Tuesday, June 14, 2016

WH4C and others say STOP HARASSING THAI HR DEFENDERS PORNPEN, ANCHANA AND SOMCHAI



Joint Statement – 13/06/2016
Statement on the Reprisals against Human Rights Defenders, Ms. Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, Ms. Anchana Heemmina, and Mr. Somchai Homlaor

We, the undersigned civil society groups, are gravely concerned about the legal action taken by the Royal Thai Army for criminal defamation and Computer Crimes Act violations against Woman Human Rights Defenders (WHRD) Ms. Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, Ms. Anchana Heemmina, and HRD Mr. Somchai Homlaor.  Ms. Pornpen, is the Director of the Cross Cultural Foundation – an organization which monitors and documents cases of torture and ill-treatment in Thailand. Mr. Somchai, is the President of the Cross Cultural Foundation, and Ms. Anchana is director of Duay JaiGroup (Hearty Support Group) – a local organization based in Thailand’s ‘Deep South’, which supports people who suffer from the justice system in national security cases. 


All three are co-editors of a report, Torture and ill treatment in The Deep South Documented in 2014-2015[1] documenting 54 cases of inhumane treatment in detention, launched on 10th February 2016. The research and report was partly funded by the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture, established under the General Assembly resolution 36/151 in 1981, thus under the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council Resolution 12/2 these HRDs and their colleagues are “individuals who cooperate with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of Human Rights.” 

Pornpen Khongkachonkiet


On 8th June 2016, Internal Security Operations Command Region 4 (ISOC 4) gave information to Ms. Pornpen through a phone conversation that ISOC 4 sought the power of attorney from the Royal Thai Army and submitted a complaint to Yala Mueang Police Station on 17th May 2016 for criminal defamation and computer-related violations by the three HRDs. The charges are for alleged criminal defamation under Article 328 of the Thai Criminal Code, and violation of the Computer Crimes Act (2007), Article 14(1)[2]. We are disturbed regarding information that authorities have already interrogated six witnesses. The Police case file is No. 704/2559. 
Anchana Heemmina
This judicial action has been taken despite the Human Rights Defenders’ best efforts to engage authorities on the evidence of torture and ill-treatment presented in the report. Namely, the report was sent to Army Lt Gen Wiwat Pathompak, Commander of the 4th Army Region, on 8th January 2016, one month before its publication. However, high-ranking military government officials have publicly dismissed the accuracy of the report and questioned the intentions of the civil society organisations who compiled the report. Furthermore, Ms. Anchana, WHRD working in Thailand’s ‘Deep South’, faced summons to an Army camp, lengthy questioning by Army officers, and close physical surveillance and intimidation by unidentified, uniformed men[3].
Somchai Homlaor
We deem this action by the Royal Thai Army to be a prompt reprisal against civil society groups seeking to bring to the authorities’ attention the continued abuse of power and ill-treatment of detainees in Thailand. The Royal Thai Army has taken these actions at a time when it the Thai military government has renewed the Thailand’s international commitments to abolishing the use of torture. On 11th May 2016, at the United Nation’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Thailand 12 UN member states issued recommendations directly relating to the prevention of torture and access to justice for survivors of torture. 

Furthermore, on 24th May 2016 the Thai military government issued a Cabinet Resolution stating that they will pass a Prevention of Torture and Enforced Disappearance Act. It is troubling that the Royal Thai Army has ordered the legal pursuit of HRDs who have been supporting victims of torture as well as pushing at many levels for policy reform and state action to prevent torture and provide justice to survivors. 
We deem the Royal Thai Army’s action to be an unreasonable, arbitrary, and heavy-handed attempt to silence all complaints of allegations of torture against the authorities. By quashing Ms. Pornpen, Ms. Anchana, and Mr Somchai’s efforts to support torture victims to publicly complain about Human Rights violations by authorities, the Royal Thai Army is seeking to make it more than impossible for torture victims to voice their complaints. Moreover, this is a deplorable act by the Royal Thai Army as it aims to further intimidate existing and potential victims of human rights violations to not report these violations. 




