Efforts of unsung heroes must continue for better 2018

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Pic drawn from FMT News

Klang MP Charles Santiago says answer for the country’s woes is in the people’s continuous demand for good governance, transparency and accountability. – Pic drawn from FMT News

PETALING JAYA: In a New Year message, DAP’s Charles Santiago lauded the efforts of the nation’s “unsung heroes” who have shown in the past year a desire for a better Malaysia.

Calling them extraordinary, the Klang MP said it also proved that ultimately, the responsibility for a better Malaysia lies with the public.

“I would like to celebrate the unsung heroes who fought for a better Malaysia despite knowing that it would be an arduous battle.

“The answer for the country’s woes is in the continuous demand for good governance, transparency and accountability from both ruling and opposition politicians,” he said in a statement, listing some of the issues which hit the headlines in the past 12 months. Read more

Charge police officers involved in Wang Kelian cover-up — Charles Santiago

Source: FMT News

Klang MP Charles Santiago calls for the immediate formation of an independent commission to investigate the cover-up at the trafficking camp. Pic taken from FMT News.

By Charles Santiago

I brought up crucial questions about the Wang Kelian trafficking camp with the home minister at almost every parliamentary sitting in 2016 and also this year.

I wasn’t satisfied that all 12 police officers detained in connection with the mass graves were let off and instead, four undocumented migrants charged.

I never received a convincing reply from Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The New Straits Times article exposing a massive cover-up involving the police clearly shows that my concerns hold water.

Kudos to the reporters who worked over two years to reveal that the police knew about the Wang Kelian death camps months before they went public with the information.

The team said they were privy to shocking information from the former police chief, Khalid Abu Bakar, which they can’t publish due to journalistic ethics.

This however opens up a can of worms as Zahid was quoted as saying the dozen policemen initially arrested in connection to the case were released due to lack of sufficient evidence to tie them to it. Read more

MP moots mandatory sexual crimes check on all jobseekers dealing with kids

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 2 ― Pre-employment screening must be made mandatory for all new hires working with children, Opposition lawmaker Charles Santiago said today amid growing reports of sexual assault against minors.

The Klang MP said the authorities need to conduct stringent background checks on jobseekers who would be working with children, like teachers, coaches and even volunteers.

“The current laws are not enough. We have to become more serious and strict.

“I call upon the government to make pre-employment screening mandatory for people who work with children,” he said in a press conference in Parliament. Read more

Promoting Umno in schools a sign of desperation, say politicians, activists

Source: FMT News

They want the government to promote quality education, not politics in school.

PETALING JAYA: Politicians and an activist have slammed Federal Territories Minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor for abusing his powers to promote Umno in school instead of helping the government to promote quality education.

Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin said he should not mix politics with the functions of the government.

“It is an abuse of power. He is the government of the day and should not be mixing both.

“People vote the government to run the country for them and not to abuse it outright to recruit students. It is out of line,” she said.

Maria was asked to comment on a report that hundreds of pupils and teachers from SK Putrajaya Presint 14 (1) took part in a “class decoration and performance” competition with the theme “Umno and independence #Negaraku”.

During the function, Umno flags were draped all over the primary school.

The pupils also brandished Umno flags and sang the party’s anthem.

The report said at one point, a banner with the words “Hidup Umno, Hidup Melayu. Dulu, Kini dan Selamanya” (“Long Live Umno, Long Live Malays. Before, Now and Forever”) appeared on stage. Read more

Ugly politics in Malaysia’s inconsistent refugee policy

Source: FMT News

PETALING JAYA: There certainly is inconsistency in the way the government deals with refugees from various ethnicities and religions.

However, say several people working with refugees or who are familiar with the situation, this is largely due to politics rather than religion.

MP Charles Santiago and lawyer Latheefa Koya feel the government’s “ad hoc” approach is geared towards scoring political points while Tenaganita executive director Glorene Das wants the government to give equal protection to all refugees regardless of race or religion.

