Simpang Empat, Sumbar (ANTARA) - The Manpower Ministry has selected 11 of 30 palm oil companies in Pasaman District, West Sumatra Province, to be the recipients of zero accident awards, a local government official said here on Sunday.

The zero accident awards from Manpower Minister M. Hanif Dhakiri for their success in ensuring the absence of work accidents from 2018 to early 2019 would be presented to the companies' representatives in Jakarta on Monday, Handra Pramana said.

According to Pramana, who is in charge of supervising the employment affairs at the West Sumatra provincial government's technical management unit, the ministry's awards show the government's attention to the companies implementing the law on safety in workplace.

The safety in workplaces was so important for each company because employees were legally protected, he said, adding that more palm oil companies in the district were expected to receive the similar awards in the upcoming years.

Among this year's awardees are PT Agro Wiratama POM, PT Agrowiratama Estate, PT Usaha Sawit Mandiri, PT Rimbo Panjang Sumber Makmur, PT Bakrie Plantation ,PT Bintara Tani Nusantara, PT Gersindo Minang Plantation, PT Andalas Agro Industri, PT Pasaman Marama, PT Sari Buah Sawit, and PT Perkebunan Pelalu Raya, he said.

Palm oil has become a hot issue for Indonesia and Malaysia after the European Parliament issued a ban on palm oil-based biofuels.

As a result, an increasingly heated diplomatic row has broken out in recent months between the European Parliament and Indonesia and Malaysia.

The Indonesian Government remains committed to defending the country's palm oil industries because they have a significant contribution to the efforts to decline poverty rate and absorb workforce.

The Indonesian Embassy in Brussels had held a dialog on the palm oil issue at the European Parliament office on April 4 themed, "Palm Oil Free: Facts, Fiction, and Misleading Claims," as part of its efforts at promoting Indonesia's sustainable palm oil.

The dialog was organized to seek wide-ranging views on the palm oil issue in Europe and to propose a unified effort to promote the nation's sustainable palm oil.

Translator: Altas M, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Suharto
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