Instead of suppressing the work of Human Rights Defenders, such as Ms. Pornpen, Ms. Anchana, and Mr. Somchai, the Royal Thai Army should, as New Zealand recommended at the UPR, “Promptly investigate and prosecute all allegations of torture and extrajudicial killings,” and as Canada recommended, “Create an independent body to investigate all torture allegations, including in Thailand’s Deep South, and bring perpetrators to justice.”

This judicial harassment constitutes a direct infringement of Ms. Pornpen, Ms. Anchana, and Mr. Somchai’s right to work as a Human Rights Defender in Thailand. As stated in Article 1 of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders “Everyone has the right to (individually and in association with others) promote and to strive for the realization of Human Rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international level.” We believe that the filing of this criminal legal case against Ms. Pornpen, Ms. Anchana, and Mr. Somchai was undertaken with the purpose of retaliation and that it is in response to the three HRDs peaceful and legitimate activities to hold authorities to account for cases of human rights violations, including torture, in Thailand’s ‘Deep South.’
We call on the Royal Thai Army to:
-   Immediately and unconditionally withdraw the legal action against Ms. Pornpen, Ms. Anchana, and Mr. Somchai. Such legal action against the legitimate work of HRDs is against the public interest.
-      Ensure that no further retaliation is carried out or allowed to happen in the future against HRDs, ill-treatment and torture victims, their colleagues and families. 

We call on the Thai military government to:
-      Respect the universally recognized rights, duties and obligations of everyone and organizations to highlight information about Human Rights violations and injustices to the public, as stated in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders; 
-     Ensure that all persons affected by torture and other human rights violations receive justice, including first and foremost the right to complain which must be respected at all times. 
-    Ensure the implementations of recommendations it accepted during the recent UPR with regard to HRDs.
Signed by:
Organisations
Thailand

