As Sacked Staff Of Bread Factory Face Bleak Raya, High-5 Explains 24-Hour Termination Notice
Employees of SilverBird group, which makes the popular High-5 brand of bakery products, received a shock when they turned up for work last week.
Workers employed in High 5 marketing and distribution in Shah Alam were allegedly handed 24-hour termination notices when they showed up for work on 22 June last week.
“How are we going to go through Raya with half a month’s salary? This is like a fraud by the company,” Mohd Rosnizam Abu told reporters at a press conference organized by the laid off workers, local online news portal FMT reports.
He also accused the company of not paying Employees Provident Fund contributions for several of the workers had not been paid for eight to 12 months.
In a statement yesterday, High-5 Consolidated Bhd said since the court order required the group to vacate the premises by July 3, it had no alternative but to close down its operations, The Edge reports.
The breadmaker also clarified that although the termination letters were dated 23 June, the date it takes effect is 22 July.
“To improve their opportunity to find alternative employment, we have dispensed with the requirement for most of the employees to report to work during their notice period. A half month advance on their salary for the month of June has also been paid, as assurance to the employees of our earnestness to pay the remaining half month’s salary before Hari Raya.
“In addition, we have contacted other agencies and employees to try to arrange employment for our people. A number of these are foreign nationals and efforts are being made to ensure their wellbeing,” the statement clarified.
The company explained that it was forced to terminate its employees as the premises they were housed in were being closed down by court order. The order was obtained by AmanahRaya Real Estate Investment Trust (Amanahraya REIT), being the property owner, through CIMB Islamic Trustee Bhd, The Edge reports.
The company which was established in 1960 has encountered many upheavals since launching the High-5 brand with a financial scandal involving Tabung Haji making the headlines in 2012.
High-5, whose substantial shareholders include Berjaya Corp Bhd (16.7%), Lembaga Tabung Haji (5.84%) and Koperasi Permodalan Felda Malaysia Bhd (12.7%) had announced the discovery of a RM112 million (which later turned out to be RM297 million) hole in its finances.
PKR secretary-general Rafizi Ramli has publicly accused Tabung Haji of putting its investors funds at risk when it bought shares in Silver Bird Group Berhad (now known as Hi-5 Conglomerate Berhad) without due diligence.
According to Rafizi, LTH paid RM98 million for 90.483 million shares in Silver Bird Group, becoming its largest shareholder in 2007, followed by business tycoon Berjaya Group’s Tan Sri Vincent Tan.
The threat of bankruptcy loomed when the company slid into the category of a Practice Note 17 (PN17) company and its securities delisted from Bursa Malaysia in 2014 after it failed to meet certain financial obligations.