PUTRAJAYA: Investigations by the Labour Department on rubber glove manufacturer, Top Glove Corp Bhd, relating to claims that the company used forced labour, was found to be baseless, said Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan.

Commenting on the detention order on Top Glove products by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Saravanan said it could affect the country’s credibility and image at the international level, as well as influenced foreign investors’ confidence in the country following the baseless allegation.

“It is unfair and they should ask us for investigation, wait for the report, and then they should decide otherwise,“ he told reporters after a meeting with representatives from Top Glove and the Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association at the Human Resources Ministry here, today.

It was reported that the detention order by CBP on rubber glove exports to the US beginning July 15 was issued to two subsidiaries of Top Glove, namely Top Glove Sdn Bhd and TG Medical Sdn Bhd due to elements of forced labour.

Stressing that the government would not compromise in the forced labour issue, Saravanan said he will visit Top Glove as well as invite representatives from the US to see for themselves to prove that the claims were baseless.

“Top Glove will be my top priority as they are being blamed or accused for no reason, so I will visit (Top Glove) and send invitation to them (US representatives) through Wisma Putra,“ he added.

According to Saravanan, before the detention order on Top Glove was announced, an operation by task forces for the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007 and the Recovery Movement Control Order (MCO) was conducted at Top Glove’s headquarters in Meru, Klang on July 13.

He said the investigations found that the company had violated the standard operating procedures of the MCO, namely not complying to social distancing in the work place and provision of cramped housing quarters, wherein the company was compounded by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government.

“However, there was no offence, and no elements of forced labour were detected,“ he said.

Meanwhile, Top Glove managing director Datuk Lee Kim Meow said the company would collate the evidence and present them to the CBP this week to deny the claims and was confident the issue would be resolved as early as next month.

He said the action by the CBP had caused its sales to drop by about 12.5 per cent.

He said the rubber gloves that could not be exported to the US would be exported to other countries including Canada, Australia and Europe. - Bernama