Aanglumphong Conservation Groups and Archaeological Site กลุ่มอนุรักษ์สิ่งแวดล้อมอ่างลำพอกและโบราณสถาน สุรินทร์
Assembly of the Poor สมัชชาคนจน กรณีเขื่อนปากมูล
Centre for Community Rights to Manage Natural Resources, Chi Basin ศูนย์พิทักษ์สิทธิการจัดการทรัพยากรชุมชนลุ่มน้ำชี
Center to Study and Develop Law for Human Rights ศูนย์ศึกษาและพัฒนานักกฎหมายเพื่อสิทธิมนุษยนชน
Centre to Study and Ecology Habitation of Community Culture in Phetchabun ศูนย์ศึกษาและฟื้นฟูนิเวศวัฒนธรรมชุมชนเทือกเขาเพชรบูรณ์
Chi Basin Network, Yasothon เครือข่ายน้ำชี จังหวัดยโสธร
Community Resource Centre (CRC) มูลนิธิศูนย์ข้อมูลชุมชน
Campaign Committee for Human Rights (CCHR)คณะกรรมการรณรงค์เพื่อสิทธิมนุษยชน (ครส.)
Empower Foundation เอ็มพาวเวอร์
E-saan Human Rights and Peace Information Centre ศูนย์ข้อมูลสิทธิมุษยชนและสันติภาพ
E-saan Land Reform Network เครือข่ายปฎิรูปที่ดินภาคอีสาน
E-saan Network on Natural Resources and Environmental เครือข่ายทรัพยากรและสิ่งแวดล้อมภาคอีสาน
Foundation for Muslim Attorneys Center มูลนิธิเพื่อศูนย์ทนายความมุสลิม
Foundation for Women มูลนิธิผู้หญิง
Gender equality promoting foundation มูลนิธิส่งเสริมความเสมอภาคทางสังคม
Human Rights Lawyers’ Association (HRLA) สมาคมนักกฎหมายสิทธิมนษยชน
Land Watch Working Group กลุ่มจับตาปัญหาที่ดิน
Mplus Foundation
Namoon Environmental Conservation Group กลุ่มอนุรักษ์สิ่งแวดล้อมบ้านนามูล-ดูนสาด
Network of Indigenous Peoples in Thailand (NIPT) เครือข่ายชนเผ่าพื้นเมืองแห่งประเทศไทย (คชท.)
Network of Thaiban People Deprived of Rights เครือข่ายไทบ้านผู้ไร้สิทธิ์ สกลนคร
People’s Empowerment Foundation
Prorights Foundation มูลนิธิส่งเสริมและคุ้มครองสิทธิมนุษยชน
Southern Peasant Federation of Thailand (SPFT) สหพันธ์เกษตรกรภาคใต้สกต
Saiburi River Association สมาคมลุ่มน้ำสายบุรี
Thai Committee for Refugees Foundation (TCR)
Thai Development Support Center (TDSC) ศูนย์เผยแพร่และส่งเสริมงานพัฒนา(ผสพ)
Thai Working Group for ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism คณะทำงานไทยเพื่อกลไกสิทธิมนุษยชนอาเซียน
Togetherness for Equality and Action (TEA) โรงน้ำชา
Udonthani Environmental Conservation Group กลุ่มอนุรักษ์สิ่งแวดล้อมอุดร
Union for Civil liberty (UCL) สมาคมสิทธิเสรีภาพของประชาชน
WARTANI Media Agency สำนักสื่อ Wartani
WE PEACE สมาคมผู้หญิงเพื่อสันติภาพ
Women Struggle for Livelihood กลุ่มหญิงสู้ชีวิต.
WeMove ขบวนผู้หญิงปฎิรูปประเทศไทย
Women Network for Advancement and Peace เครือข่ายผู้หญิงเพื่อความก้าวหน้าและสันติภาพ
Work and Environment Related Patient's Network of Thailand (WEPT สภาเครือข่ายกลุ่มผู้ป่วยจากการทำงานและสิ่งแวดล้อมแห่งประเทศไทย)
Beyond Thailand

Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters (HRDP, Myanmar)
Centre for Independent Journalism (Malaysia)
Center for Sustainable Development in Mountainous Areas (CSDM, Vietnam)
Center for Women's Global Leadership (USA)
LBH Masyarakat (Community Legal Aid Institute, Indonesia)
Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET)
Malaysian Humanist and Rationalist Movement (MyHARAM)
National Free Trade Union (Sri Lanka)
North South Initiative (Malaysia)
PINAY (Filipino Women’s Organization in Quebec)
PUSAT KOMAS (Malaysia)
Safety and Rights Society (Bangladesh)
The Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (France)
Think Centre (Singapore)
Vietnam Indigenous Knowledge Network (VTIK)
Vietnamese Women for Human Rights (VNWHR)
Workers Hub For Change (WH4C, Malaysia)

Regional/International

Amnesty International
ASEAN Youth Forum
Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)
AWID
Civil Rights Defenders
FIDH, within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
Focus on the Global South
FRIDA | The Young Feminist Fund
International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF)
Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA)
Nazra for Feminist Studies
Network of Patani's Citizens Outside the Motherland
Protection International
Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA)
The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
UPR Info AsiaUrgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights
Urgent Action Fund Latin America
Women Living Under Muslim Laws
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

