Malaysia came out swinging in defence of home-grown rubber glove maker Top Glove on Tuesday, criticising a US ban on its goods as "baseless".
But Malaysia's Human Resources Minister N. Saravanan blasted the decision, saying problems at the company had been exaggerated and demanding the US prove the allegations.
"I instructed the Labour Department to investigate and it was found most of the accusations are baseless. There are some shortcomings which can be resolved, such as accommodation, but it's not as bad as [agencies abroad say]," the minister said.
"It is unfair to come into a country and just ban the industry," he added, saying that Top Glove had been "blamed and accused for no reason".
Speaking at the same press conference as the minister, Top Glove's managing director Lee Kim Meow said Washington's complaints were an "old story" that had already been addressed.
"Since then, a lot of effort has been put into this area and we have come up with a lot of good practices, best practices in this area ..." said Lee.
"Of course there's still room for improvement, if you look at any organisation, as we evolve, we have a lot of room to get better and I would like to advise that when it comes to Covid-19, we have done a lot. But it's unfortunate the activists and NGOs choose to focus on our worst angle."