Monday, June 29, 2009

call for workers' rights for all domestic workers

You are right Deputy Human Resources Minister Senator Datuk Maznah Mazlan , local worker do not want to work as domestic worker because it is too low pay and the labour law is not protected even for the day off and other benefit .
The only way to go is Ministry of Human Resources should immediate Amend Employment Act to protect all domestic workers, to ensure that all rights and liabilities to be legislated such as one paid day off, right to living wages , Domestic Workers are protected against all forms of abuse and harassment including physical, verbal, sexual and mental abuse and harassment, prohibition on withholding migrant workers’ documents should be followed with punishment, both civil (monetary fine) and criminal consequences and other rights ( see
We call for workers' rights for all domestic workers... only when rights are protected and workers could exercise their rights through the mechanism in legal justice and society there will be no exploitation and abuses.

Published: Monday June 29, 2009 MYT 5:31:00 PM
Parliament: Msians not interest in working as maids

KUALA LUMPUR: Most Malaysians are not interested in working as domestic helpers as the pay is too low, said Deputy Human Resources Minister Senator Datuk Maznah Mazlan.
According to a study by the Ministry, 70% of employers were willing to pay only RM300 to RM500 a month for domestic help.
A total of 26.8% of employers were willing to pay between RM500 and RM700, while only 6.7% of them were willing to fork out more than RM700 a month.
The study was looking into the feasibility of a proposed training institution for local domestic helpers.
Mooted in 2007, the institution was suggested as a way to increase local participation in the profession to reduce dependence on foreign labour.
A total of 251,355 foreign domestic helpers are currently working in Malaysia, hailing from 14 countries, with 51.7% of them from Indonesia.
“In general, the study shows that there is no pressing need to establish such a training institution as of now,” said Maznah, who was replying to a question from Matulidi Jusoh (BN-Dungun).
However, she added that the Government would do a new study now that circumstances have changed, with Indonesia imposing a ban.
“We are carrying out discussions with employers’ and workers’ associations, non-governmental organisations and government agencies to get their views on the proposed institution,” she said.
In a supplementary question, Matulidi suggested that the Government consider establishing a minimum wage, fixed working hours, EPF and Perkeso perks to woo more Malaysians to work in the domestic labour sector.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

24th UNAIDS Board meeting opens with a focus on “people on the move”

22 June 2009

UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board, Geneva 22 June 2009
Credit: UNAIDS/P.Virot

UNAIDS Governing body, the Programme Coordinating Board (PCB), is holding its 24th meeting in Geneva from 22-24 June 2009 where Mr Michel Sidibé, addressing the board for the first time as UNAIDS Executive Director, will present progress made and his vision for future action.
The focus of thematic session of this PCB meeting is addressing the HIV-related needs of “people on the move”, as decided by the Board in its 22nd meeting in April 2008. The Board noted that improving HIV information and services for these people will enhance the development, promotion and implementation of national, regional and international strategies and will have a significant impact on human rights, including gender.

Meeting the needs of people on the move for HIV prevention, treatment, care and support is essential for achieving universal access. Global movement patterns are particularly complex, involving forced displacement as well as migration. UNHCR figures indicate that there were 16 million refugees, 26 million internally displaced persons due to conflict and an additional 25 million displaced due to natural disasters in 2007, while the International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates there were over 200 million international migrants in 2008. Most countries are simultaneously, to varying extents, countries of origin, transit and destination. Some countries also have large numbers of mobile people within their borders. It is estimated that there are at least 100-150 million internal migrants in China alone.

Mobile populations are sometimes blamed for the spread of HIV, or for increasing the burden on limited services for people living with HIV. In reality, many of the underlying factors driving mobility also increase the vulnerability of mobile populations to HIV infection. Furthermore, migrants, displaced people and other mobile populations living with HIV and those taking antiretroviral medication face additional challenges in obtaining needed care and treatment, which must be addressed. The theme provides wide scope for selecting and discussing issues that often fall between the cracks in national AIDS strategies and in international discussion of forced displacement, internal and international migration and travel.These include:

Hummanitarian questions of providing displaced and mobile populations security from conflict and violence, including sexual and gender-based violence;
Employment and other economic issues that motivate mobility and link with connections between HIV, economic survival strategies and the vulnerability of children and young people; potential increases in unsafe, concurrent and commercial sexual contacts;

Human rights issues in connection with social integration and access to services, and especially in connection with stigma and discrimination against persons living with HIV; Immigration and government legislation which dictates the legal status of people on the move, and thus their access to health services; and
Language barriers to use of health and social services, and health care system concerns, notably with regard to access and continuity of HIV treatment, including for opportunistic infections.

