- Advertisement -

Efforts to end forced labour underway, HR minister says

V Sivakumar says the capacity of labour inspectors will be increased to ensure more prosecutions against employers who commit forced labour.

2 minute read
Human Resources Minister V Sivakumar. Photo: Bernama
Human Resources Minister V Sivakumar. Photo: Bernama

Efforts to eradicate forced labour in the country will be comprehensively increased through the amendment of the Labour Act 1955 (Amendment 2022) which came into force on Jan 1 this year, says Human Resources Minister V Sivakumar.

In a statement today, he said this was in particular through the addition of Section 90B related to forced labour which provides for penalties against employers who commit forced labor offences under the act.

He said this was among the measures taken to combat issues related to forced labour as well as those stated in the assessment by the US Department of State in its Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report for 2023 released yesterday.

Sivakumar said Malaysia welcomed the report which placed the country on the Tier 2 Watch List for 2023, which was an improvement after two consecutive years of being at Tier 3.

He said the role of the labour department would be strengthened through the increased capacity of labour inspectors to ensure that more prosecutions were initiated against employers who committed forced labour offences.

Sivakumar said cooperation with the US would be strengthened through the establishment of a joint working group to improve the country's image, while also ensuring that local products would not be subjected to restrictions, namely a withhold release order by the US Customs and Border Protection Department due to forced labour issues.

He said the government was also cooperating with representatives of trade unions, employers' federations and industries to implement the National Action Plan on Forced Labour (NAPFL) 2021-2025.

This, he said, was in line with the commitment of the country which had ratified the 2014 Protocol to the Forced Labour Convention 1930 (P29) as well as in better dealing with issues related to the management of foreign workers, including establishing strategic cooperation with source countries.