To achieve top tier, stop criminalising trafficking victims, watchdog tells Putrajaya

Source: The Malay Mail Online

AI Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu urges the government to swiftly carry out impartial probes on the alleged torture which she said may have caused the deaths of detainees. — Picture by Siow Saw Feng

AI Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu said there are still many issues that Putrajaya needs to address when it comes to human trafficking — Picture by Siow Saw Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, June 28 ― Malaysia should stop treating human trafficking victims as criminals if it wishes to be promoted to the top tier in the United States’ annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, Amnesty International said today.

The human rights watchdog’s executive director Shamini Darshini said there are still many issues that Putrajaya needs to address when it comes to human trafficking, despite its status upgrade from Tier 2 Watch List to just Tier 2.

“If Malaysia wishes to achieve Tier 1 status in 2020 as announced by the Prime Minister this afternoon, not treating trafficked victims as criminals would be a good place to start,” she said in a statement, referring to Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

The watchdog said many trafficked victims are held in “horrendous” detention centres, facing death, illness and diseases, and denial of basic rights including water. Read more

3rd Meeting of the Task Force on Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community


The Task Force on Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community has concluded its third meeting on 22-23 June 2017 in Phuket, Thailand. The Meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Leo Herrera-Lim, Chair of the AICHR and Representative of the Philippines to the AICHR and H.E. Dr. Mu’man Nuryana, Chair of SOMSWD and SOMSWD Focal Point of Indonesia.

The Meeting extensively discussed the outline of the Regional Action Plan on Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN, taking into consideration the priority areas indicated in the Mobilisation Framework of ASEAN Decade of Persons with Disabilities 2011-2020. Read more

Bullying: Liability of schools — Gurdial Singh Nijar

Source: The Sun Daily

(Deputy President, HAKAM)

Pic drawn from The Sun Daily

A SHOCKING statistic was rolled out by the deputy education minister last week: 3,448 bullying cases in schools in 2016. A staggering leap from the previous year. The Education Ministry seems to have known of these for a while; it disclosed the tally from 2013. Identified too were more than 400 schools with such serious disciplinary problems.

That bullying has, and can, lead to disastrous consequences shouts out to us from the daily news. At the lowest level, psychologists speak of the terrible trauma young children go through – which can scar them for life. Unless arrested, some educationists say, the 3 Rs will come to represent “rogues, ruffians and rascals” – instead of the reading, writing and arithmetic expected as a school’s output.

Even worse, is the situation where students board. Punishment meted out to residents has resulted in injuries so severe as to cause an amputation of a student’s legs. The recent tragic deaths of eight orang asli children escaping the wrath of a potentially severe punishment is still fresh in our minds.

Alarming? Perhaps. But surely this calls for urgent remedial action. And hold accountable those in authority who turn a blind eye; or are ill-equipped to staunch the problem.

Who then can be held liable?
Read more

Bar Council: Stop identifying domestic workers as servants

Source: FMT News

Bar Council calls on the government to give these workers key labour rights, adding that they are not ‘second-class workers’. Pic drawn from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Bar Council wants Putrajaya to stop identifying domestic workers as servants as a first step towards recognising their economic and social contributions.

Migrants, Refugees and Immigration Committee chairperson M Ramachelvam said it was unfortunate that the Employment Act 1955 and the proposed 2014 Regulations (Terms & Conditions of Employment) used the phrase “domestic servants”.

“Even the Guidelines and Tips for Employers of Foreign Domestic Helpers launched two months ago uses the term ‘servants’,” he told FMT on the outcome of a meeting with representatives of the human resources ministry, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) and local and foreign civil society members on June 16.

The meeting was held in conjunction with International Domestic Workers Day and the sixth anniversary of the adoption of the ILO Convention No 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers. Read more

Forex scandal possibly cost Malaysia RM100b, ex-official claims

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Hasil laporan pasukan petugas khas yang dibentangkan hari ini mendapati wujudnya kes prima facie bagi kerugian BNM sekitar tahun 1980-an dan 1990-an. Gambar dipetik dari FMT News.

KUALA LUMPUR, June 28 — Malaysia’s foreign reserves could have been RM100 billion greater had Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) not lost heavily in the currency market over two decades ago, according to Datuk Abdul Murad Khalid.

The former BNM assistant governor, whose allegations that BNM frittered away more than US$10 billion (RM42.8 billion) prompted renewed examination of the scandal this year, based this on the opportunity cost of losing the alleged amount then.

“We are losing RM4 billion in income annually because of the scandal. The total losses then were US$10 billion which is equivalent to about RM40 billion today.

“The money would have increased to US$ 26.6 billion or more than RM100 billion, if it had been kept in government savings, at a compound interest of four per cent annually,” he was quoted as saying. Read more

Rights group criticises US after Malaysia upgraded on human trafficking list

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division. — AP File Pic

KUALA LUMPUR, June 28 — The US State Department’s move to drop Malaysia from its people smuggling watch list yesterday belies the latter’s “mediocre” efforts in the area, according to the Human Rights Watch.

HRW’s deputy director for Asia Phil Robertson complained that Malaysia made no effort to identify the different categories of people smuggling, which allowed debt-bonded foreign workers to escape classification as victims of human trafficking.

Other problems such as overcrowded detention facilities, failure to institute the “moderate” reforms promised, and corruption among enforcement officials made further mockery of Malaysia’s removal from the department’s Tier 2 Watch List in its latest Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, he added.

“For the second year in a row, it’s no exaggeration to say the section on Malaysia undermines the credibility of TIP report,” he said in a statement. Read more

Malaysia climbs out of Tier 2 watch list in US human trafficking chart

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Malaysia joins Muslim-majority neighbours Indonesia and Brunei, which were similarly ranked as the worst freedom of thought offenders in the Southeast Asian region. — AFP pic

Malaysia has climbed out of the Tier 2 watch list in the United States annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report released last night. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, June 28 ― Malaysia has slightly upgraded its position in the United States annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report released last night, climbing out of the Tier 2 Watch List.

Despite that, the Southeast Asian country still remains in the Tier 2 for the third year in a row since it was promoted from the bottom tier in 2015.

“The Government of Malaysia does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so.

“The government demonstrated increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period; therefore, Malaysia was upgraded to Tier 2,” said the report.

Malaysia was upgraded from the bottom tier, Tier 3, to the Tier 2 Watch List in 2015’s TIP report, but the decision was criticised as an ostensible move to allow Malaysia to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement with the US, as the latter imposes an automatic non-aid and non-trade sanction on countries at the bottom tier. Read more