READOUT: US Department of Labor’s Deputy Undersecretary Lee, Malaysian Minister Saravanan discuss forced labor, labor law reform, migrant workers
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee met recently with Malaysia’s Minister of Human Resources Datuk Seri Saravanan Murugan to discuss issues of forced labor, worker voice, and protection of labor rights in the context of bilateral engagement and technical assistance work.
Held in Washington on May 12, 2022, the meeting enabled the two parties to discuss Malaysia’s implementation of Protocol 29 of the International Labor Organization’s Forced Labor Convention – ratified recently by Malaysia – and the nation’s National Action Plan on Forced Labor.
In the past seven years, Deputy Undersecretary Lee noted cooperation between the two countries has helped to build the capacity of Malaysian institutions and civil society to understand the indicators of forced labor and enforce labor laws. They also discussed the significant progress Malaysia has made to align its labor laws with international labor standards and the importance of protecting the labor and human rights of migrant workers, and the need to finalize the draft amendments to the Trade Unions Act.
In ending the meeting, both parties agreed to more direct and ongoing cooperation and collaboration on labor issues.