Reducing the vulnerability of migrants and mobile populations to HIV, and reducing the impact of HIV on mobile populations, their families and their homes, transit and host communities, requires intergovernmental cooperation (whether between countries or between ministries within a country). It requires the collaboration of the business sector, labour, health and social services, and vulnerable communities and people living with HIV themselves. Thus the importance of discussing the topic in a Programme Coordinating Board thematic segment that brings member states, civil society and international organizations together.

In order to support a productive discussion in the thematic session of the 24th PCB meeting, UNAIDS developed a background paper on the issue of people on the move (add link)—forced displacement and migrant populations. The paper provides basic information on movement of people and discusses the links between mobility and HIV vulnerability, as well as the challenges of ensuring that mobile populations have universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.
Established in 1994 by a resolution of the UN Economic and Social Council and launched in January 1996, UNAIDS is guided by a Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) with representatives of 22 governments from all geographic regions, the UNAIDS Cosponsors, and five representatives of nongovernmental organizations, including associations of people living with HIV.

Friday, June 12, 2009

NGOs (including WH4C) ask PAS to reconsider call to ban SIS (Star Online)

PAS has been urged to reconsider its position and to retract its call for the ban on Sisters in Islam (SIS), a coalition of non-governmental organisations said Saturday.

The joint statement, signed by 42 NGOs including SIS, said they were deeply disturbed by PAS calling for SIS to be banned and its members rehabilitated should its activities be determined to be contrary to the Islamic syariah.

The statement added that demanding for action against SIS was not easily reconciled with PAS’ public rhetoric in favour of a more democratic and inclusive Malaysia.

“On the contrary, the demand is wholly anti-democratic. Though members of PAS are entitled to their views, the call for the banning of SIS is wholly unacceptable.”

The statement said as a matter of principle, the question of banning any organisation purely for their views should not arise at all.

“Differences of views must be respected and, if at all, be resolved through constructive engagement.”

The statement added that just like how PAS had the freedom to associate and to express views, the members of SIS, or any other organisation are equally guaranteed the same freedom.

“The call to silence SIS and send its members for rehabilitation is an act of violence against those freedom and their constitutional underpinnings.”

Other NGOs who signed the statement include the Bar Council Human Rights Committee, Aliran, Suaram, Centre for Independent Journalism and DAP Socialist Youth.

The statement was signed by:


Amnesty International Malaysia

Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW)

All Women’s Action Society (AWAM) Bar Council Human Rights Committee

Bus Users Group, Penang

Cakap Rakyat Group

Centre for Independent Journalism

Civil Society Committee Of LLG Cultural

Development Centre (LLGCSC)

Civil Society Initiative For Parliamentary

Reform (CSI@Parliament)


DAP Socialist Youth

Five Arts Centre


Group Of Concerned Citizens And Monitoring

Sustainability Of Globalisation

Health Equity Initiatives


Instant Cafe Theatre


National Institute for Electoral Integrity



PBT (Persatuan Bahasa Tionghua) USM


Perak Women For Women Society (PWW)

Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower)

Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor & Wilayah

Persekutuan (PERMAS)

Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor

Sarawak Women For Women Society

Sekretariat Anak Muda Malaysia

Sisters In Islam (SIS)

SOS (Save Ourselves), Penang


The Fahmina-institute Cirebon

The KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall

Youth Section

The Micah Mandate



Women’s Centre For Change (WCC) Penang

Women’s Learning Partnership (WLP)

Worker Hub For Change (WH4C)

Writer Alliance For Media Independence (WAMI)

Source: Star Online, 13/6/2009, NGOs ask PAS to reconsider call to ban SIS

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

JOINT STATEMENT of Migrants from Burma Working In Thailand and Malaysia

We, migrants from Burma, live in a perpetual state of crisis and the global economic crisis is further adding to our difficult and sometimes desperate situation.

