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US Customs bans fifth Malaysian glove maker over alleged forced labour

US Customs bans fifth Malaysian glove maker over alleged forced labour
The ban on Brightway Group is the sixth in 18 months on a Malaysian company.
PHOTO: Screengrab/Google Maps

KUALA LUMPUR - The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has banned imports from Malaysian glove manufacturer Brightway Group over suspected forced labour practices, the agency said on Monday (Dec 20).

It is the sixth ban in 18 months on a Malaysian company, and the fifth from the country's glove manufacturing sector since September 2019.

Brightway did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

CBP issued a withhold release order, instructing US ports of entry to detain disposable gloves produced in Malaysia by three companies in the group - Brightway Holdings, Laglove and Biopro - from Monday.

The action was taken based on "information that reasonably indicates the use of forced labour in that entity's manufacturing operations," it said in a statement.

CBP said it identified 10 of the 11 International Labour Organisation's indicators of forced labour during its investigation into Brightway.

ALSO READ: Malaysian glove maker denies its workers are living in shipping containers

In December last year, Malaysian officials raided Brightway's facilities and found workers living in shipping containers, under conditions so squalid that human resources minister M. Saravanan later likened them to "modern slavery."

Asked in May about the raids, the company's managing director G. Baskaran told Reuters that audit reports from 2019 and 2020 showed "we did not practice any form of forced labour or modern slavery."

About a month after the Malaysian raids, CBP opened investigations into Brightway, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

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