This proposal was made by the Support Committee for Plantation Workers on the ground that this would help ensure that basic amenities such as water, electricity, housing, education and healthcare could be provided by the Ministry of Rural Development which has a development budget.
The Support Committee for Plantation Workers is very unhappy with the exhibition entitled 100 Years of Nation Building - Glimpses of Estate Life at the National Museum organised by the United Planting Association of Malaysia as not depicting the real situation faced by plantation workers and therefore misleading visitors and tourists.
The Support Committee for Plantation Workers has raised a very valid point as the estate workers have fallen to be one of the most depressed and neglected socio-economic groups in the country.
The plight of the estate workers is highlighted when an estate is sold for commercial development, where the retrenched workers are paid only 20 days wages for each year of service, which works out to about RM6,000 for 20 years - which is indeed mere pittance compared with the millions of ringgit the estate owners receive.
The Government should work out a special strategy to ensure that estate workers could enjoy their rightful benefits from the development of the country and not become a new class of victims of development in the country.
I will visit the exhibition on Friday to see for myself how the exhibition has given a false picture about the plight of the plantation workers in the country.