Malaysia to charge Top Glove over worker accommodations after Covid-19 outbreak, government says

Investigators found accommodations to be cramped, uncomfortable, with poor ventilation and a lack of rest and kitchen areas. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) - Malaysia said on Tuesday (Dec 1) that it had opened an investigation and would take legal action against world's largest glove manufacturer, Top Glove Corp, after finding that the firm did not comply with standards for worker accommodations.

The Ministry of Human Resources' Labour Department said in a briefing that enforcement operations were carried out last week at six of Top Glove's companies in five states, investigating conditions at worker accommodations and hostels.

Nineteen investigations have been opened and the department has recommended charges against the manufacturer, but it did not specify how many.

The department said the operations were prompted by a Covid-19 outbreak at a Top Glove factory in an industrial area near Kuala Lumpur last month.

Investigators found the accommodations to be cramped, uncomfortable, to have poor ventilation and to lack rest and kitchen areas, Department of Labour Peninsular Malaysia Director-General Asri Ab Rahman told reporters.

He said that charges would be filed, and that the department would continue to conduct such operations from time to time.

"There is concern at the ministry and pressure on the department to ensure that worker accommodations provided do not become the source of spreading diseases, and that does not become the reason the country is convicted of forced labour," he said.

Malaysia shut down some of Top Glove's factories in stages last week to facilitate screening and quarantining employees for the coronavirus.

Tighter curbs on movement, in place since Nov 14, in the areas where the factories and hostels are located have been extended to Dec 14.

A total of 3,406 Top Glove workers have tested positive by Monday.

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