Malaysia to propose new chapter on forced labour under Employment Act
Malaysia’s Human Resources Ministry will propose a new chapter on forced labour under the Employment Act 1955 to protect the rights of workers. Human Resources Minister, M. Kulasegaran said the current law was not enough and he planned to get the Cabinet’s approval for the amendment in a week or two.
“We have had consultations with stakeholders and we have brought up the issue of forced labour under the Employment Act as a chapter. “We have spoken at length with all parties interested in this matter, and I am submitting it to the Cabinet in a week or two,” he said during a media conference after a townhall in Putrajaya. He hopes to table the amendments in the coming Parliament session after the Cabinet’s approval.
It has been reported that the United States has blocked the import of goods suspected to have been made with forced labour from five countries, including Malaysia. The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said it seized five different products this week based on information indicating the goods were made using slave labour overseas. The items included rubber gloves made in Malaysia.
Responding to the move, Top Glove Corp Bhd said it does not allow the use of forced labour in its operations. Its chairman Tan Sri Dr Lim Wee Chai said the group was mindful of the need to abide by international standards. “If you want to do business with the US and European countries, we have to follow their rules. I think it (import ban on WRP) is a good direction and it is a wake-up call for Malaysia’s factories or companies to follow certain rules,” he said. Top Glove’s sales to North America rose 20.3% for the financial year ended August 31, 2019, compared with the previous year, on stronger nitrile gloves sales.