Extend right to work to all – Aslam Abd Jalil

Source: NST Online


I REFER to the letter “Give  jobs to locals instead of refugees” (NST, March 21). I would like to correct some points raised by the writer.

ON allowing refugees to work: It is an effort to weed out those who hold fake United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) cards.

This mechanism can help because the records of refugees will be tallied with their work permits. However, it is more than this. Allowing refugees to work means they will no longer be employed illegally or work in “black market”.

Work rights for refugees are a violation of the country’s laws: Section 55 of the Immigration Act 1959/63 gives discretionary power to the home minister to allow a class of people to enter this country and it has been used a few times. IMM 13 permits were issued before to the Moro, Acehnese and Rohingya refugees to allow them to stay and work. In fact, the Muslim Chams from Cambodia were accepted and integrated into local society.

WHAT about locals who are jobless?: There are many factors that contribute to unemployment among Malaysians. Blaming refugees and migrants of stealing jobs is simplistic and xenophobic. Refugees whom I’ve met said they were willing to take up 3D (dirty, dangerous and demeaning) jobs.

In fact, refugees are already working in informal sectors. It’s a matter of legalising for better regulation and protection. Read more

Repression and regime survival – Khoo Ying Hooi

Source: The Malaysian Insider


In my November column, “Malaysia’s vote on protecting human rights defenders, diplomatic window dressing”, I raised the question of the commitments of the 117 countries which voted “yes” to the United Nations’ Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, including Malaysia.

The question was raised mainly due to the consistency of the authorities in cracking down on those who speak against government policy, which at this stage could suggest that such forms of intimidation are at the heart of the administration’s tactics.

There are various levels of repression. In Malaysia, repression has its own dimension. For the most part, it sets restrictions on individuals’ civil rights which anticipate the limiting of coordination and mobilisation capacity of groups and individuals, as we have witnessed in many recent cases on human rights activists.

Jakarta Globe reported last week’s deportation of an Indonesian rights activist, Mugiyanto Sipin, who was supposed to speak at a forum titled “People’s movement can bring change” held by the Bersih group in conjunction with its Yellow Mania event. Read more

Asean Missing Social Agenda — Charles Santiago

Source: The Malay Mail Online


An opinion piece - file pic

An opinion piece – file pic

NOVEMBER 21 — It’s the 27th time that Asean heads of states and world leaders, such as yourselves, will be meeting to discuss the initiative for Asean integration, which deals with the gaps in economic development in the region, besides meetings with other dialogue partners such as Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea and the US.

The formation of the Asean Economic Community in the next six weeks, similar to that of the European Union, which is characterised by a single market and the free intra-regional flow of goods, services and investment will be the main focus of the meetings and has captured the imagination of global and regional economic observers.

Asean has been mouthing that it works in the interest of the people. But the economic integration, fashioned to look as if it prioritises the welfare of the people, only focuses on Business Asean and not Social Asean.

Business Asean, which includes the free trade agreements such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, European Union-Asean trade deal or the recently concluded Transpacific Partnership Agreement, promote multinationals, Asean big businesses and lobbyists.

The social dimension to the integration efforts by the ten member countries — Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia and the Philippines — is therefore sorely missing. Read more