Individuals

Ms.  Kanungnit Makchuchit  คนึงนิจ  มากชูชิต
Ms. Naiyana  Waikham นัยนา  หวายคำ
Ms. Chantawipa   Apisuk จันทวิภา อิสุข
Mr. Jumpol  Apisuk จุมพล อภิสุข
Mr. Bordin Saisaeng Researcher, Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, Mahidol University บดินทร์ สายแสง สถาบันสิทธิมนุษยชนและสันติศึกษา มหาวิทยาลัยมหิดล
Chompunut Chalieobun ชมพูนุท เฉลียวบุญ
Dr. Eakpant Pidavanija Lecturer, Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, Mahidol University เอกพันธุ์ ปิณฑวณิช สถาบันสิทธิมนุษยชนและสันติศึกษา มหาวิทยาลัยมหิดล
Mr. Ismail Hajiwaechi นายอิสมาอีล ฮายีแวจิ 
Assistant Professor Dr Naruemon Thabchumpon, Political Science Faculty, Chalulongkron University ผศ.ดร. นฤมล ทับจุมพล คณะรัฐศาสตร์ จุฬาลงกรณ์มหาวิทยาลัย
Lecturer Ngamsuk Rattanasatian Lecturer, Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, Mahidol University งามศุกร์ รัตนเสถียร สถาบันสิทธิมนุษยชนและสันติศึกษา มหาวิทยาลัยมหิดล
Mrs. Ruengrawee Pichaikul นางเรืองรวี พิชัยกุล
Sor Rattanamanee Polkla, Lawyer
Thaweesak Pi, Social Activist นายทวีศักดิ์ ปิ นักกิจกรรมทางสังคม
Victor Bernard
William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Defender and Freelance Journalist, UK
Yuyun Wahyuningrum, Senior Advisor on ASEAN and Human Rights, Human Rights Working Group (HRWG, Indonesia)
ANNEX 1 - Human Rights Defender Profiles

Ms. Pornpen is a leading Human Rights Defender in Thailand who has been involved in various Human Rights issues both in Thailand and the region, including women’s rights, indigenous rights and preventing forced disappearances. Her work serves the public interest by ensuring that authorities are held accountable and pressuring authorities to unconditionally respect the Human Rights of all. As Director and President of the Cross Cultural Foundation, Ms. Pornpen and Mr. Somchai have constantly been monitoring and documenting cases of torture and Human Rights violations in Thailand’s southernmost provinces and other parts of the country

Mr. Somchai is a seasoned and respected Human Rights lawyer in Thailand, who has been fighting to defend people’s Human Rights for the past 25 years. He was a Commissioner for the Law Reform Commission of Thailand until it was disbanded by the current military regime. Furthermore, as president of the Cross Cultural Foundation he has been a key figure forging bridges across Thai society. Cross Cultural Foundation organises educational activities, as well as research and legal support to promote people’s Human Rights, especially in Thailand’s southernmost provinces which are in a state of prolonged armed conflict. In September 2014, both Ms. Pornpen and Mr. Somchai, as well as their organization, faced a criminal defamation and computer-related crimes charge filed by Army Task Force 41. The case was eventually dropped by decision of the state prosecutor in June 2015 following an international campaign denouncing the Thai Army’s harassment and intimidation of these HRDs for their legitimate and crucial Human Rights work.

Ms. Anchana is Director of Duay Jai Group which has been working with victims of ill-treatment in national security cases since January 2010, in Thailand’s southernmost, conflict-affected regions. Following the release of the report on torture cases, on 14th February, Col. Suratep, Head of the Civil Society Organisations unit under the Internal Security Operations Command ('ISOC'), contacted Ms. Anchana and other activists who were involved in compiling the report and summoned them for a discussion. Ms. Anchana presented herself at Sirinthon Army Camp in Yala Province for the discussion with seven security officers. The meeting lasted two and a half hours, during which the officers questioned Ms. Anchana about the cases in the torture report. The officers expressed their discontent with the report and requested the human rights defender to henceforth submit all of her publications to the ISOC prior to their release. Ms. Anchana refused to do so. Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR)[4] reported that at about 5 pm on Friday, 19th February 2016, a group of ten men in green uniforms visited the home of Ms. Anchana, in Songkhla Province, but only Ms. Anchana’s mother was home. Without presenting any warrant, they claimed to be border police officers and asked about Ms. Anchana’s work and her personal information. The activist’s mother reported that the men took pictures of her and the house. She added that before they left they told her to inform Ms. Anchana not to use Line, a chat application, or Facebook.


