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

Rights abuse: Malaysians will be affected too, warns MP

Source: Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim today condemned the death of a maid who was allegedly abused by her employers, warning that if human rights are not protected for everyone, Malaysians too could fall victim to such acts.

Sim, whose staff were alerted to the situation by neighbours on Feb 10, said 21-year-old Adelina had been “totally deprived of basic human rights”.

“Even if we are not altruistic and do not care for foreigners, allowing gross human rights violations to go unchecked will eventually corrupt the system of protection not only for migrants but also for Malaysians.

“If someone can be subjected to workplace bullying, violence and even be tortured to death here in Malaysia, what makes us think that the next person will not be a Malaysian?” he said in a statement.

Read more

After maid’s death, group demands law to protect migrant workers

Source: Malay Mail Online

GEORGE TOWN, Feb 12 — Malaysia must enact laws to safeguard migrant worker welfare, said Tenaganita today following a domestic worker’s death after allegedly being forced to sleep outdoors with a family’s dog.

Director of the rights advocacy group, Glorene Das, expressed her outrage today at the continued incidents of domestic worker abuse in Malaysia.

Read more

Bar: Non-binding Asean consensus on migrant workers a concern

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Free Malaysia Today

Source: Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Bar says it is concerned that an agreement among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) for its 10 member states to uphold foreign workers’ rights in their respective countries is not legally binding.

In a statement in conjunction with International Migrants Day today, its president George Varughese said the Bar welcomed the adoption of the Asean Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers on Nov 14.

“However, we are concerned that the Asean Consensus is non-binding, and implementation of the articles is subject to national laws, policy and regulations of Asean members states, which are, as they stand at present, inadequate to protect the rights of migrant workers in the region,” he said.  Read more

Asean MPs: Greater protection for migrants, refugees needed

Source: FMT News

KUALA LUMPUR: Asean lawmakers today urged regional governments to step up efforts to protect migrant workers and refugees.

Asean Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) board member Teddy Baguilat said both sending and receiving countries needed to do their part to end abusive recruitment and employment practices for migrant workers, and promote the security and rights of refugees fleeing persecution.

Baguilat, who is a member of the Philippines House of Representatives, said Asean and member governments had a duty to ensure that all people, whether their own citizens or those from other countries, were protected.

“This should include strengthening domestic and regional legal frameworks to provide security and enable people to pursue recourse and justice,” he said.

APHR undertook a fact-finding mission just over a month after the start of an ongoing crackdown on undocumented migrant workers in Malaysia, which it said already resulted in thousands of arrests. Read more

Malaysia hampering document on migrant worker rights

Source: FMT News 

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia appears to be among several countries preventing an instrument, which would protect the rights of migrant workers in the Asean region, from becoming a legally binding document.

This is according to Adrian Pereira, who is director of human rights group North-South Initiative (NSI).

Pereira said sentiments picked up from closed-door discussions suggested that Malaysia was hampering the instrument, which stemmed from the Asean Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers in Cebu 10 years ago. 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

Bangladeshi relives horror as a trafficked person

Source: FMT News

Man says he spent 45 days on a ship with 500 others after being abducted by someone claiming to be an employment agent. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Kareem (not his real name) first considered becoming a migrant worker in Malaysia when he heard his neighbours in Bangladesh discussing the idea.

“I wanted to give a better life to my wife and two children, but I deliberated for some time on whether I should leave,” he said at a press conference on the subject of human trafficking.

He said he sought information on the process of getting a job in Malaysia from a man claiming to be an employment agent.

“He quoted me prices for tourist and student visas, but the amounts were too high, costing from RM15,000 to RM20,000. I could not afford them.” Read more

Silent fear, a tale of two maids in Malaysia

Source: FMT News

Abuse of Indonesian maids is common, says one who has seen a friend suffer. Pic from FMT News.

KAJANG: Imagine living in a constant state of anxiety or fear, unsure of when you’ll be paid, and knowing that many of your friends are in a similar situation, with some of them facing daily threats of abuse.

This is the story of two Indonesian maids, who told FMT of their life as domestic helps in Malaysia.

Nurul, 33, recalled watching helplessly as the authorities dragged away one of her friends who had attempted to flee Malaysia illegally. “She desperately wanted to go back to her hometown because she could not stand being abused by her employer.” Read more

Abused workers kept in jungles, says Tenaganita

Source: FMT News

PETALING JAYA: Most cases involving the abuse of migrant workers occur deep in jungles and in plantations located far from towns, the human rights organisation Tenaganita has alleged.

According to Tenaganita executive director Glorene Das, the abused workers, including those with families, are kept in “absolute isolation” from the outside world.

“Many don’t even know where they are and are too afraid to leave or run away because they have been threatened by the employers and agents, who use local gangsters to control them,” she told FMT.

She said Tenaganita was also aware of families brought into Malaysia on tourist visas and then sent to work deep in the jungles. She said they would remain in employment after the expiry of their visas.

“The agents and employers practise this form of exploitation and violation because there is no clear comprehensive policy for recruitment, placement and employment of migrant workers,” she added.

She was responding to a recent news report about human trafficking and the abuse of eighteen people at an oil palm plantation in Pengkalan Hulu.

According to The Star daily, the victims, including five children, were lured to the isolated plantation, accessible only by four-wheel drive along dirt roads. After their rescue, they told police they were made to work long hours, with the children forced to carry the harvested fruits. Read more