Malaysia: Ministry summons firms facing US bans over forced labour


Malaysia’s Human Resources Ministry on Sunday said it would call in all companies facing US import bans to discuss immediate action to address the allegations, after the US announced barring  exports from a Malaysian-owned glove company over forced labour concerns.

In recent years, Malaysian companies have been under increased scrutiny over allegations of abuse of migrant workers, who make up a significant part of the country’s manufacturing workforce.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said on Friday it would bar imports from disposable glove maker YTY Group based on information indicating that the firm used forced labour – the seventh such ban on a Malaysian company in two years.

The agency also determined that Malaysian palm oil producer Sime Darby Plantation uses forced labour in its operations and that the company’s goods were subject to seizure.

Malaysian Human Resources Minister M Saravanan said on Sunday he would meet with all firms facing import bans in the United States, along with two glove makers – WRP Asia Pacific and Top Glove – that had seen their bans lifted by the CBP.

“The approaches implemented by these two companies can be used as guidelines and improvements for other firms,” Saravanan said in a statement.

Saravanan said he had also ordered an immediate inquiry into the allegations by the Ministry of Human Resources and Department of Labour, and warned of stern action against companies that failed to improve their practices.

The minister had acknowledged that forced labour allegations against Malaysian firms affected investors’ confidence in the country.

Malaysia last year announced a National Action Plan on Forced Labour to eliminate abusive practices such as debt bondage, unhygienic dormitories for workers and excessive overtime by 2030. (Source: CNA)