Malaysia charges Top Glove over poor quality of worker housing

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FILE PHOTO: A worker inspects newly-made gloves at Top Glove factory in Shah Alam

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia has charged glove maker Top Glove Corp Bhd with 10 counts of failing to provide worker accommodation that meets the minimum standards of the labour department, state news agency Bernama said on Tuesday.

Top Glove, the world’s largest medical glove maker, has pleaded not guilty to all the charges levied by the sessions court in the northwestern city of Ipoh, the agency said.

Ten of the firm’s accommodation sites for foreign workers in the state of Perak were not certified by the labour department, it added.

Court hearings resume on April 28.

If found guilty, Top Glove could be fined up to 50,000 ringgit on each charge, a charge-sheet showed.

Top Glove was not immediately available for comment. The labour department declined comment on a case still in progress.

The charges follow authorities’ investigations into worker accommodation and hostels at several Top Glove units last November, following a coronavirus outbreak at one of its fatories near the capital, Kuala Lumpur.

That outbreak grew into Malaysia’s largest cluster, with more than 5,000 workers testing positive.

Last week, an independent consultant, Impactt, said it “no longer” found any indication of systemic forced labour at Top Glove, which was making progress on some indicators, such as living conditions.

(Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa and Clarence Fernandez)

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