[2]               Computer Crimes Act, Article 14.1
“Whoever commits the following offences, shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding five years and fin not exceeding on hundred thousand baht or both:
(1) input, into computer system, forged computer data in whole or in part or false computer data in a manner likely to cause injury to another person or the public;”
[3]               See Annex 1 – Human Rights Defender Profiles for more details.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Renesas Semiconductor Found guilty of union busting (Star, 12/3/2016)

See earlier post, which also provides the full award, and commentary

Electronic Union win in 'Union Busting' Case against Renesas Semiconductor? HRD Wan Noorulazhar?

87 Groups :- RENESAS MUST IMMEDIATELY ACCORD RECOGNITION TO THE UNION AND REINSTATE WAN NOORULAZHAR

 



Saturday, 12 March 2016

Found guilty of union busting

KUALA LUMPUR: An electronics company has been found guilty of union busting by the Industrial Court.
Court chairman Datuk Mary Shakila G. Azariah said Renesas Semiconductor KL Sdn Bhd had violated the Industrial Relations Act by its actions against members of the Electro­nics Industry Employees Union Western Region Peninsular Malaysia in its employ.

She said employers were lawfully bound to respect a worker’s right to engage in unionism and also they can participate in the lawful activities of a union.

She added that employers were also ethically and morally constrained from interfering with the affairs of a trade union and the right of workers to organise, discriminate, restrain, or coerce against any worker because of legitimate trade union activities and abuse authority in any form.

Mary Shakila said this in the complaint of union busting brought by the union against Renesas for breaching Sections 4(1), 4(3), and 5(1)(d)(i) and (ii) of the Act.

The western region union was registered on Dec 1, 2009, seven months after the Government approved the unionisation of the workers in the electronics industry into four regions. Previously, there were only in-house unions in the electronics sector.

In her 49-page award dated March 8, Mary Shakila said a Renesas employee, Wan Noorulazhar Mohd Hanafiah, was elected as pro-tem president of the union but he was told by the plant director that he “was not to promote the establishment of a national/regional wide union for the electronics industry” as the company would be forming an in-house union.

The union submitted a claim for recognition from Renesas on Jan 18, 2010 but the company refused to grant it.

A month later, the company organised a seminar on the setting up of an in-house union which was attended by members of the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) in the company at Cyberview Resort & Spa.

Mary Shakila noted that the timing of the seminar left “a lot to be said” as to the motives of Renesas.

Wan Noorulazhar alleged he was offered the role of president in the proposed in-house union, which he declined, resulting in him being made to perform tasks below his job grade and being monitored by the Human Resources Department via CCTV.

He was later dismissed in 2011 after a domestic inquiry found him guilty of misconduct for allegedly maligning Renesas Semiconductor publicly on his Facebook page. Wan Noorulazhar is challenging his dismissal in the Industrial Court.

While Mary Shakila refrained from passing comment on his case, she noted that his termination was “manifestly a union-busting tactic”.

In evaluating the evidence, she said that the company’s witnesses, all still serving in the employ of the company, “are not to be believed.”

“The court is satisfied with the veracity of the union’s witnesses and their evidence, some of whom are still employed by the company and have risked their jobs to testify against the company.” - Star, 12/3/2016

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

104 Groups - Immoral for Malaysia to take from Workers to overcome national economic problems,Employers should pay the Levy – Not Migrant Workers

Joint Statement – 12/2/2016
Employers should pay the Levy – Not Migrant Workers
Immoral for Malaysia to take from Workers to overcome national economic problems

We the 104 undersigned civil society organisations, trade unions and groups are shocked by the news that the Malaysian government is increasing the migrant worker (foreign worker) levy to more than double the current rate, which since January 2013, had to be paid by the migrant workers themselves.  Prior to that, it was paid by the employer of migrant workers, whereby the introduction of the levy then was to deter employers employing migrant workers, rather than local Malaysian workers. This was also stated by the then Malaysian Labour Director-General Datuk Ismail Abdul Rahim who was quoted saying that, “…The rationale behind getting employers to bear the levy was to discourage them from employing foreigners…”  [Star, 16/4/2009]

