KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 — Malaysia has agreed to ratify the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Protocol 29, which is the protocol to the Forced Labour Convention, as a testament to the government’s commitment to eradicate forced labour.

Human Resources Minister, Datuk Seri M. Saravanan, said that the government has also endorsed Malaysia’s participation as a pathfinder country under the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Alliance 8.7.

“Malaysia is committed to accelerate efforts and work in unison with the international community to eradicate forced labour, and all of these efforts and initiatives are a testament to the Ministry’s and the government’s commitment to eradicate forced labour.

“To ensure that these initiatives are carried out in a structured manner, the National Action Plan on Forced Labour (NAPFL) 2021-2025 is developed,” he said during the launching of the NAPFL 2021-2025 here, today.

Saravanan said with the aim to eliminate the use of forced labour in any and all forms in Malaysia, four strategic goals were formulated, namely focusing on awareness, enforcement, labour migration and access to remedy and support services.

He said that the ILO’s 2017 Global Estimates showed that up to 24.9 million people were involved in forced labour globally, with the Asia Pacific region holding the highest prevalence in which four out of every one thousand people were victims of forced labour.

He added that Malaysia has had its share of forced labour issues too, in which local companies were imposed with export sanctions from the United States and Canada and placement in Tier 3 of the 2021 Trafficking in Persons Report.

“As a trading nation, and as a country that firmly upholds the principle that human suffering should not be tolerated or compromised, particularly involving the welfare of workers, the government has taken various initiatives.

“One of the initiatives is the Working for Workers mobile application or WFW. This app serves as an online platform for all workers to file their complaints and grievances without having to be physically present at Department of Labour offices,” he said.

Meanwhile, in a press conference, Saravanan said that to address the forced labour issue, the ministry placed new pre-conditions to monitor the entry of foreign workers into the country.

He said that any foreign worker agency needed to convince and submit proof to the Labour Department pertaining to suitable accommodation for workers brought into the country.

In addition, to ensure that foreign workers receive their salaries on time, the government will introduce e-wages to monitor such transactions.

“At the same time, foreign workers now have to go through quarantine for seven or 14 days according to the national zone and the vaccine status of the workers, and we will also conduct training where they will learn the customs and laws of this country as well as who to contact if there is a problem,” he said.

In another development, Saravanan said that his ministry had received a draft proposal from Bangladesh to bring in foreign workers from 10 companies from that country.

He said that he had studied the proposal and would bring the matter to the Cabinet within two weeks, for a decision. — Bernama