KLANG: The Home Ministry has uncovered the activities of a man with a Datuk title who had forced 172 local and foreign female factory workers to work overtime at a bird's nest factory here.
The workers comprising Indonesians, Myanmar nationals and locals were allegedly exploited by the Datuk who forced them to work more than 16 hours daily without rest days.
In an integrated operation, a team from the ministry's Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants unit arrested the 29-year-old Datuk at the factory on Tuesday.
Head of the team DSP Hadzwan Zulkefle said the suspect was detained to facilitate investigations under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007, Immigration Act and Employment Act.
"Our investigations revealed that the Datuk had exploited 172 women employees comprising locals, Indonesian and Myanmar nationals to work for more than 16 hours daily without rest days.
"Some of the workers were not paid, some received late wages while a few had their salaries deducted, leaving only RM200 to RM300 if they took sick leave or when the factory was closed for public holidays.
"The premises has been operating since 2014 and an examination of the workers found they were suffering from mental torture and fatigue due to daily overtime," he told reporters here.
DSP Hadzwan said further investigations revealed that the passports of foreign workers were kept in the factory management office while some of the workers' work permits had been abused by the Datuk as they came to the country as domestic workers.
He said the workers aged between 18 and 40 had been working at the factory for two to three years.
The integrated operation involved the Selangor police anti-vice, gaming and secret societies division, Bukit Aman police, and the immigration and manpower departments. - Bernama