Malaysia has initiated legal action against WRP Asia Pacific Sdn Bhd, a glove manufacturer, for withholding salaries of its workers from Bangladesh and Nepal for three months.
The decision comes following a three-day strike by 2,000 migrant workers earlier this week.
Malaysian Human Resources Ministry in a statement said the Sepang-based company was found to have withheld salaries of its migrant workers since November last year, reported Malay Mail yesterday.
The labour department initiated legal action though the company agreed to pay the workers their dues. “This is to ensure the incident does not repeat itself and to serve as a reminder to other employers as well,” the statement said.
After the strike, the ministry held a meeting with the company and the Bangladesh and Nepal embassies, where an agreement was reached regarding a payment schedule.
It said payment of wages for November 2018 started on January 28 while overtime was paid on January 29. December's wages would be paid latest by February 1 while overtime would be paid by February 15 and January's pay and overtime would be paid on February 28.
On January 29, it was reported that some 2,000 Nepalese workers went on a strike at the company's factory in Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi in Sepang.
After investigation, the company was found to have committed labour offences including not paying workers' wages for three months, not paying overtime, unfair pay cuts and wrongful working hours during break and public holidays.
The issue first came to light in early December last year when UK-based newspaper The Guardian reported that thousands of Nepalese and Bangladeshi workers were allegedly indentured at two Malaysian rubber glove factories -- WRP and Top Glove -- with forced overtime, debt bondage, withheld wages and passport confiscation.
Around one million Bangladeshis work in Malaysia, but allegations of fraudulence, non-payment and underpayment are rife. Malaysia suspended labour recruitment from Bangladesh since September last year on charges of monopoly by a syndicate of 10 Bangladeshi recruiting agencies.
Under that mechanism, Bangladeshi workers had to pay fees up to Tk 4 lakh for a job in Malaysia, although as per the G-to-G Plus agreement signed in 2016 stipulated the recruitment fees to be no more than Tk 40,000.