August 28, 2008: According to a press release issued by Polar Twin Advance shareholder Polar Electro, the latter firm has, on humanitarian grounds, offered assistance to the affected Polar Twin Advance employees and has reached an arrangement with the Malaysian non-governmental organization Tenaganita and Boat People SOS to implement “a fair and practical plan to fully address the situation faced by the affected employees.”
Polar Twin Advance, located in Penang, is a joint venture company set up in the late 1990s between Polar Electro, Finnfund, and Twin Advance Sdn. Bhd., a Malaysian company. Finnfund has minimal shareholding in Polar Twin Advance (5 percent) compared to Polar Electro.
Notwithstanding their status as shareholders of Polar Twin Advance, Polar Electro and Finnfund have not been involved in the management of Polar Twin Advance for many years. At the time of the notification of human rights violations, both had been excluded for several years from access to the company or its records or documents relating to its operations or management by Twin Advance and its nominated director, who is also the managing director of Polar Twin Advance.
According to a press release issued by Polar Electro, that firm and the Finnfund have been trying to extricate themselves from their share ownership position in Polar Twin Advance for some years, but have so far been unsuccessful. The firm is also quick to note that since 2005, Polar Twin Advance has not manufactured any Polar products for Polar Electro, nor have they or the Finnfund received any dividends from their investment in Polar Twin Advance or derived any financial benefits from the company for a number of years.
“Mistreatment of employees in any form or manner is totally against all ethical standards and policies of Polar Electro Oy and Finnfund and, upon notification of the alleged mistreatment and human rights violations of the affected employees of Polar Twin Advance, Polar Electro Oy and Finnfund had promptly investigated the complaints, in co-operation with the Finnish Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Tenaganita Sdn. Bhd., Boat People SOS, Inc. and other human rights organizations,” reads the release.
According to the release, Polar Electro has fully carried out its role pursuant to such arrangement.