Report: Country Garden Malaysia cuts hundreds of jobs in restructuring move

Ida Lim
Prospects look at a model of the development at the Country Gardens' Forest City showroom in Johor Baru February 21, 2017. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 22 — Property developer Country Garden Malaysia has let go hundreds of staff since last month amid a restructuring exercise, news portal EdgeProp.my reported today.

According to the report, almost 400 employees were given two options — accept a severance package and leave the company within 48 hours, or leave first and discuss compensation with the firm’s lawyers later.

The report cited an unnamed source as saying the restructuring exercise was announced last October in department meetings.

Country Garden Malaysia’s restructuring exercise is believed to be due to the recent merging of its four subsidiaries here that are carrying out property projects in Malaysia, the report said.

The developer’s projects include the massive Forest City project in Johor, the Country Garden Central Park and Country Garden Danga Bay projects in Johor Baru, Country Garden Diamond City in Semenyih, Selangor, and the Lake City @ KL North.

Country Garden Malaysia told EdgeProp.my in a statement that the downsizing was intended to “cultivate the Malaysian market and have a unified interface within all sectors”.

It said it recently carried out an integration exercise for the Malaysia-Singapore region to merge its Malaysia office (in charge of Central Park, Danga Bay, Diamond City and Lake City-KL North) with its Forest City office.

“During the integration process, the organisation saw the need to manage overlapping skills and talents. Some of the talents were transferred to other departments that fit their skills while some were reassigned to other projects.

“For those who made the decision to leave, their service was recognised with a fair package with consensual understanding between both parties. The process was executed in accordance with Malaysia’s labour laws,” the company was quoted as saying.

EdgeProp.my reported that Jason Fu — the company’s former regional president for Malaysia and Singapore — had left the company earlier this month after the merger and was replaced with  Su Bai Yuan who is both Country Garden’s Forest City CEO and executive director of Country Garden Malaysia’s parent company Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd.  

Country Garden Malaysia reportedly said Fu left to “focus on his personal pursuits”.

According to the report, Forest City had in March 2019 a workforce composed of 1,078 Malaysians and 296 foreigners, and that at least 60 per cent of Malaysian and Chinese employees had been released, and that more were expected to lose their jobs after the Chinese New Year and this March and this June.

The report also cited a document listing 63 cars owned by Country Garden Malaysia units to be auctioned off this February, with the vehicles built during 2011-2018 to have a total reserve price of RM1.92 million.

EdgeProp.my said Country Garden Malaysia responded by saying that this was a standard approach by companies to dispose of company vehicles after a few years, with those exceeding their shelf life to be offered to employees first at below market price through an auction before being sold to the public.

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