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Bentong 'forced labour' employer arrested, workers sheltered at Batu Caves

6 11月 2018, 1:07 凌晨

Updated 2 years ago

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The employer accused of engaging in forced labour of 48 Indian nationals in Bentong, Pahang, has been arrested after lodging a police report claiming that the workers had "absconded".

The Labour Department, in a statement, said it was informed of the matter by the police.

"The suspected employer had been detained by the police when the suspected employer submitted himself to file a police report at the police contingent office in Bentong on purported ground that his 48 foreign workers had allegedly absconded from employment," it said in a statement this morning.

The Department added that volunteers had transferred the 48 Indian workers to the Batu Caves Hindu temple in Selangor for temporary shelter.

The action came after a video of the Indian nationals appealing for help went viral on social media.

The Labour Department, which is under the Human Resources Ministry, said it has mobilised 12 investigating officers to look into the case with involvement from the police, Anti-Human Trafficking Council and Immigration Department under the Home Ministry.

It said statements from all 48 Indian nationals involved were recorded at Batu Caves while also present at the shelter site was a representative from the Indian High Commission and Sabai assemblyperson D Kamache.

"The workers had also claimed that their employer initially promised them a monthly wage of 25,000 rupees per month.

"However, they alleged that most workers had to date received a salary for their first month of employment only.

"Upon interviews conducted, a couple of the workers also alleged that their employer had impounded their travel document/passport," said the Labour Department.

The Indian nationals were made to perform high tension cable installation works at Kampung Chamang, Bentong.

The Department said it is investigating the matter under the Employment Act 1955 over the failure to pay wages, failure to notify the director-general of labour on the employment of foreign workers and the failure to furnish written contract of employment.

Meanwhile, it said the police and Immigration Department will conduct a separate investigation against the employer for alleged offences under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007.

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