We, migrants from Burma and migrant support groups, trade union leaders and human rights activists and lawyers from Thailand and Malaysia, met and discussed the impact of the global economic crisis on Burmese migrant workers at the 2nd Two Destinations One Origin Conference organized jointly by MAP Foundation (Thailand), Workers Hub for Change (WH4C) and Network of Action for Migrants in Malaysia (NAMM). We are concerned that Burmese migrants live in a perpetual state of crisis and that the global economic crisis is further adding to their difficult and sometimes desperate situation. We therefore appeal to the governments of Malaysia, Thailand and the ASEAN on the following issues.

We are concerned that Thailand and Malaysia governments’ response to the situation of workers affected by the economic crisis has not been comprehensive and does not provide adequate protection for workers. Migrant workers are not even included in these programs and are thus expected to deal with the impact of the economic crisis by themselves.

We call on the Malaysian government to immediately stop the unjust, discriminatory and unconstitutional policy and practice, known as ‘Foreign Workers First Out’ (FWFO) principle. According to this policy migrant workers lose their jobs before local workers regardless of length of time in the job.

We call on Malaysia and Thailand to demand that all employers fulfill their contractual agreements with regard to all workers, including foreign workers. Employers must not use the economic crisis as an excuse to dismiss workers or close down factories without adequate notice to the workers. Mechanisms should be put in place to ensure that employers pay workers adequate and just compensation for any early termination of employment agreement.

The social protections provided during these times of economic crisis to retrenched workers which include payment of 50% of salary for six months in Thailand and re-training and new job placements in Malaysia should be extended to cover all workers including migrant workers.

We ask the governments to ensure that employers of migrant workers bear all the costs of employing migrant workers. Employers in Malaysia should not make deductions from migrants wages to cover the levy that employers have to pay. Employers in Thailand should not make deductions from migrants wages to cover the registration fee that employers have to pay. The only permissible deductions should be with regards to social security schemes for workers.

We are deeply concerned that all workers wages are falling below a living wage. For migrants the impact of a further reduction may have severe repercussions on the well-being of the workers and their families in Burma who rely on these wages for survival and for settling the debts incurred in the migration process.

Burmese migrants in both Malaysia and Thailand have reported accidents in the workplace due to the sub-standard occupational health and safety standards and enforcement. We call for the governments of Thailand and Malaysia to ensure that employers do not take shortcuts on matters concerning health and safety of workers and to facilitate migrants’ access to the legal mechanisms to receive compensation when accidents do occur. Migrants should also have the freedom of association.

Thailand and Malaysia’s health systems are trying to cope with new and different health issues such as H1NI, Chirkungya, Leptospirosis and Avian flu. In these times of economic crisis, it is imperative that no sector of society be excluded from the right to health. We call on the Thai and Malaysia government to set up effective national free universal health care systems without exceptions, and to work closely with migrant communities for health promotion.

The future of our region depends on the education of the children, and the children of migrant workers must be included in this future. We call for the governments of Malaysia and Thailand to support the education of migrant children in both formal and non-formal education systems.

All migrants have a precarious legal status in Malaysia and Thailand. The majority of migrants are completely undocumented while those with legal or semi-legal status too easily lose their status. Migrants can become illegal by reason of poor policy and practice, by negligence on the part of government officials, by irresponsible actions of the employers or when the migrants attempt to fight for their rights.

Consequently all migrants risk arrest, detention and deportation or threats thereof. We are deeply concerned about the recent reports of deaths of migrants in detention in Malaysia, deaths which could have been avoided with proper access to health care.

Due to the on-going multiple crises in Burma at the hands of an illegal regime, migrants from Burma are forced to leave the country without any preparation, information, safety or documents. The governments of Thailand and Malaysia need to recognize and respond to this reality and ensure that Burmese migrants are not criminalized.

In Thailand, the new registration is a welcome move however we are concerned that forcing migrants to work only within one sector is contrary to all labour rights principles.

We therefore call on Malaysia and Thailand to devise programs which protect the rights of migrants and ensure that migrants can exercise their labour, social, cultural, economic and political rights.

Lastly, we call on the ASEAN and its member nations to abandon their constructive engagement policy with the Burmese regime which only serves to prolong the injustice in Burma.

For further information please contact:
Network of Action for Migrants in Malaysia (NAMM): Ms Pranom Somwong +60192371300
MAP Foundation: Ms Jackie Pollock +66860904118