200 per month (previously RM1,100 per month) from January 2020 (please refer to item 10) and improved hospitalisation insurance (previously not provided). The claim of union busting had been referred to the Industrial Court for mention proceedings. The mention was earlier scheduled at 8:30am on 19 March 2020 but was then postponed due to MCO. We have yet to receive new date for the mention proceeding.
2. Union members especially worksite committee members have been subjected to deliberate changing of their working hours and shifts unilaterally without prior consent from them.
Any changes to be made to the roster is for the purpose of enhancing efficiency of the operations and most importantly the needs of each hospital.
The change of working hours is done in compliance to S60A(1)(d) of Employment Act 1955, Amendment 2012 which stipulates the following:
60A. (1) Except as hereinafter provided, an employee shall not be required under his contract of service to work—
more than five consecutive hours without a period of leisure of not less than thirty minutes duration;
more than eight hours in one day;
in excess of a spread over period of ten hours in one day;
more than forty-eight hours in one week.
Notice of the change has been communicated via a memo to staff dated 11 February 2020. Implementation has progressively started since issuance of the memo.
3. Workers active in the union have also been punished by arbitrarily transferring them out to hospitals far away from their residence.
Edgenta UEMS received a letter from Union on 31 March 2020. Their complaint was about a staff whose roster had been changed from morning shift to afternoon shift without due consideration of her family commitment.
We had investigated the matter. On 26 March 2020, Hospital Kampar wrote an official complaint and requested for the staff to be replaced by a different worker, citing unsatisfactory work performance. In response to the request, we had tried our level best to accommodate by assigning staff to a different shift in the same hospital.
Staff refused citing family commitment and had been very uncooperative. In the end we arranged for her transfer to Hospital Tapah which is 20km away from Hospital Kampar and managed to put her in the morning shift as requested by her. Staff agreed to the transfer and matter had since closed.
The transfer was never with the motive of punishing staff who is active in Union but rather a request from hospital due to unsatisfactory performance.
As company policy, if there is any instance of abuse of power by any staff / supervisor to unfairly treat fellow colleagues, we will take the necessary disciplinary action against the person accused of such abuse.
4. Workers are forced to work longer hours without overtime pay.
This is a false allegation. As per company policy, ongoing practice and per our memo dated 11 February 2020 to employees, if an employee is requested to work beyond their normal working hours, overtime will be paid accordingly, and this is in accordance to labour laws.
5. Forbidding union activities – disallowing union worksite committees to have discussions with workers even during their legitimate break time, threatening disciplinary action against union officials, intimidating workers by taking photos of workers meeting union worksite committee, threatening disciplinary action.
Company policy does not hinder any employees from taking part in any Union related activity as long as it is done outside working hours, in accordance to the procedure and does not affect the continuing operations at hospitals. If the employee is prevented from engaging in such activity, he or she can raise this to a higher-level management as a grievance, and appropriate action will be taken.
During MCO period since mid-March 2020, there are nevertheless protocols for social distancing to ensure safety of hospitals and frontline workers staff, this shall not be confused and taken out of context for accusation of forbidding union activities.
The Company treat these intimidation allegations seriously and will be forming an internal task force to review such allegations. If there is such incident, Company will investigate to ascertain the facts and will take necessary disciplinary action against supervisors who have violated the code of conduct.
6. Blatant discrimination of union members, by not allowing them an opportunity to work overtime to increase their earnings. Employers openly intimidate that those involved in union activities will be denied overtime work.
Overtime work is based on operational needs and is non-contractual. When overtime work is required to fulfil the operational needs, staff who are trained on and familiar with the work requirements of that area are selected. The selection criteria are not based on whether they are union or non-union members.
7. Constant verbal harassment and intimidation by Edgenta UEMS supervisors towards the union worksite committee.
We have not received any specific report on incidents pertaining to this matter. Allegations by Union were sweeping but without details nor evidence. If the employee has experienced harassment or intimidation, he or she can raise this to a higher-level management as grievance, and appropriate action will be taken.
Given the importance of fair treatment, integrity and respect as part of our Company’s code of conduct, the Company will be forming an internal task force to review such allegations. If there is such incident, Company will investigate to ascertain the facts and will take necessary disciplinary action against supervisors who have violated the code of conduct.
8. Furthermore, Edgenta UEMS has denied proper PPE equipment when they clean COVID-19 wards and facilities, putting them at great risk of infection. Inadequate supply of facemask and gloves in particular.
This is not true. Supply of facemask and gloves were known to have global shortage in March 2020. Nevertheless, Company had taken extra efforts to procure PPE to ensure the safety of staff despite significantly higher cost.
Due to the swift action by the Company and prioritisation of worker’s safety over cost, PPE supplies and stocks were adequate since April 2020, and staff had been provided with appropriate PPE based on hospital recommended usage guidelines. There are differentiated usage guidelines for COVID-19 vs Non COVID-19 treatment area due to the level of risk involved following MoH Guidelines COVID-19 Management No.5/2020 (updated on 24 March 2020).
As it is important to ensure responsible usage of PPE to ensure that resources are not wasted, there are stock controls in place to avoid abuse of PPE usage as well as reduce risk of pilferage.
9. Denied special government allowance of RM600 to frontline workers. Edgenta UEMS were only paid a one-off token sum of RM300. Doctors, nurses and other medical staff have been paid the front liner assistance payment, but cleaners are denied this payment.
Ed-UEMS one-off incentive is company’s own initiative to recognise its staff and has no correlation to the government special allowance of RM600. We are disappointed that genuine efforts by company to reward its staff are taken out of context and used by Union to mislead the public that the company has denied staff with any government allowance.
For information, most of Ed-UEMS frontliners would have been recipients of the government B40 incentive (household income below RM4,000 and RM8,000), of which they would be entitled to either RM1,600 or RM1,000 for each household.