Migrant Worker Levy Rates Drastically Increased as of 1/2/2016

The Malaysian government recently announced that, as of 1/2/2016, annual levy payable for each migrant worker is increased to RM2,500 (manufacturing, construction and service sectors) and RM1,500 (plantation and agriculture). Before this, the annual levy payable for a Migrant Worker in the Manufacturing sector (RM1,250), Construction sector (RM 1,250), Plantation sector (RM590), Agricultural sector (RM410) and Services sector (RM1,250 – RM1,850) which was so much lower.

This new rates in comparison greatly burden the migrant worker in that the annual levy payable per migrant worker will now be doubled, or even tripled. 

For example, a migrant worker in an electronic factory, classified under the manufacturing sector, who paid a levy of RM1,250 before, will now have to pay double, RM2,500. A worker earning a monthly minimum wage of RM900, which is the wage many migrants are paid, will now have to pay more than RM200 for levy, leaving them with only less than RM700 as their monthly wage, not taking into account all other wage deductions. This is most unjust.

It is unconscionable for the Malaysian government to target migrant workers in the hope of making extra income of RM2.5 billion for the country from the 2.1 million documented migrant workers in Malaysia to rescue Malaysia from its current financial woes.

Easily Exploited With Almost No Access to Justice Makes Migrant Workers Vulnerable to Employers

When Malaysia, introduced Minimum Wage, employers and employer groups complained that their labour cost had gone up, and they could not afford it. In response, the Malaysian government decided that employers no longer need to pay the migrant worker levy, thus the obligation to pay the levy fell on migrant workers themselves.

Contract substitution remains a problem. Migrant workers agree to come to work in Malaysia, but when they start working, the migrant workers complain that they are now paid lower than what they had agreed to in their country of origin with the employer and/or his agent. Many employers have also used the Minimum Wage of RM900, as the standard wages they pay migrant workers. 

Because of the debt incurred by migrant workers in coming to Malaysia to work, which is about RM5,000 and the practice of employers and/or agents holding on to their passports and work permits, migrant workers find themselves in a form of bonded labour, and not able to do anything else but just survive. 

With the very low wages, they receive; many are forced into doing overtime sometimes 4 hours per day, working on rest days and even public holidays to make ends meet. Malaysian law stipulates a draconian overtime limit of 104 hours every month. This means, in effect migrant workers can be forced to work for 12 hours a day because in many workplaces doing overtime is no longer an option that workers can refuse. As such, migrant workers and even local workers can be considered to be engaged in some form of ‘forced labour’.

For migrant workers, access to justice remains a myth for many. When they complain about rights violations, what happens in many cases is that they are terminated, and their permit to work and/or remain in Malaysia is also terminated. This causes migrant workers to be easily controlled and exploited cheaply. They do not even have the option to claim justice.

Employers Contribute Less to Migrant Workers Income

Under the Malaysian law, employers are required to contribute 13% of the monthly income, inclusive of overtime earnings, to the Employees Provident Fund, this requirement is not applicable to the migrant workers. This makes migrant workers cheaper.

Further, since many employers do not take in migrant workers directly as their own employees, but take and use them as workers who are supplied by the labour suppliers - legally known as the contractors for labour - it effectively prevents these supplied migrant workers the right to join in-house trade unions. Even if they do join national/regional unions, they simply will not be able to enjoy the extra rights and benefits that come by reason of a Collective Bargaining Agreement between Union and Employer, simply by reason that they are not recognised as employees. Calls for the abolition of the ‘contractor for labour system’ by trade unions and civil society have gone unheeded by the government. 

Malaysia recognizes that households earning less than RM4,000 a month requires financial assistance, and local workers do get a small assistance from the government through the BR1M program – but migrant workers are excluded from this benefit.

