The work permits expired ...but employer insist that they continue working
The employer take their passports (allegedly hands them to immigration)...and migrant workers without passports, when they go out, do get arrested, and sent to the Immigation Detention Centres...
The workers were arrested on 17/1/2009 - and till this day remain in the Detention Centres...why?
MTUC: "...The question now is, why did the Immigration Department, despite having in possession the workers’ legal documents and being aware of what had transpired, still find it right to detain them..."
We wonder whether the Directors, the Shareholders and the management of this Employer Company will be charged.
It seems clear that they have caused the detention of 43 migrant workers for over 43 days now.
But, this being Malaysia, most likely is that they will get away scott free..
The employer company will also not be black-listed, and will continue to be allowed to bring in more migrant workers ...and repeat the exploitation.
The company must be blacklisted - not good enough, the named Directors, Shareholders and CEO/Manager must be blacklisted.
|Migrant workers on hunger strike |
Syed Jaymal Zahiid | Feb 26, 09 2:45pm (Malaysiakini)
News reports on the exploitation of migrant workers are becoming increasingly common in Malaysia. The country is also worryingly becoming notorious for the alleged widespread corrupt practices of immigration officials, which have rendered already weak enforcement laws almost useless.
Today, 43 migrant workers from India went on a hunger strike at a migrant detention centre in Pekan Nenas, Johor, in protest of their alleged unlawful detention by the Immigration Department since mid last month.
The 43 were among 51 workers originally recruited by a Johor-based labour outsourcing company, Silvertrade Sdn Bhd, which had subsequently issued them with three-year work permits. Upon completion of their contracts, the workers informed their employer that, as required by law, they wished to return home.
Labour laws state that labour outsourcing companies must provide air tickets to their workers upon completion of their contracts. However, in this case, Silvertrade failed to do so.
According to the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC), the eight who escaped detention, approached the body for help, saying their employer had ignored requests for air tickets home.
"They (the company) demanded that the workers remain in service but did not make any efforts to renew their work permits," said MTUC secretary-general G Rajasekaran in a press conference today.
Rajasekaran added that Silvertrade then proceeded to collect their passports and illegally handed them over to the Immigration Department. To their surprise, the passports were accepted by the department.
"Fearing that they will be penalised, on Jan 17, all 51 workers boarded a bus to Kuala Lumpur to seek help from the Indian High Commission.
"Unfortunately the police, maybe after a tip-off by the employer, stopped the bus midway to Kuala Lumpur and arrested 43 workers for not having legal documentation," explained Rajasekaran.
Following this, MTUC sent a formal complaint letter to Silvertrade and demanded an explanation from the company and informed it that labour laws had been transgressed.
"However, there was no response. In fact, after learning that we were looking into the matter, the company’s director, one Surendran, met with the workers at the detention centre and extorted money from them," claimed Rajasekaran.
He said the workers had informed him that Surendran had allegedly wanted to use the money to purchase their air tickets instead of using his company’s money as was stipulated in their contracts.
"Not having their legal documents and fearing a prolonged jail term, the workers agreed and gave him whatever money they had," said Rajasekaran, who added that the employer had also failed to pay the workers their salaries for the last month of their service.
The question now is, why did the Immigration Department, despite having in possession the workers’ legal documents and being aware of what had transpired, still find it right to detain them, asked Rajasekaran.
"Like in other similar cases, we suspect corruption is taking place between outsourcing companies and immigration officials," reasoned the MTUC leader.
Immigration department yet to respond
A letter of complaint was sent to Mahmood Adam, the enforcement section director-general of the Immigration Department three days ago.
In the letter, MTUC demanded that the Immigration Department address, among others, questions like why the department had willingly accepted the workers’ passports and detained them despite knowing they had legal documentation.
"We will give them until Monday to respond. If not, we will lodge a complaint with the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission," stressed Rajasekaran.
He added that the matter was tantamount to human trafficking and urged the necessary authorities to address it urgently.
Silvertrade director Surendran could not be contacted for comments.
The international community recently condemned the Malaysian government for its failure to address human trafficking issues.
Malaysia has also been categorised by the international community as one of the top nations involved in human trafficking.