In the past few years, forced labour has become the focal point of labour issues in Malaysia after international media revelations of inhumane working conditions of migrant workers.
The government has taken actions to inspect rubber glove companies and imposed fines on those companies violating labour laws. The Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act was amended in 2019 to cover all employees in the country.
The human resources minister has recently stated that the government would ratify the 2014 Protocol of the International Labour Organization Convention on Forced Labour. The Employment Bill tabled in the Parliament had also included a provision on prohibition of forced labour.
However, the issue of forced labour remains unsettled as the US imposed more bans on Malaysian companies allegedly involved in forced labour. Until today, the US Customs and Border Protection has put five companies on a list of active import bans.
Are the government’s announced policy measures sufficient to address forced labour issues?
Labour Law Reform Coalition has organized a virtual public forum to discuss how to tackle the forced labour issue in Malaysia and provide civil society’s policy recommendations.
- Mohd Asri Abdul Wahab, deputy director general (operational), Department of Labour, Peninsular Malaysia
- Andy Hall, migrant workers’ rights specialist
- Charles Santiago, Klang MP
- Irene Xavier, co-chairperson, Labour Law Reform Coalition
Organised by the Labour Law Reform Coalition