Weakening Ringgit Causes Migrants to earn 20-40% less.

Whilst, the financial problems Malaysia is facing, coupled with the increased cost of living - new taxes, increased transportation costs, and the weakening of the Malaysian Ringgit in relation to currency of the country of origins of migrants – it is the migrant worker who suffers the most. 

The weakening ringgit also means that the money migrant workers send back home to their families is now much less and this has a serious impact on their families/dependents and the ability to settle their debts back home. It was recently reported, that "For instance, employees from Bangladesh used to make 44 taka for every RM1, but now it is about 17 taka. The drop is very drastic, more than 40%."Even the ringgit to the Indonesian rupiah has seen a drop in value by 20%," (Malaysian Insider, 5/2/2016)

Unjust to impose New Financial Obligations On Migrant Workers Already In Malaysia

It is totally unjust for Malaysia to impose new financial obligations by law on migrant workers, which did not exist when they agreed with their employers to come and work in Malaysia for 3-5 years. Any new obligations especially of payment by migrant workers should only apply to new migrant workers who have yet to agree to come to Malaysia to work – certainly not to those who are already here and working.

The Malaysian Trade Union Congress(MTUC) and employer groups have been informed that employers will now have to  pay migrant worker levy. This was also mentioned in a media report, which stated, ‘The FMM[Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers] said the government recently informed employers that the levy burden would be shifted back to them. (Star, 2/2/2016).

However, employer groups have started a campaign lobbying the Malaysian government to re-consider, and 
the Malaysian government has been reported as saying that they may re-consider. There is concern that this re-consideration may not just be about the amount of levy payable, but also the question as to who will have to pay the levy – migrant workers or their employer?

Therefore, we the undersigned

Call on the Malaysian government in the name of justice, to ensure that it must be the employers of migrant workers that should be paying this Migrant Worker levy – not the migrant workers;

Call on the Malaysian government to also reconsider the increase of the levy rate, at this time whilst Malaysia, and especially small Malaysian businesses, are affected by the economic crisis and the effect of the falling Malaysian ringgit.

Call on the Malaysian government to increase the Minimum Wage of all workers in Malaysia to RM1,200 – RM1,500, to compensate for the increased cost of living in Malaysia, and the falling value of the Malaysian ringgit with  reference to the currency in migrant worker’s countries of origin. 

Call on the Malaysian government to abolish the ‘contractor for labour’ system, and ensure that all workers that are working in a workplace are all recognised employees of the said workplace, and are treated equally as workers.



