1. Business

Barber Mullan and Associates (B&MA)

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Barber Mullan and Associates (B&MA) is a boutique risk management consultancy with offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore supported by full-time staff in Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam. We specialize in providing tailored and discreet research, political risk analysis, market entry support and security risk management to our clients operating in South East Asia. BM&A is trusted by over one hundred corporate clients, risk and management consultancy firms, IGOs and high net worth individuals. BM&A’s CEO Jack Mullan has worked on over 100 projects in Myanmar since first visiting Myanmar in 2010. This has included successfully negotiating complex extortions in upper Myanmar on behalf of multinational clients who have faced sustained threats from EIOs. He has also conducted a number of market entry studies, stakeholder mapping and supply chain investigations across Myanmar. Along with BM&A’s Myanmar team, Jack has conducted due diligence in advance of a number of western multinationals who entered Myanmar following the lifting of US, EU, UK and Australian government sanctions.

We are a risk management consultancy with offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore supported by full-time staff in Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar and the Philippines as well as numerous trusted consultants across the region.

We specialize in providing tailored and discreet research, political risk analysis, market entry support and security risk management to our clients operating in South East Asia.

BM&A is trusted by over one hundred corporate clients, risk and management consultancy firms, IGOs and high net worth individuals.

In September 2021, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) lifted its ban on medical gloves produced by Malaysia-based Top Glove, the world’s largest producer of disposable gloves. The ban was put in place in July 2020, following findings of forced labour at some of Top Glove’s factories in Malaysia by the CBP. The exploitation of labour in Malaysia has in the past couple of years become a significant issue. In the 1990s, Malaysia experienced rapid economic growth as a result of the government’s focus on industrialization. As a result of rising incomes and increased educational attainment fewer Malaysians were keen on labour intensive roles. To fill the void Malaysia started importing migrant labour, at first from Indonesia, then expanding to countries such as Vietnam, Bangladesh and Nepal. The list of sectors able to recruit migrant labour also expanded over time and now covers most blue-collar roles in the country.

Today, Malaysia is home to millions of migrant workers, both legal and illegal, with some estimates suggesting a total as high as five to six million migrants, over 15% of Malaysia’s population. However, many workers have found themselves living in cramped conditions and working extended hours for low wages on top of having to pay exorbitant sums to recruitment agencies to secure employment in Malaysia. This exploitation of migrant labour has now become a major focus of the CBP, which over the past two years has sanctioned a number of Malaysian companies. Most recently, state-owned Sime Darby Plantation, one of the largest oil palm plantation companies in the world and component stock of Malaysia’s stock exchange index was also sanctioned by the CBP.

A key personality championing the plight of migrant labour in Malaysia is labour activist Andy Hall, most notably against ATA IMS, a major contract manufacturer for British home appliance maker, Dyson. As a result of his efforts, the CBP agreed to open an investigation into ATA IMS. Dyson, then dropped ATA IMS as a supplier, resulting in the stock collapsing on the Malaysian exchange. Dyson had been the largest customer of ATA IMS. Hall, in a media statement, chastised Dyson for dropping ATA IMS, stating that they had a duty to the thousands of workers at ATA IMS. Hall also stated that he had previously informed the Malaysian government and Dyson about his concerns.

Supply chain due diligence and KYC background checks form a crucial part of compliance programmes for businesses operating in Malaysia – contact us at info@barbermullan.com for more information.

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