Malaysia’s migrant workers – strategies to combat exploitative labour

Source: CSR Asia Weekly

File picture shows migrant workers waiting in line for food in Kuala Lumpur. — File pic

File picture shows migrant workers waiting in line for food in Kuala Lumpur. — File pic

A broad cross-section of Malaysian business, particularly in the service, construction, agriculture and manufacturing sectors, rely heavily on foreign labour. A vast migrant workforce fill workforce gaps in occupations requiring low- and mid-level skill as more educated Malaysians seek out higher-skilled work. This translates to about 2.1 million registered working age immigrants. Most are male and 39 percent come from Indonesia, followed by Nepal (29 percent) and Bangladesh (14 percent), as well as smaller groups from Myanmar, India and Vietnam.

According to the annual Malaysia Economic Monitor: Immigrant Labour, the number of immigrants does not affect the local unemployment rate and labour force participation rates, but may in fact create local jobs. The report suggests that foreign labourcontributes 1.1 percent net increase to the gross domestic product and creates employment for Malaysians. For every 10 new migrant workers in a sector in state, there are 5.2 additional Malaysians employed; with two of these Malaysian workers being women. Read more

Learn from Filipino counterparts and engage with LGBT community, local police told

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, April 27 ― A transgender rights group told local police today to engage with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer (LGBTQ) community here, highlighting the Philippines police force that has undergone sensitisation training with such groups.

Justice for Sisters expressed concern that Deputy Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Datuk Seri Noor Rashid Ibrahim’s statement about not allowing openly LGBT people into the force, even if they are qualified, would further perpetuate homophobia and transphobia among police officers.

The group highlighted a report by international rights group Human Rights Watch that documented claims of police actions against trans people, such as sexual violence, arbitrary arrests based on gender identity, arbitrary urine tests, extortion of money or sexual favours, and lack of urgency and bias in investigating police reports lodged by transgender people.

“We call the Deputy IGP to understand the issues faced by LGBTQ persons, review his statements, and engage with LGBTQ groups in a meaningful way to address the issues faced LGBTQ persons in relation to the police,” said Justice for Sisters in a statement. Read more

Hakam condemns police action against journalist

Source: The Malay Mail Online

APRIL 27 — Hakam strongly condemns the action taken by the police against a Malaysiakini journalist who did little more than faithfully report the statements of a Barisan Nasional (BN) politician uttered in a public forum, canvassing for votes in the Sarawak elections.

The police have initiated an investigation under Section 505 (c) of the Penal Code for the offence of causing public mischief. Those convicted may be jailed up to two years, or fined, or both.

This seems to be part of a now-familiar pattern of sustained harassment of the media — by action under the Penal Code or the Sedition Act. This undermines in a fundamental way press freedom — a fundamental component of a functioning democracy.

We are in accord with the statement by the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) Malaysia that the responsibility for any breach of Section 505(c) should lie with the person whose statement was reported.  Read more