They were commenting on an opinion piece published in Asia Times, that Putrajaya’s handling of the Rohingya refugee issue reflects the inconsistencies, and the bias, inherent in its refugee policy. Read more

Santiago: Human trafficking court like putting cart before the horse

Source: FMT News 

The major problem now is with the enforcement authorities, says Santiago. Pic from FMT News

PETALING JAYA: Breaking off the nexus between enforcement authorities and human traffickers is key to end the inhuman trade, Klang MP Charles Santiago asserts.

The parliamentarian, who is vocal on the issue, said without this all-important first step, the setting up of a special court to handle human trafficking cases was useless.

“It is akin to putting the cart before the horse,” he added.

“A court on human trafficking is only effective if enforcement and education go hand in hand.

“The major problem now is with the enforcement authorities. Local media reports tell us that human traffickers are working hand in glove with enforcement officers.

“The priority right now should be to end the nexus between enforcement authorities and human traffickers,” he told FMT today.

Santiago was asked to comment on Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s proposal to set up a special court as part of the measures to get Malaysia into the top-ranked Tier 1 list of countries in the United States State Department’s Trafficking in Persons (TiP) annual report by 2020.

Zahid said this in an interview with The Star after the daily published a special report on Aug 14 on an international human trafficking ring that used private colleges to lure young Bangladeshis here with false promises of higher education and job opportunities.

Santiago said a special court on human trafficking was not needed, as the existing courts could deal with such cases. 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

Balamurugan’s death in custody — Charles Santiago

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY CHARLES SANTIAGO

A grieving Natthanan and Yanika console each other outside the South Klang police headquarters yesterday. ― Malay Mail pic

A grieving Natthanan and Yanika console each other outside the South Klang police headquarters yesterday. ― Malay Mail pic

FEBRUARY 11 — Two hundred forty two people walked into police lockups alive but left in body bags since 2000. This is according to Malaysia National Human Rights Commission (Suhakam).

S. Balamurugan is number 243.

I welcome investigations by the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) and Suhakam into Balamurugan’s death in police custody.

These inquiries must be public hearings and the findings must also be made available to the public.

But there is one glitch here: the recommendations by these national bodies are not binding. They may remain good only on paper but may never be enforced.

As such, how do we ensure justice is served to the grieving family?

How do we convince the family and the public that those who were responsible for Balamurugan’s death will be punished?

More so as, despite the hue and cry, no police officer has been suspended? And neither has the police chief responded. Read more

Santiago: M’sia must learn from Brexit

Source: FMT

Klang MP warns failure to ensure social welfare and social protection for local workforce can lead to xenophobia.

ULAANBAATAR: Malaysia can learn some very important lessons from Brexit, especially in preventing the rise of xenophobia, says Charles Santiago of the DAP.

Speaking to FMT on the sidelines of the 11th Asia-Europe People’s Forum, Santiago said Brexit has highlighted just how important it was for governments to ensure the social welfare and social protection of the local workforce in their own countries.

He explained that the decision by Brexit supporters to leave the European Union (EU) was largely based on their fear of losing jobs and anger against the establishment for not protecting the everyday man.

“A large part of the leave voters felt that the benefits of the EU partnership did not benefit them.

“Corporations were moving jobs out of England to China etc to take advantage of lower production costs.”

Within the country, he said, labour markets were being restructured at the expense of locals through contract labour and the entry of a migrant workforce. Essentially, those who voted to leave, were at the receiving end of job losses. Read more

Worker protections under TPPA just window dressing, says opposition MP

Source: The Malaysian Insider

“TPPA: Malaysia Is Not For Sale” books sits on display during its launching at the Karangkraf Complex in Shah Alam on July 11, 2014. The Malaysian Insider/Najjua Zulkefli

“TPPA: Malaysia Is Not For Sale” books sits on display during its launching at the Karangkraf Complex in Shah Alam on July 11, 2014. The Malaysian Insider/Najjua Zulkefli

Worker protections in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) actually amount to nothing, an opposition lawmaker said, as Putrajaya seeks to play up these widely lauded aspects of the contentious pact.

Klang MP Charles Santiago said a big reason for this is because the TPPA would legalise labour sub-contractors and out-sourcing companies, which are notorious for the way they treat workers.

In fact, legally, the Malaysian government currently does not allow labour contracting except in the plantation sector due to problems in how they operate and treat workers. Read more