Top Glove says it was not given opportunity to respond to allegations

PETALING JAYA: Top Glove Bhd has clarified that the company was not contacted by the UK newspaper The Guardian and was not given the opportunity to comment on the forced labour allegations in the latter’s article.

Top Glove said this in a statement today, in response to the newspaper’s article on Dec 9 and allegation that the company declined to comment on this matter.

Recently, The Guardian in its report claimed that the company oppressed thousands of workers including forcing them to work overtime exceeding 160 hours a month, which was more than the 104 hours overtime stipulated under the Employment Act 1955.

According to the report, the company’s foreign workers were turned into forced labour by working forced overtime, faced debt problems, were confined and their passports seized.

Top Glove stressed that it has now implemented strict measures to ensure that the overtime undertaken by its workers does not exceed the maximum limit permitted under the law.

“There is absolutely no forced labour at Top Glove. The Minister of Human Resources directed his officials to conduct random checks at our factory premises in a few locations last week and paid an impromptu visit to Top Glove’s factories on the Dec 10.

“He has also clarified that there is no element of forced labour, forced overtime and debt bondage at Top Glove,” it added.

However, the group said it was surprised to learn that a Nepalese worker was prevented from going to church to attend Sunday service, noting that all the while, the group allows its workers the freedom to practice their religion.

Additionally, Top Glove said the company has never confiscated its migrant workers’ passports.

“In the interest of safeguarding these important documents, their passports are kept in a passport safekeeping room with individual lockers, to which workers have free access anytime,” it said.

On the alleged mental breakdown or mental torture of its workers, Top Glove said that it was not aware of any cases of its workers experiencing such distress.

Top Glove stressed that its employee’s well-being is the company’s’ foremost priority and it has many health initiatives and measures in place to ensure they are well taken care of in this area.

“We view seriously the allegations made in the article as they gravely undermine the good reputation of Top Glove. We really appreciate that you take cognizance of our explanation and correct the facts accordingly,” it added.

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