Wednesday, January 22, 2014

68,000 undocumented migrants detained in 10 detention depots nationwide as at 6/1/2014?

Govt urged to overcome shortage of legal workers before roping in illegals

21/01/2014 - 19:00 
Alyaa Alhadjri
PETALING JAYA: The Master Builders Association of Malaysia (MBAM) wants the government to address issues surrounding limited supply of legal workers before embarking on yet another crackdown against undocumented migrants in the country.

MBAM president Matthew Tee told theantdaily that while the association did not condone the practice of hiring undocumented migrants to work in construction sites, there were often “not enough” legal workers available to complete a project within a stipulated deadline.

“The government should understand the reasons behind the high demands for illegal workers.

“MBAM has consistently requested for the workers’ recruitment process to be simplified as delays would ultimately affect implementation of an ongoing (construction) project,” Tee said.

He was responding to the Home Ministry’s large-scale operation against undocumented migrants beginning Jan 21, after the end of a “grace period” given to both workers and their employers.

Tee also noted that the process to hire a legal foreign worker could take up to eight months, involving dealings with multiple government ministries and agencies fraught with red-tape.

“There was a time in the 90s when the government issued MBAM with a one-off quota system to bring in foreign workers in light of a similar crackdown on undocumented migrants. Some of the construction sites (at the time) were grounded,” Tee recalled.

However, in a Bernama report on Aug 5 last year Immigration director-general Datuk Alias Ahmad was quoted as saying that the lead time to process visas and permits for foreign workers in the construction industry is 14 days and not eight months as claimed by MBAM.

Tee also urged the authorities to provide clear guidelines on future raids at construction sites as MBAM members, representing almost 90% of construction companies listed on Bursa Malaysia, were “seriously affected” in the past.

“Whenever there is news of raids, most of the workers, whether legal or illegal, will flee the work sites to avoid arrest.

“It is our (MBAM) understanding that all the workers, including the legal ones, will be detained unless they can prove that they have proper documentation,” Tee said, adding there were instances where legitimate immigration papers of foreign workers were not accepted by enforcement personnel due to lack of coordination between the agencies concerned.

Tee said it was “common procedure” for employers to keep their workers' documents in the office instead of taking them to the construction sites.

“MBAM urges the authorities to be consistent in their procedure when conducting such raids. Don't just take our workers away,” he stressed.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had also reportedly said all 2.3 million foreign workers in 10 recognised sectors were required to apply for the new I-Kad identification document by the end of this year.

Zahid said the colour-coded I-Kad, which will cost a worker or his employer RM110, will be fitted with high-tech security features such as biometric fingerprint and Nexcode mobile data security. It will be issued in stages according to sectors.

Tee, in response to Zahid, urged the government to consider charging lower fees for the I-Kad as employers were already paying levies and other processing fees.

“As we all know, the construction industry can be quite labour-intensive, which means that if an employer employs 1,000 foreign workers, he has to pay an additional RM110,000 for these I- cards,” Tee said.

Meanwhile, the crackdown is also expected to once again highlight various human rights issues pertaining to the government’s treatment of undocumented migrants.

These issues include overcrowding and poor facilities in detention depots, Malaysia’s non-recognition of refugee status, high-handed action by the authorities involved in raids as well as a perceived bias towards protecting the interests of third-party agents involved in the recruitment process.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar had on Jan 6 reportedly said there were some 68,000 undocumented migrants detained in 10 detention depots nationwide at a daily cost of RM35 per person for food and administrative matters.

This translates to a total cost of RM2.38 million a day, RM71.4 million a month and an average of RM8.56 billion a year, notwithstanding medical expenses which Wan Junaidi said could raise the cost to RM75 per person. - The Ant Daily, 21/1/2014, Govt urged to overcome shortage of legal workers before roping in illegals

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Migrant Care Condemns Indonesian Workers Shooting in Malaysia

Migrant Care Condemns Indonesian Workers Shooting in Malaysia  
A number of activists from Migrant Care go on rally in front of the Malaysian embassy. TEMPO/Dasril Roszandi

