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YOURSAY | The gloves are off in fight for foreign workers

Yoursay

10 Oct 2020, 11:16 pm

Updated a year ago

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YOURSAY | ‘Cheap labour maximises profit. But at the expense of foreign workers. Tough choice.’

Top Glove’s migrant workers to receive reimbursement up to RM20k each

Hmmm... ...: Modern-day slavery has been going on for too long in Malaysia. I am ashamed as a Malaysian at the situation, and at the same time happy that some small measure of justice is being done, even if it’s through the actions of the US.

I am ashamed of the great and growing inequality in our country, not only among Malaysians but more so between Malaysians and foreign workers.

Our political parties seem to be peka (deaf) to this problem, except possibly PSM.

DAP is the biggest disappointment. In name, they are social democrats, but they behave more like libertarians. You only have to follow leaders Teresa Kok’s and M Kulasegaran’s statements on labour issues to see how far the party has strayed from their original ideals.

Someone mentioned on Twitter that it makes complete sense for DAP and Umno to join hands because they are both neoliberals. There is some truth in this.

And shame on all of us Malaysians for letting this happen. If we had been more active in combatting modern-day slavery, it would not take actions by a foreign entity to improve the situation.

How many readers here are shareholders in this company (Top Glove) or others? Have we ever inquired about the conditions of the workers in the companies which are making us money? Have we ever pressured the management of these companies to change things?

Annonnymous 080: “The compensation will be paid to the workers over 12 months, according to letters received by the workers.”

Why should there be a delay in the payment obligation when Top Glove is expected to make RM9 billion in revenue in the next financial year as an analyst had forecasted? Payment should be made immediately in full.

As always, such chronic and structural problems perpetuated by nepotism and cronyism in this country can only be addressed when a white man country takes up such an issue. Take, for example, FGV Holdings, Sime Darby and now Top Glove.

Winter As Come: This is just a story to make them feel good until money, as stated, is paid out.

There are always deductions to be made which reduce the compensation to a mere trickle. I have seen so many of these compensations come to nothing.

Bani Adam: Cheap labour maximises profit. But at the expense of foreign workers. Tough choice.

Either there is more automation or the companies move their manufacturing operation to other third world countries.

Hopefully, consumers will be more aware of the origin of their products. With enough consumer demanding for rights of workers to be respected, the capitalists will have to adapt. We can’t depend on the government.

Hmmmmmmmm: If I remember correctly, this company complained of unfairness when it was targeted by the US. It claimed that most of the charges were untrue while others had been rectified.

Now, we suddenly hear that they are compensating the foreign workers. So, how do you expect us to believe them in future?

PinkDove0902: If there is no way to convince the US that the true culprits are not them but the machinations of the home minister and his cronies and not forgetting the labour agents in Bangladesh, then it makes business sense to pay off these workers even if the employer is not guilty.

The process of proving that one is not guilty can be a convoluted and time-consuming task given the way bureaucracy works and yes, even in the US.

The result is that the workers win, the local employer wins by being able to export to the US and the home minister, or shall we say, the ex-home minister wins by being not held accountable for all the money he has allegedly squirrelled away.

Is that not a typical Malaysian story of win-win for everyone?

GraySalmon8323: Top Glove should file a claim against the Malaysian-owned recruitment agencies which pocketed the huge upfront fee paid by the workers. Or alternatively, claim from the Home Ministry/Human Resources Ministry as they are the governing and approving bodies as regards foreign workers recruitment.

Top Glove merely complied with the Malaysian government’s approved rules and regulations.

Vijay47: Going by the norms put in place following the Bangladeshi workers scandal, the first order of things would be to do an Al Jazeera and raid the US Customs and Border Protection Agency (CPBA).

And since it is unlikely that the CBPA would have any presence in Malaysia, the American embassy can be a convenient substitute target.

No doubt Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and his Umno ‘Proud Boys’ would soon be springing into valiant action – don’t wait for Friday afternoon. Not to forget, all US citizens can be declared persona non grata.

The Immigration Department should be allowed to play its heroic role also – we still remember its snarling “Rayhan Kabir’s work permit has been cancelled” though we cannot remember what offence poor Rayhan committed.

In the cast of thousands, we had numerous commentators here in Malaysiakini with their savage “Go back if you don’t like it” statements, all because Rayhan dared to voice out the grievances of the workers.

The real tragedy is that the abuse and cheating of our migrant workers need to be highlighted by foreign organisations before some reluctant action is taken, no doubt accompanied by allegations of foreigners bringing our national image into disrepute.

Sadly, government bodies refuse to acknowledge that allowing such ill-treatment is a slur on ourselves, and we should be pro-active to prevent such injustice. Nevertheless, we must be glad that Goliath is at least now paying David his due.

Since the gloves have come off, Top Glove must admit they are not really top of the pack.

Mosquitobrain: It is inappropriate for a public-listed company making huge profits to force its foreign workers to pay recruitment fees.

This particular case is just the tip of the iceberg. Most of the foreign workers are already in debts. They’ve to borrow or even sell their lands, pay the middlemen or ‘cable’ just to seek employment here, only to find out the salary was not what they’ve expected, and some of them later absconded to look for better jobs with higher pay elsewhere.

This is why we are known to harbour millions of illegals. And yet, many companies have boasted and claimed to be practising good CSR (corporate social responsibility).


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