Malaysia was upgraded in the US trafficking chart. Here’s why critics say it was undeserved

Source: Asian Correspondent

IN May 2015, screaming headlines confirmed the discovery of 139 bodies buried in the jungles of Wang Kelian in the Malaysian state of Perlis, not far from the Thai border.

The graves revealed a hidden network of jungle camps used by traffickers to hold their captives as they negotiated payment terms and ransom demands. In the graves were mostly the bodies of Rohingya refugees fleeing persecution in neighbouring Burma (Myanmar) and Bangladeshis, two races that routinely fall victim to trafficking on this side of the world.

The grim find followed a similar discovery of 32 shallow graves just weeks prior in Thailand, in what was described as a “waiting area” for illegal migrants before they are sent across the border to Malaysia. Read more

Moratorium bauksit dilanjut hingga 31 Disember

Sumber: FMT News

An excavator fills a lorry with bauxite at the stockpile area at Kuantan port in this file picture. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR: Kementerian Sumber Asli dan Alam Sekitar bersama kerajaan Pahang bersetuju melanjutkan tempoh moratorium terhadap perlombongan dan eksport bauksit sehingga 31 Disember tahun ini untuk mengurangkan jumlah bauksit dalam stok simpanan.

Menteri Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar dalam kenyataan hari ini berkata beliau berharap lanjutan tempoh itu akan membolehkan bauksit dalam simpanan dikeluarkan secara terkawal berpandukan garis panduan yang ditetapkan kementerian.

Beliau berkata lanjutan moratorium itu tiada kaitan dengan Pilihan Raya Umum ke-14 tetapi sebagai tindakan terhadap aktiviti perlombongan haram yang dilakukan di tanah persendirian serta oleh syarikat yang tidak mengikut garis panduan sehingga menyebabkan pencemaran alam sekitar. Read more

Tier 2 is Malaysia’s best so far, says ministry

Source: The Star Online

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s upgrade to Tier 2 in the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report 2017 is the best ranking achieved by the nation since 2007, said Home Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Alwi Ibrahim.

In a statement yesterday, Alwi said the upgrade was based on the improvements in investigation, prosecution and charging of human trafficking cases here compared to previous years.

“This achievement is a result of integrated commitment shown by the Anti-Human Trafficking and Anti-Migrant Smuggling Council (Mapo) through its high-level committee, chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister.

“Malaysia has also improved national initiative by actively involving non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to protect victims following amendments to the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act in 2015,” he said.

According to Alwi, Malaysia sentenced 35 individuals for human trafficking offences last year, compared with seven the year before. 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

RCI needed as forex scandal still hurting ringgit, say former BNM officials

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Bank Negara Malaysia — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, June 29 ― Repercussions from Bank Negara Malaysia’s foreign exchange over two decades ago remain until today, said two former officials in support of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the matter.

According to Utusan Malaysia, former BNM economic department senior manager Dr Rosli Yaakop and former assistant governor Datuk Abdul Murad Khalid both said the central bank would have more reserves to prop up the ringgit now were it not for the scandal that allegedly cost the bank US$10 billion in the 1990s.

Murad yesterday also asserted that the amount could have appreciated to RM100 billion today based on a 4-per cent annual interest rate.

“The impact from this scandal has been prolonged and can be felt until now, so it is critical that a RCI is formed. BNM had lost a chunk of its reserve due to the forex activity back then,” Rosli reportedly said. Read more

Tier 1 in trafficking report not possible without immigration reform — Steven Sim

Source: FMT News

By Steven Sim

The annual US State Department Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report was released yesterday.

Malaysia improved our position from “Tier 2 Watch List”, where we were since 2015, to “Tier 2” this year.

The last time we were in Tier 2 was 13 years ago in 2004 when the government amended the Anti-Money Laundering Act to enable the seizure of assets linked to trafficking activities.

Thus, it is clear that when there are significant actions by the federal government, our ranking in the TIP Report does indeed improve.

With regards to this, kudos to the federal government and agencies involved for the improved efforts in combating human trafficking.

However, we must not celebrate just yet.

The definition of Tier 2 is: “Countries whose governments DO NOT fully comply with the minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.”

In other words, Malaysia still has not complied with international standards to fight human trafficking. Read more

US human trafficking report a farce, says Santiago

Source: FMT News

PETALING JAYA: A DAP MP has criticised the United States’ Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report following Malaysia’s improved rating for the second consecutive year although no significant action has been taken since the discovery of human trafficking camps and mass graves near the Malaysia-Thailand border two years ago.

In the recently released 2017 TIP report, Malaysia was upgraded from the Tier 2 Watch List to Tier 2.

Last year, Malaysia was upgraded to the Tier 2 Watch List from Tier 3, at a time when the US was pushing the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) that would have included Malaysia and 10 other countries.

Speaking to FMT, Charles Santiago said the TIP report has become a farce driven by political objectives.

He said it was a “major disservice” to the fight against human trafficking.

“It has been two years since the discovery of the migrant camps and mass graves in Wang Kelian in Perlis, yet no Malaysian nationals have been convicted and the report acknowledges this,” added the Klang MP. Read more

Tubuhkan badan bebas untuk pendatang lapor polis korup

Source: FMT News

Tenaganita dakwa anggota polis menyasarkan dan memeras wang dari mangsa yang sama sambil mengancam akan menghantar mereka pulang. Gambar dipetik dari FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Kerajaan perlu menubuhkan badan bebas untuk pendatang asing melaporkan anggota polis korup yang memeras mereka, kata Tenaganita.

Pengarah Aegile Fernandez kata pendatang asing sering menjadi mangsa anggota polis yang melakukan pemeriksaan tidak sah di mana banyak kes membawa kepada pemerasan wang.

“Perlu ada saluran bebas yang jelas untuk mangsa membuat laporan,” kata Fernandez kepada FMT sambil mencadangkan pendatang asing merujuk kepada Suhakam sebagai saluran untuk membuat laporan.

Fernandez mengulas kes 3 polis peronda yang dikenakan tindakan disiplin selepas dimarahi ketua polis negara yang mengesan mereka melangkaui kuasa dengan memeriksa seorang pendatang asing wanita. Read more

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

Source:Asean

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