MONDAY, 20 JANUARY, 2014 | 11:22 WIB
Migrant Care Condemns Indonesian Workers Shooting in Malaysia  
TEMPO.COJakarta - An Indonesian non-profit organization named Migrant Care condemned shooting of three Indonesian migrant workers from East Nusa Tenggara in Malaysia in January 11. It has urged the government to take diplomatic steps such as sending protest note to the Malaysian government, downgrading diplomatic relations by withdrawing ambassador of Indonesia for Malaysia and declaring persona non grata upon ambassador of Malaysia for Indonesia, and urging the government to fulfill the rights of the victims and their family.
"And also to take investigative steps, as well as to solve this case through legal proceeding," Migrant Care Executive Director, Anis Hidayah, said in a written statement received by Tempo on Monday, January 20, 2014.
Migrant Care also urged the Malaysian government to immediately take responsibility of the shooting and investigate this case as well as other unsolved cases of shootings by the Royal Malaysia Police. "The Malaysian government must stop the killing of Indonesian migrant workers," Anis said.
Anis also urged other institutions to investigate this case. "We urged the National Commission of Human Rights, Suhakam Malaysia, and the House of Representatives to take investigative steps on this case," Anis said.
Three Indonesian migrant workers were shot dead by the Royal Malaysian Police in January 11. The victims are Wahab, 30, Sudarsono, 30, and Gusti Randa, 35. According to Consuler Chief of Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in Johor Baru Malaysia, Sri Nirmala, the three migrant workers were shot dead after fighting the police when they were inspecting illegal migrant workers.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

No foreign workers for fast-food outlets, says panel

No foreign workers for fast-food outlets, says panel
The Special Cabinet Committee on Foreign Workers and Illegal Immigrants (JKKA-PATI) has decided that fast-food concept restaurants will not be allowed to employ foreign workers.

The JKKA-PATI secretariat, in a statement issued after its meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in Putrajaya today, said the decision was made to give priority to local residents in filling up such vacancies.

“The government views the matter seriously and fast-food concept restaurant operators have been urged to employ locals who are still interested in working at such places, it said.

JKKA-PATI said cooking in fast-food restaurants was quite routine, as compared to those which needed experience to prepare a wide variety of dishes.

“Fast food restaurants are still popular as a source of employment among young people such as school-leavers and university students to obtain exposure and income, even as part-timers in the food industry,” it said.

Also present at the meeting were Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Hasan Malek, Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam, Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Tourism and Culture Minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Rohani Karim and Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Douglas Unggah Embas.

JKKA-PATI has also decided on several issues which included extending the government-to-government mechanism with Bangladesh, now being implemented in peninsular Malaysia to the Sarawak government to fill vacancies in the oil palm plantation sector.  
Its implementation in the peninsula had so far, generated positive impact, it said.

“The method of entry control, as well as security and health screenings by both countries is seen as being more systematic and addressed common problems on employing foreign workers,” added the statement.

Apart from that, JKKA-PATI said the Special Programme of Managing Illegal Immigrants (PKPP) which was being carried out at the Home Ministry One-Stop Approval Centre (OSC) will cease on Jan 20.

It also reminded employers who alleged being swindled by agents or middlemen during the 6P programme to present their cases at the OSC before the PKPP ended.

“It is hoped employers will approach the OSC fast to avoid further complications.

“After the programme has been terminated, the government will carry out stricter and continuous enforcement to ensure public security and order,” it said.

- Bernama

Monday, January 6, 2014

Guan Eng’s myopic view of migrant workers disappointing

CM’s myopic view of migrant workers

January 6, 2014
FMT LETTER: From Rani Rasiah, via e-mail

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s statement that the minimum wage should be restricted to Malaysians only and not extended to migrant workers is hugely disappointing. His reasoning that extending the minimum wage to migrant workers would increase business costs as well as result in a net outflow of money is lame and totally unacceptable.

Employers are under no compulsion to hire migrant workers and if indeed they are too costly, then bosses should stop hiring them! Or if it is felt that SMEs can’t cope with a larger wage bill, then the government should subsidise the SMEs in some way instead of asking workers to make a sacrifice.

Workers’ rights are not exactly a priority with bosses, and thus workers look to the government to intercede on their behalf. Unfortunately, the federal government has shown itself to be complicit with employers in the exploitation of both Malaysian and migrant workers. It is truly regrettable that Lim Guan Eng doesn’t differ from the federal government in this matter.

Instead of addressing the demands of Malaysian workers for better wages and working conditions, the government has flooded the labour market with cheap migrant labour. This has severely curtailed the bargaining power of local labour, and created youth unemployment among unskilled, academically poor Malaysian youths, a situation that is a contributing factor to social problems.

Creating an income differential by denying migrant workers the minimum wage will not change this situation. In fact it will only encourage companies to employ foreign workers because it is cheaper. Lim Guan Eng’s remarks are thus shortsighted and harmful for Malaysian youths and workers as well.

The situation is no better for the more than four million migrant workers whose exploitation is sanctioned by government policies. It’s officially known that workers passports are unlawfully held by bosses, a situation that places them in an extremely vulnerable position, and that has led to all kinds of abuses, including the crime of trafficking.

The PSM is against the exploitation of workers. Cost-cutting should not be at the expense of workers, whatever their nationality. All workers should be paid the minimum wage without further delay. Stop discriminating by skin colour and nationality!

Accord labour its due dignity! Legislate policy in the interest of society!

The writer is PSM central committee member and coordinator of its migrant desk - FMT, 6/1/2013, CM’s myopic view of migrant workers