Treat undocumented workers right – Statement dd 24 March 2020

The statement by Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob that undocumented migrants who attended the tabligh gathering in Sri Petaling will not be penalised if they come forward to be screened for Covid-19 – was assuring, although we wish it could have come much earlier.pdf

However there is a huge trust deficit between the government and these workers – because of how shoddily and uncaringly they have been treated in the past by the authorities.

To gain their confidence, the Minister must come out with a clear written public declaration which must also be addressed to all the relevant agencies – like the immigration and the police.

We must understand that all this while we, the Malaysian public, has enjoyed their services in restaurants, petrol stations, retail stores, markets, offices, and the like. They are at the bottom of the scale, have scant protection and get by on dismal wages. Living in sub-conditions and away from their distant families and friends. A kind of isolation that we are only now beginning to understand – and sometime even complain about. Read more

Klang MP urges rethink on immigration crackdown

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Klang MP Charles Santiago says there are some 1.9 million registered migrant workers and six million undocumented migrant workers in Malaysia. (Bernama pic) Taken off FMT News

KUALA LUMPUR: Klang MP Charles Santiago today urged Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to reconsider the planned crackdown on undocumented migrant workers after the rehiring programme ends on June 30.

He said indiscriminate enforcement would not do justice to migrant workers who had been failed by their “unscrupulous and abusive employers”.

In a statement, he added that many reports revealed that migrant workers became undocumented due to their employers’ refusal to renew their work permits.

“Some of them ran away from abusive employers to protect their own lives. It is not uncommon to hear about cases where migrant workers are raped, tortured and killed.”

Citing a 2013 World Bank study, Santiago gave several reasons why Indonesian migrant workers became undocumented, including irregular channels being faster and less expensive; the rigid system that tied migrant workers to specific employers; and indecent working conditions, abusive practices or non-payment of salaries. Read more

Conclude regional agreement to protect foreign workers, says Malaysian Bar

Source: FMT News

M Ramachelvam says the present arrangement of bilateral labour agreements does not adequately protect migrant workers or workers’ welfare, or ensure decent work for migrants. Pic drawn from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: The welfare of foreign employees can be enhanced if the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) formalises a decade-old declaration to protect and promote the rights of migrant workers, says the Malaysian Bar.

Migrants, Refugees and Immigration Committee chairperson M Ramachelvam said the Asean declaration was initiated in January 2007.

“Article 22 of the declaration tasked Asean with developing an instrument which is in line with the region’s vision of a caring and sharing community,” he said.

However, he added that Asean had failed to adopt the framework during a meeting in April this year.

“It is hoped that the instrument will be adopted at the next Asean Summit in the Philippines in November,” he said. Read more

Why rehire, arrest illegal foreign workers at the same time, asks Tenaganita

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Tenaganita says foreign workers fear that they will be arrested if their application under the rehiring programme is unsuccessful. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, February 22, 2016.

Why is the government promoting the rehiring of undocumented foreign workers while going on a massive scale of arrest and deportation exercise, rights group Tenaganita asked today.

Its director, Aegile Fernandez, said this would only cause undocumented foreign workers to stay away from registering under the rehiring programme for fear they would be arrested if their application was unsuccessful.

Putrajaya embarked on the Rehiring Programme for Illegal Workers on February 15, to run untill December 31, with the objective of legalising foreign workers and assess the actual number of workers needed by industries.

Employers who have hired undocumented foreign labour, would have to pay RM1,200 to legalise each worker.

Fernandez told The Malaysian Insider today that Tenaganita had been receiving calls from employers and migrants who were concerned that workers would be arrested if they were not accepted under the programme. Read more