GEORGE TOWN: The Human Resources Minister has warned that the country’s economy will face disaster if Malaysia’s position continues to slide on human trafficking watch lists.
M. Kulasegaran (pic) said the country was presently on the Tier 2 Watchlist of the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons report for 2018.
“Malaysia is in a precarious position which could lead to sanctions on local company products if it falls on the human trafficking ladder.
“Products of local companies would be banned in the United States if we fall to a Tier 3 ranking.
“It won’t take long for other European companies to follow suit if this happens,” he said after opening the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) Foundation Regional Forum on Forced Labour 2019 here yesterday.
Kulasegaran said Malaysia was, as such, “declaring war” on forced labour to show that it does not condone human trafficking.
He said while many companies adhered to labour laws, there were a few delinquents who practised some form of forced labour, adding that they would be hauled to court.
“One company is facing 42 charges and 10 other companies are being investigated. It is in the final stages and the necessary charges would be brought against them.
“We are discussing with RBA and have suggested that the National Labour Advisory Council look into their models to see if they can be used here,” he said.
Kulasegaran said enforcement was an issue and the government was looking into self-regulatory measures by employers themselves under existing laws.
“I have also asked the ministry to amend laws that are ‘outdated’ and update them,” he said.