Charles Hector
Mohd Roszeli bin Majid
Pranom Somwong

For and on behalf of the 104 organisations, trade unions and groups listed below 
ALIRAN
Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)
Asia Monitor Resource Centre(AMRC)
Asia Floor Wage Alliance
Asia Pacific Forum on Women Law and Development (APWLD)
Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters- Myanmar
Asociación de trabajadoras del Hogar a Domicilio y de Maquila, ATRAHDOM, Guatemala, Centro Amercia. 
Bangladesh Groep Nederland (Bangladesh Group The Netherlands)
Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies- BILS
BLAST,  Bangladesh
Boat People SOS (BPSOS)
Building and Wood Workers International (BWI) Asia Pacific Region
Campagna Abiti Puliti – Italy
CARAM Asia
Clean Clothes Campaign International Office(CCC)
Club Employees Union Peninsular Malaysia(CEUPM)
Coalition to Abolish Modern-day Slavery in Asia (CAMSA)
Crispin B. Beltran Resource Center (CBBRC),Philippines
CWI Malaysia (Committee for Workers International)
Defend Job Philippines
Fair – Italy
FAIR ACTION, Sweden
Foundation For Women, Thailand 
Garment and Allied Workers Union, India
German Clean Clothes Campaign
Homeworkers Worldwide, United Kingdom
IDEAL (Institute for Development of Alternative Living
IndustriALL Bangladesh Council (IBC)
Institut Rakyat
International Labor Rights Forum
Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)
Jatio Shromik Federation (JSF), Bangladesh
Karmojibi Nari (KN), Bangladesh
Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Perodua
Kesatuan Sekerja Industri Elektronik Wilayah Selatan, Semenanjung Malaysia (KSIEWSSM)
Knowledge and Rights with Young people through Safer Spaces (KRYSS)
Labour Behind the Label
Labour Studies and Action Centre (CEREAL), Mexico
Legal support for Children and Women (LSCW), Cambodia
MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)
Malaysian Election Observers Network
Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC)
MAP Foundation (Thailand)
MHS Aviation Employees Union
Migrante International
Mission for Migrant Workers
Myanmar Migrants Rights Centre
NAMM (Network of Action for Migrants in Malaysia)
National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF), Bangladesh
National Union Employees in Companies Manufacturing Rubber Products (NUECMRP)
National Union of Transport Equipment & Allied Industries Workers (NUTEAW), Malaysia
NLD LA Malaysia
North South Initiative
Oriental Hearts and Mind Study Institute(OHMSI)
Panggau Sarawak
Paper Products Manufacturing Employees’ Union of Malaysia (PPMEU)
Parti Rakyat Malaysia(PRM)
Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
Pax Romana ICMICA
Peoples Service Organisation (PSO)
Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor (PSWS)
Pertubuhan Angkatan Bahaman, Temerloh, Pahang, Malaysia
PROHAM -Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Manusia
Radanar Ayar Rural Development Association, Myanmar
Repórter Brasil
Safety and Rights Society, Bangladesh
Sahabat Rakyat
Schone Kleren Campagne (CCC Netherlands)
SEA Women's Caucus on ASEAN
Solidarity of Cavite Workers (SCW), Philippines
Sramik Nirapotta Forum, Bangladesh
SUARAM
Tenaga National Berhad Junior Officers Union (TNBJOU)
TENAGANITA Women’s Force, Malaysia
Textile Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia
The Collectif Ethique sur létiquette, Clean Clothes Campaign French
Think Centre, Singapore
UNI Global Union
War on Want
WARBE Development Foundation, Bangladesh
WH4C (Workers Hub For Change)
Women Peace Network-Arakan, Myanmar
Women Rehabilitation Center (WOREC), Nepal
Workers Assistance Center, Inc (WAC) , Philippines
Vietnamese Women for Human Rights
Yaung Chi Oo Workers Association-YCOWA
Yayasan Lintas Nusa, Indonesia
IMA Research Foundation, Bangladesh
International Trade Union Confederation(ITUC)
Women's Aid Organisation(WAO), Malaysia
PINAY (The Filipino Women's Organization in Quebec), Canada
Cividep India
Kesatuan Sekerja Industri Elektronik Wilayah Utara Semenanjung Malaysia
Centro Nuovo Modello di Sviluppo – Italy
National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (NUFAM)
Pusat KOMAS
Perak Women for Women Society (PWW)
Asian Migrant Centre
Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights (CENTRAL)-Cambodia
Labour Education and Service Network
Mekong Migration Network(MMN)

Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Philippines

MARUAH, Singapore
Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA) Philippines
 



Media coverage:- 

Employers should pay foreign worker levy, say civil society groups (Malaysian Insider)

'IMMORAL' MALAYSIA GETS A TICKING OFF: Bosses should pay the levy – NOT the migrant workers (Malaysia Chronicle, 13/2/2016))

Employers should pay the levy, not migrant workers (Malaysiakini, 12/2/2016)

 

The said Joint Statement was send to the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Minister of Human Resources, Minister of Home Affair (who is in charge of the Immigration Department), Opposition Leader in Parliament and SUHAKAM(Malaysia's Human Rights Commission). The emailed copy can be seen at ...

101 Groups Letter to PM Najib - Employers should pay the Levy – Not Migrant Workers , Immoral for Malaysia to take from Workers to overcome national economic problems