Malaysian companies face US forced labor bans summoned by ministry

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 30 (Reuters) – Malaysia’s human resources ministry said on Sunday it would call all companies facing import bans into the United States over alleged forced labor practices to discuss action immediately to respond to the allegations.

Malaysian factories, which include major suppliers of palm oil and medical gloves, have come under increased scrutiny due to allegations of abuse of migrant workers, who make up a large part of the workforce. of manufacturing in the country.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said on Friday it would ban imports from disposable glove maker YTY Group based on reports the company uses forced labor, the seventh such ban imposed on a Malaysian company in two years.

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The agency also determined that Malaysian palm oil producer Sime Darby Plantation Bhd (SIPL.KL) uses forced labor in its operations and that company assets have been subject to seizure.

Malaysian Human Resources Minister Saravanan said on Sunday he would meet with all companies facing import bans in the United States, as well as two glove manufacturers – WRP Asia Pacific and Top Glove Corp. – who had had their bans lifted by CBP.

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

Saravanan said he also ordered an immediate investigation into the allegations by the Department of Human Resources and the Department of Labor, and warned of harsh action against companies that have failed to improve their practices.

The minister acknowledged that allegations of forced labor against Malaysian companies had shaken investor confidence in the country.

Malaysia last year announced a national action plan on forced labor to eliminate abusive practices such as debt bondage, unsanitary dormitories for workers and excessive overtime, by 2030.

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Reporting by Rozanna Latiff. Editing by Gerry Doyle

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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