Home minister sees good things for Malaysian businesses after upgrade to US trafficking ranking

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, June 25 — Malaysia's upgraded ranking to Tier 2 in the 2024 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report issued by the United States Department of State is a blessing for local businesses, Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said today.

He said the move to Tier 2 shows investors and potential buyers that Malaysia does not use forced labour in its industries and they won't be sanctioned or restricted in selling their products.

“The immediate impact is we have clarity on the potential of restrictions imposed on us. Take for example, the agriculture industry, if they feel there is forced labour then products made won't be well received and it'll affect the sale of products.

“This was true when we were in Tier 3 so now they won't sanction the products made from the industry and more markets can be open to us.

“So the impact is huge moving up to Tier 2 as elements of forced labour do not exist.

“Now when the US State Department sets this rating it's good for the companies as it shows that the US State Department is recognising our efforts,” he told reporters after officiating the Retired Senior Police Officers Association Malaysia’s annual general meeting.

Saifuddin Nasution said that the next step for Malaysia is to move to Tier 1, and indicated that there is a three-step guideline to follow.

The first is capacity building, second is to improve inter-agency relations, and the third step is to ensure better reporting methods and finding ways to improve Malaysia’s laws and regulations.

He said Malaysian companies that were affected in the past were FGV, Sime Darby and Top Glove.

He said these three companies were severely impacted as their products were restricted from being sold overseas.

He said as of now Sime Darby and Top Glove are out of the list with FGV Holdings Berhad about to join them.

“The US State Department is noticing our efforts and are acknowledging it; seems the only one who isn't happy with our new rating is Andy Hall,” he added, referring to a long-time human rights activist from the UK.

Malaysia was upgraded to Tier 2 in the 2024 TIP Report issued by the United States Department of State yesterday.

The last time Malaysia were in Tier 2 was in 2017.

Among the significant achievements recorded are the increased number of investigations, convictions with significant sentences, awareness programmes and prosecution of allegedly complicit officials.

The government also convicted significantly more labour traffickers than in the prior year, increased funding for victim shelters, and facilitated more freedom of movement passes for victims receiving services in government and NGO-run shelters.