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A view of land reclamation next to a newly built hotel in Country Gardens’ Forest City development in Johor Baru February 21, 2017. — Reuters pic
A view of land reclamation next to a newly built hotel in Country Gardens’ Forest City development in Johor Baru February 21, 2017. — Reuters pic

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JOHOR BARU, Sept 1 ― Forest City, the management for Country Garden Malaysia-Singapore Region, has disputed a news report alleging its local manpower has been slashed to a third of what it was in 2019.

Commenting on a South China Morning Post report on the matter, Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd (CGPV) insisted there has not been any large-scale layoff in Country Garden’s Malaysia-Singapore Region.

“Under the current economic situation, there have been an in- and outflow of employees, and the overall staff strength has been maintained at a normal standard with a stable headcount.

“Our company has always followed the relevant laws and regulations in Malaysia to properly handle the employees and other issues,” it said in a statement.

It added that in order to cope with the company’s development strategy, market changes and to continue to develop the Malaysian market, Country Garden Malaysia-Singapore Region would periodically adjust company structure, including the movement of staff.

“This is a normal management measure of the company to consolidate its core strength to enhance its local competitiveness,” it said.

The firm said Malaysia’s Covid-19 situation remained severe, which has affected the construction and operation of their projects as well as disrupted the pace of development.

“Nonetheless, it has not changed our company’s determination and belief in exploring the local market.

“The sales of various projects in Country Garden Malaysia-Singapore Region have maintained a steady development during the pandemic.

“We have also provided online sales and other methods as part of our continuous services to the local customers in the Malaysia and Singapore region, as well as the international customers from other countries and areas,” it said.

Earlier today, the SCMP reported based on sources that Country Gardens has conducted three rounds of layoffs over the past 18 months — leaving it with just 500 staff in Malaysia compared to 1,700 in 2019 — due to slow sales.

In the SCMP report, it attributed the alleged retrenchments to a “triple whammy”, which included Beijing’s reduction of offshore remittances of funds by Chinese citizens, and deteriorating relations between China and Malaysia during former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s tenure in 2019.

The final was the Covid-19 pandemic, which prompted local lockdowns and travel bans that contributed to the low sales involving Forest City.

This was exacerbated in August last year, when the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry announced the suspension of the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) scheme.

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