PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran said it was untrue that the world's top glove maker, Top Glove Corporation Berhad, has overworked its employees.
He said that he and his enforcement officers had spoken to the workers at the glove-manufacturing factories on the matter.
"They (Top Glove) have a mechanism of taking care of the workers, and based on my ministry's knowledge, they work within the framework of the law," he said, adding that the glove producer had not done anything wrong.
Mr Kulasegaran pointed out that according to the Employment (Limitation of Overtime Work) Regulations 1980, workers are entitled no more than 104 hours of overtime per month.
"In some companies, some employees insist on working longer hours to earn more money, to send back to their countries," he said.
"I do not deny some foreign workers are working longer than permitted under the Employment Act and we will take action 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, as quoted by Bernama news agency.
Mr Kulasegaran said this at a news conference after visiting Top Glove's Factory 25 in Klang, Selangor on Monday (Dec 10).
Also present was Top Glove founder and executive chairman Lim Wee Chai and Klang MP Charles Santiago.
The video recording of the news conference was obtained from Mr Kulasegaran's Facebook page.
The visit follows foreign news reports that migrant workers in two rubber glove manufacturers in Malaysia - Top Glove and WRP Asia Pacific Sdn Bhd - were allegedly subjected to forced labour, forced overtime and debt bondage.
The reports said Top Glove and WRP supply rubber gloves to the United Kingdom's National Health Service, and that Nepali and Bangladeshi workers in Top Glove alleged working at its factories was "mental torture".
Mr Kulasegaran said his enforcement officers have visited 22 of 35 Top Glove factories to check on working conditions, from last Friday (Dec 7).
"I'm not too sure how these allegations came about," he said, adding that people should not be "spreading fake news" about the company.
Meanwhile, Tan Sri Lim told the media that as the country's largest exporter of rubber gloves, Top Glove practices good business ethics, integrity, honesty and transparency in its dealings.
"We take care of the well-being of our staff, workers and stakeholders, and ensure that the business is sustainable in the long run," he added.