THE room is narrow and, as described by Human Resources Minister M. Saravanan, like a buffalo cage, dirty and smelly. That is the real situation of the hostel. The minister was shocked after inspecting the living conditions of foreign workers at a glove-processing factory at Batu 13 Cheras, Kajang.
The raid was carried out by 60 members of the Labour Department, Health Ministry, police and Kajang Municipal Council.
The workers were ‘piled up’ into two long 1.5m tall container, which are used as rooms.
The container is supposed to accommodate only 100 people at a time but 751 were living in one.
Saravanan says it is one of the worst living conditions he had ever seen.
“I call this ‘modern slavery’. I’m very sad to see such conditions… although we have seen it during British colonisation,” Saravanan was quoted as saying by Astro Awani.
He also dismisses the company’s denial that its workers are living in squalid conditions.
Saravanan told Malaysiakini it is common for any employer to issue a denial when faced with allegations of modern slavery.
“Let them say what they want to say. We have enough evidence to enforce the rule of law.
“It is normal for an employer to deny. That will (only) force us to publish more pictures of the condition. Anyway, we had enough media during the visit.”
Glovemakers have enjoyed record profits in the pandemic. Unfortunately, the rewards have not trickled down to the workers. – December 22, 2020.