KUALA LUMPUR | Forced labor is a problem in Malaysia, according to Human Resources Minister V Sivakumar, but he doesn’t think it’s as bad as people make it out to be.

He made these comments in response to claims made by activist Andrew Wallis, a resident of the UK, that modern slavery is a “significant illicit industry” in Malaysia.

According to Wallis, there may be as many as 212,000 victims in the country at any given time.

The minister added that if employers are discovered to be using forced labor, the government is determined to take firm measures against them.

Additionally, Sivakumar stated that a “wide” range of situations fall under the definition of forced labor.

Even in cases where the employers fail to provide a salary, it may still be deemed forced labor.

He declared, “We are always prepared to solve this problem.”