Malaysian company Top Glove is practising “modern slavery”, said the USA yesterday albeit indirectly.
American Customs and Border Protection government agency said that after months of investigation “aimed at preventing goods made by modern slavery from entering U.S. commerce”, CBP had come to a finding that Top Glove practised “forced labour”.
Top Glove, which is owned by a Malaysian Chinese billionaire Tan Sri has been enmeshed in controversy for years.
The sad plight of Top Glove’s foreign workers has caught the eye of human rights organizations as well as the government of Bangladesh.
Some Malaysians have rallied to the defence of Top Glove by shooting the messenger, on top of predictably extolling the greatness of this company in being successful and a world beater in its industry.
These local fans of Top Glove then go on to accuse the USA of trying to be a world policeman.
Washington on its part has alleged China of using Uighurs in the Xinjiang “concentration camps” as forced labour.
These anti-USA Malaysians are at the same time strongly pro China.
There are heavy social costs in using imported workers as cheap labour. At the end of last year, it was found that one-quarter of Covid patients in Malaysian hospitals were foreigners — see pie chart below.
What the Malaysian Chinese tycoons are doing today – i.e. bringing foreigners en masse to work in their factories – is hardly much different from what the British empire did when operating its colonial economy.
The British imperialists brought their Bengali work force from Chittagong into Burma and left present-day Myanmar with her unwanted Rohingya problem.
Tanah Melayu was similarly left with a non-citizen Chinese and Indian population when the British departed in 1957.
As a result of the British colonization, Malaya was saddled with a vastly changed ethnic demography.
Gazing into the near future, what will our population look like as a consequence of Malaysian Chinese-owned big business using foreigners from poor countries to manufacture their products?
And then there are also sections of Malaysians who are defenders of Top Glove and supporters of China in its superpower rivalry with the USA and other areas of geopolitics — such as the star of DAP’s ceramah circuit (referring to ‘Superman’ Hew Kuan Yau, below) who believes South China Sea belongs to the Chinese motherland when there are ongoing territorial disputes between Asean and Beijing.