PUTRAJAYA, Oct 4 — The Human Resource Ministry will extend a helping hand to rubber glove employers in carrying out a comprehensive social compliance audit in line with the international standards before it comes into force in 2021, said its Minister M. Kulasegaran.

He said following the United States (US) ban on the import of disposable rubber gloves of Malaysia’s WRP Asia Pacific Sdn Bhd for suspected use of forced labour, efforts to comply with the international laws must start immediately.

“I have consulted with the industry last year and warned of repercussions of forced labour,” he said at a town hall session with the rubber glove industry players here today.

On October 1, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that it had issued Withhold Release Orders on five different products imported from five different countries that were suspected of using forced labour. These include blocking the import of disposable rubber gloves by CBP from WRP Asia Pacific as it believed the company was involved in forced labour.

Last year, Malaysia’s glove maker Top Glove Corp Bhd was accused by UK’s news on the use of forced labour.

“Although the government had already approved the independent social compliance audit report by each industry players and it is a condition precedence before applying for foreign workers to be implemented on Jan 1, 2021, I think it is imminent and prudent (that the requirement is) to be done today itself,” said Kulasegaran.

Kulasegaran said businesses should not wait until 2021 as it was a pressing issue now.

“So my advice for the industry is do not wait until 2021, if you want the business, you need to comply with the rules now and that is why the government is willing to assist you,” he added. — Bernama