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    Yoursay: The Malaysians who live off migrant worker 'slave trade'

    (Updated )

    YOURSAY | ‘Is it because this ‘trade’ is so lucrative that there hasn’t been much action?’

    Exposed - 'trade' in Bangladeshi workers, slave-like work conditions

    Ramesh Nair: Finally, the issue of migrant workers passed around from employer to employer without their consent comes to light. This is a very good exposé by Malaysiakini and Kaler Kantho.

    Such treatment is not exclusive to only Bangladeshis. Workers from Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Vietnam and various other nations are in a similar plight.

    I used to work in the construction industry. How the contractors treat migrant workers is absolutely terrible. This is also not exclusive to the construction industry, many other industries do the same, like farming and manufacturing (and not forgetting the skin trade).

    In the name of cheap labour and lowering costs (read: profiteering), these labourers, who are mostly uneducated and unskilled, are abused.

    It is a huge cartel starting from the agents in their country of origin to the demand here for cheap labour in our industries. In between, there are unscrupulous individuals or companies raking in fortunes.

    I wonder what the authorities are doing. Ministries in charge of their respective agencies should work together to close the loopholes and get these people to the real employers, where there is need.

    I do agree that we can’t do without foreign workers, but we must treat them with some degree of dignity.

    Also, I wonder what happened to the case of former home minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi being linked to Bestinet Sdn Bhd.

    Hmmmmmmmm: Looking at the supermarket payslip (published by Malaysiakini), do I see that the worker in question has been working 11 hours a day for 25 days that month? This is blatant exploitation.

    There was probably a day where he worked 12 hours because he was given one-hour overtime for that month.

    Don’t our labour laws have a limit on the number of hours that a person can work beyond which it is considered overtime work?

    And if the company cannot provide enough work for the imported workers, why are they still allowed to bring in more workers? Something smells fishy here.

    Anonymous 770241447347646: Is this anything new? How long have these scams have been going on? How many times have Tenaganita and other NGOs raised these issues?

    What a surprising statement by Immigration Department director-general Khairul Dzaimee Daud to ask those with information to come forward. How long has the department been in existence?

    Is it because it is such a lucrative business that there is not much action? How many times are these illegals stopped by authorities and released after some negotiation? How many times do we hear of such cases?

    A complete royal commission of inquiry (RCI) into migrant labour should be established. There will be enough surprises revealed if a real or honest investigation is carried out on the import of documented and undocumented workers.

    Malaysian employers can afford to pay more, but they would rather complain of lack of business, lesser profits and a sluggish economy while still turning a huge profit. They give so many reasons all the times for not employing locals.

    The authorities work hand-in-hand with unscrupulous individuals to bring in these workers. In the end, it is the local workforce that suffers.

    Migrant labour should only be limited to plantation and construction. Leave the service industry to locals. In time, to attract local workers, these employers will end up paying reasonable rates. This will help to cut down unemployment.

    It is time politicians, if they love this nation as they say they do, protect the rice bowl of Malaysians first.

    Anonymous 2465861491622056: The government must take action against employers – CEOs, not supervisors – to court and jail them for recruiting migrant workers without proper documentation.

    Just ask the migrant workers and they will tell you that they have to pay too many agents, police, etc, which means there is still a lot of corruption. New measures to streamline the process and enforcement are required.

    RKR: What kind of exposé is this? Why not expose Bangladeshis running illegal businesses here in Malaysia, such as construction, retail, currency exchange, furniture business, food, car wash, etc?

    Bangladeshis are also involved in vice and petty crimes. Go investigate all these and provide a proper report, Malaysiakini.

    Newday: @RKR, yes, there are many Bangladeshis now running businesses here. But you need to ask why it is so easy for them to do so.

    You will find that they are filling niches everywhere that Malaysians have either failed to identify, or the more likely case, sub-letted.

    Please do not lay the issues of vice and petty crime at the feet of the Bangladeshis, our home-grown criminals have been doing that for a long time.

    Guuunner: This is human trafficking. This is where the government can use their surplus pool of officers to seriously clamp on the companies who obviously abuse the loopholes of law and poor enforcement.

    It’s obvious that resources and enforcement will be inadequate, with millions of migrant workers in the country.

    ChuenTick: "In slave-like conditions" - the phrase conjures horrible conditions for these workers.

    I can only hope that with this exposé, authorities will work to improve migrant workers’ working conditions.

    It is tragic that they are brought in using approved routes, yet, in our country, these workers fall prey to the unscrupulous middlemen and employers.

    Their plight should not be allowed to continue – the authorities must put an end to their suffering.


    The above is a selection of comments posted by Malaysiakini subscribers. Only paying subscribers can post comments. Over the past one year, Malaysiakinians have posted over 100,000 comments. Join the Malaysiakini community and help set the news agenda. Subscribe now.

    These comments are compiled to reflect the views of Malaysiakini subscribers on matters of public interest. Malaysiakini does not intend to represent these views as fact.

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