10. Workers only earn a minimum wage of RM1,100 per month. No annual increment in wages, so all workers irrespective of their years of service earn only a meagre wage. No increment of eligible number of annual paid holidays or sick leave in accordance with worker seniority.
Union allegation is incorrect. Company had given all cleaners salary of RM1,200 since January 2020 regardless of which hospital they served, despite the Minimum Wage Act gazette outlined about 57 town and cities with effective date 1 February 2020.
As workers are now permanent employees of the company (as opposed to contract worker status with their previous employer), they are entitled to annual wage increment. Annual paid holidays and sick leaves are provided based on years of experience when they joined the company.
11. Discontinuing subsidized transport services for workers to travel to and from hospitals to work, causing further hardship and extra cost to workers.
Our terms & condition of employment does not specify transportation as part of the benefits received by the employees.
Nevertheless, to ensure smooth transition and to allow time for staff to plan for alternative transport arrangement, the transportation arrangement has continued as usual until today for 139 workers who are staying beyond the 30km radius.
The company has terminated one transporter who was ferrying 3 workers to Hospital Bahagia Ulu Kinta (HBUK) in February 2020. The workers were staying less than 30km from the hospital.
As per our letter dated 7 February 2020 to the Union, we will call for a briefing with all the workers if such discontinuation is to take place.
(UEM EDGENTA) COVID-19 WASTES MAKES UP 27.8 PER CENT OF DAILY CLINICAL WASTE IN APRIL
UEM Edgenta Bhd’s wholly-owned healthcare support services (HSS) unit, Edgenta Mediserve Sdn Bhd, is one of the concessionaires appointed by the government through the Health Ministry (MoH) to manage clinical waste from public medical facilities.
According to UEM Edgenta, April 2020 saw the highest amount of COVID-19 waste collected by Edgenta Mediserve since the Movement Control Order (MCO) took effect on March 18, 2020.
“The average percentage of COVID-19 waste collected in April was 15.7 per cent, as compared with 10.6 per cent in March (March 18-31) and 9.7 per cent in May (May 1-15).
“April also saw the highest amount of daily COVID-19 waste collected, accounting for 27.8 per cent of the total clinical waste collected in that month,” UEM Edgenta told Bernama in an email recently.
Under the current concession, Edgenta Mediserve manages clinical waste from 33 government hospitals and nine health clinics in the northern region of Peninsular Malaysia, as well as 12 private hospitals, 694 private clinics and 83 Ministry of Defence clinics throughout Malaysia, including Sabah and Sarawak.
NO STORAGE, NO DOUBLE HANDLING OF COVID-19 WASTE
According to UEM Edgenta, the COVID-19 waste is not classified as clinical waste but as infectious waste, which is suspected of containing pathogens (disease-causing bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi) in enough concentration or quantity to cause disease in susceptible hosts.
Whereas, it said clinical waste is any waste which consists wholly or partly of human tissue, blood or other body fluids, excretions, used drugs, swabs, dressing, syringes, needles or other instruments, as determined by MoH as being waste which unless rendered safe, may prove hazardous to any person coming into contact.
“Therefore, the COVID-19 waste is treated as number one priority in terms of waste to be treated, which means ‘no storage and no double handling’ of such waste.
“And we always ensure that our present treatment facilities are always available during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said UEM Edgenta.
CLINICAL WASTE MANAGEMENT SOPS STRENGTHENED
With over 20 years of experience in operating clinical waste business, Edgenta Mediserve has been capitalising on its technological know-how and best practices to handle COVID-19 waste from cradle to grave.
“We also have strengthened our current standard operating procedures (SOPs) relating to clinical waste management,” it said.
For instance, Edgenta Mediserve’s HSS team must don full-body PPE gear, such as face mask, face shield, apron, and gloves when handling COVID-19 waste as required by MOH guidelines and SOPs.
“The COVID-19 waste is collected using a dedicated wheeled bin which is specifically labelled ‘person under investigation (PUI) COVID-19’.
“In addition, all sites are provided additional collection wheeled bins and are labelled prior to collection,” said UEM Edgenta.
Apart from that, it stressed that all Edgenta Mediserve lorries are installed with global positioning system (GPS) trackers and provided with spillage management kits in the event of an emergency.
“The collection, transportation and receiving at treatment facility procedures are always being re-evaluated and improved based on best practices as well as in consultation with MoH,” it said.
UEM SUNRISE CAUTIONS THE PUBLIC AGAINST INVESTMENT SCAMS USING THE COMPANY NAME AND IMAGE
UEM Sunrise Berhad (“UEM Sunrise” or the “Company”), one of Malaysia’s leading property developers cautions the public against scammers claiming to represent the Company in a get-rich-quick investment scheme.
It has been brought to the Company’s attention that Whatsapp messages have been sent from parties impersonating as UEM Sunrise staff, inviting the public to make deposits for investment in foreign stocks. The message also promised extremely high returns despite a small amount of investment in as little as five hours, and to refer to uemsunrise.com for more information.
While the link is the legitimate corporate website of UEM Sunrise, the Company unequivocally states the claim is totally false.
“The scheme as stated in the Whatsapp message is not in our portfolio or operated by the Company in any form or substance at any level of the organization,” said a Company spokesperson
“Our principal business has been and continue to be property development and property-related businesses. We are investigating the matter and advise the public generally to be vigilant of scammer(s) claiming to be staff of reputable organisations such as ours, and to only refer to official social media platforms and website for the latest information about our products and services,” the Company spokesperson added.
UEM Sunrise’s name and image was also previously used in a Facebook post which has since been removed, similarly to attract deposits for investments into Cryptocurrency Exchange, Derivative Trading Platform and other instruments.