Another debate in May? Saravanan vs Ramasamy on forced labour in the works

24 Apr 2022 12:25pm
Saravanan (left) has accepted Ramasamy's challenge for a debate on forced labour, citing he was free on May 22 at 2pm.
Saravanan (left) has accepted Ramasamy's challenge for a debate on forced labour, citing he was free on May 22 at 2pm.

SHAH ALAM - Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri M Saravanan has accepted Penang Deputy Chief Minister Prof Dr P Ramasamy challenge to debate on matters pertaining to forced labour.

In a Facebook post today, Saravanan said he would be glad to explain and "educate" the DAP lawmaker on the request he made to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the United States on allegations of forced labour in the country.

"I accepted his challenge for a debate to educate on the steps being taken to eradicate forced labour.

"Many advised me against accepting the challenge posted by Prof Dr Ramasamy. Reason being, DAP leaders, Dr Ramasamy included has an inherit habit of twisting matters for cheap publicity.

"His initial statement was made without fully considering the context of my request to ILO and the US authorities. Thus, I was compelled to react," he said.

Saravanan stated that he was free on May 22, 2pm if Ramasamy's up to the challenge that he initiated.

The two leaders had gotten into an argument yesterday over Saravanan's statement on forced labour, where he asked the ILO and US government to keep the ministry informed about such practices in the country.

Ramasamy then accused the minister of taking the easy way out for asking the two authorities to investigate the forced labour practices in Malaysia, calling the latter to clarify on the matter.

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It wasn't the job of the Americans or ILO to investigate or interfere with labour practices here, he said, adding that it was the Malaysia's government and Human Resources Ministry.

In a statement today, Ramasamy said he welcomed the minister's decision to debate him and hoped there would be no last minute excuses to cancel it.

"I hope he does not wiggle out at the last moment by saying that he is not agreeable to the terms of the debate.

"Even before there i an official agreement to debate, Saravanan seems to be laying conditions. Let us have an open debate on forced labour without any preconditions laid out," he said, adding that a moderator and venue will be decided soon.