• Arziah binti Mohamed Apandi MRS
Keywords: anti-trafficking, trafficking in people, smuggling of migrants, forced labour, Human Trafficking, Migrant Smuggling, Malaysia


The country’s single piece of legislation to combat the heinous practise of trafficking in people and smuggling of migrants, namely, the Anti- trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants 2007 (“the Act”), is not completely tailored to prevent the demoralising misconduct. Although after its inception, the Act was amended in 2010, 2015 and 2022, Malaysia remains in the lower position as one of the countries with poor progress in obstructing the people trafficking and migrant smuggling conducts. The Top Glove case exposed the company’s deplorable working conditions and poor hygiene living accommodation of its factory workers whilst the Sime Darby case brought embarrassment with below-par living conditions of its plantation workers all of whom are predominantly migrants. While these companies were internationally castigated, the local laws remain unsettled in many aspects, particularly on the definition of forced labour and whether there is trafficking in those case scenarios. Under the Act, forced labour is undefined making prosecution a difficult task. Many issues have arisen recently like the Indonesian maid issue and foreign worker inflow where Malaysia is keenly observed by the global economic players on whether we can tackle this problem of trafficking and smuggling of migrants. The US Government maintained Malaysia in its Tier 3 classification from 2018 until 2022 but has now classified Malaysia in the Tier 2 Watch List category in 2023. Considering the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, Malaysia was considered to have made some significant progress in its anti-trafficking policy. But, Malaysia still has not resolved its old problems especially in failing to sufficiently prosecute labour traffickers and failing to achieve a systematic implementation of standard procedures across the region to proactively identify victims during law enforcement raids. Fresh efforts by the new government saw that in early 2023, immigration officers were charged in court for alleged smuggling of migrant syndicates. But, is that enough? Surely if Malaysia fails to tackle this problem, foreign investors will shy away from this country thus worsening the economic condition that needs urgent revival after the COVID-19 pandemic. Malaysia must put a fast but hard push in its enforcement and preventative measures to stop the crimes of trafficking in people and smuggling of migrants. The beautiful façade of Malaysia must be reinstated so that people across the globe are attracted to us once again and not be put off by our lackadaisical attitude to eradicate these inhumane practices.

Keywords: Human Trafficking, Migrant Smuggling, Malaysia

How to Cite
Mohamed Apandi, A. binti. (2024). WHERE MALAYSIA STANDS IN THE HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND MIGRANT SMUGGLING ORDEAL. INSAF - The Journal of the Malaysian Bar, 40(1), 28-57. Retrieved from https://insaf.malaysianbar.org.my/ojs/index.php/jmr/article/view/66