KUALA LUMPUR, May 16 — The company accused of violating labour laws in a high-profile case involving over 700 Bangladeshi workers which drew public interest earlier this year will likely face court soon.

Malay Mail understands that deputy public prosecutors were inclined to prosecute the firm’s executives for failing to compensate the workers, in violation of a directive from the Labour Department that mediated a settlement between the company and the workers.

“Ten files have been opened after we received complaints that the workers have not been paid and from the ten the DPP has ordered a follow-up on six of them,” a highly-placed source at the Department of Labour told Malay Mail.

“The files pertain to [the firm’s] failure to comply with the department director-general’s directive that the workers be paid in backdated salaries from the date they were supposed to start work. Right now we need the chief complainants to come forward and have their statement recorded,” the source added.


Malay Mail is not naming the firm yet pending a charge in the court.

Over 730 workers, in groups of 10, filed complaints with the Johor Department of Labour after their recruiters failed to deliver the jobs they had paid to get earlier this year, which forced the firm’s executives to negotiate for a settlement.

One of the two resolutions achieved at the February mediation was a payment of over RM1 million in backdated salaries, to be paid latest by March this year. Malay Mail was made to understand that none of the workers have been paid until now.


The four other cases are still being reviewed by the Attorney General’s Chambers, but sources from both the Human Resources Ministry (Kesuma) and Labour Department said they are confident that they too would end up with prosecution.

“It may take a bit of time but it will likely come,” a ministry source said.

Kesuma is expected to issue a statement on the matter soon.

When contacted, an executive with the firm refused to confirm or deny the allegation the company is avoiding paying the Bangladeshi workers what they are owed.

“We just don’t have any information about it,” the executive said when asked by Malay Mail if the company will honour the Labour Department’s directive to compensate the workers.

Human Resources Minister Steven Sim in February had touted the mediation outcome between the 733 Bangladeshi workers and the firm as a “landmark case” that is meant to send a strong signal to industries that have profited from the foreign worker recruitment system.

In a statement to announce the mediation outcome, Sim said the proceeding would set a precedent in other labour-related cases because it involves migrant workers who are brought in here through legal means but are not given jobs once they arrive.

“Employers who are found guilty will be blacklisted by the authorities and the balance of their quota [for worker intake] will be cancelled,” he said at the time.

Migrant rights activists were less receptive to the statement, saying the mediation was far short of the strong action needed to dismantle a foreign worker recruitment system that is enabling “legalised human trafficking” made rampant by corrupt officials.

Several Malaysian companies have faced export bans from Western countries because their products are made from suspected forced labour and Putrajaya is sometimes criticised for its poor effort to combat human trafficking.