HR minister: Foreign workers at Top Glove not forced to work overtime

Kulasegaran said inspections by his officers at almost all factories owned by the company here and in Ipoh, Perak found foreign workers in the company were working overtime voluntarily. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Kulasegaran said inspections by his officers at almost all factories owned by the company here and in Ipoh, Perak found foreign workers in the company were working overtime voluntarily. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KLANG, Dec 10 — The Human Resource Ministry has found that there was no element of coercion on foreign workers to work overtime at Top Glove Bhd, the world’s largest rubber glove manufacturer.

Its Minister M. Kulasegaran said inspections by his officers at almost all factories owned by the company here and in Ipoh, Perak found foreign workers in the company were working overtime voluntarily as they want to earn more to send back to their respective countries.

“I do not deny some foreign workers are working longer than permitted under the Employment Act and we will take actions on the matter. The management of Top Glove has given its commitment to overcome the problem but I can assure that no foreign workers were forced to work overtime in the factories as reported,” he said at a press conference after conducting a visit to a factory owned by Top Glove at East Meru Industrial Park here today.   

Also present were Peninsular Malaysia Manpower Department director-general Datuk Mohd Jeffrey Joakim, Top Glove executive chairman Tan Sri Dr Lim Wee Chai and the company's executive director, Lim Cheong Guan.            

The visit and inspection was held following a report by a newspaper overseas which alleged Top Glove forced foreign workers in the company to work overtime.

According to Kulasegaran, investigations by ministry officers since the report was published also found all other allegations written in the daily involved were not true.

“The company carries out all operations according to the relevant act and regulations,” he said.

Last Friday, a United Kingdom newspaper, The Guardian in its report claimed the company oppressed thousands of workers including forcing them to work overtime exceeding 160 hours a month, which was more than the 104 hours overtime stipulated under the Employment Act 1955.

There are about 10,000 foreign workers in 35 factories owned by Top Glove.

According to the report, foreign workers were turned into forced labour by working forced overtime, faced debt problems, were confined and their passports seized.

Following the report, the shares of Top Glove plunged in early trading today, falling 5.93 per cent or 33 sen to RM5.57 with 1.2 million shares changing hands.

Meanwhile, Wee Chai said in the same media conference that there were grave errors in the newspaper report.

“The report said we make a profit of £1 billion (RM5.29 billion) last year, but actually our profit is about RM450 million or around £80 million and the United Kingdom contributes only 0.5 per cent of our sales,” he said.

He regretted the report which was described as irresponsible and that he was prepared to cooperate with any parties locally or abroad to investigate the company. — Bernama

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