Wednesday, March 25, 2009

RM10,629-99 expended to come to Malaysia - an early return is just not right ...or just

Well, I would like to share with you an Editorial in the Daily Star dated 25/3/2009, which carried the joint statement of 59 organisations entitled ' Malaysia's ‘Foreign Workers First Out’(FWFO) Policy is UNJUST, DISCRIMINATORY and UNCONSTITUTIONAL

It says that "...A worker from Bangladesh spends no less than Tk. 2,00,000 on making his trip to Kuala Lumpur...", and this is about RM10,629-99. So, is it fair to suddenly terminate the worker's contract after 6 months, 1 year or even 2 years. Remember that most workers come over to Malaysia based on an agreement (and a representation) that they will be working for at least 3 years (and that further extension will most likely be there for another 2 or more years..).

A worker in Bangladesh is not a fool to expend so much and risk so much just to come over to Malaysia to work for a short a low pay.

Sadly, Malaysian employers (some of them, at least) even go and deduct all their other expenses from these worker's wages. Employer pays the levy to bring in a foreign worker - but alas some employer wrongly deduct this back from the worher's wages...

Live rates at 2009.03.25 10:20:09 UTC

200,000.00 BDT


10,629.99 MYR

Bangladesh Taka Malaysia Ringgits
1 BDT = 0.0531500 MYR 1 MYR = 18.8147 BDT


In defence of migrant workers

Time to mull global regulatory mechanism is here

FIFTY civil society groups straddling South and South-east Asia have come to the defence of hapless migrant workers, especially in Malaysia. The move reflects the urgency of the situation in which these workers, a very big group of which comes from Bangladesh, find themselves at present. The points which the civil society groups have raised certainly make much sense since they are aimed at cushioning the pain that migrant workers go through when they are informed suddenly that they cannot work any more. In these past many weeks and months, thousands of workers from Bangladesh have had to bear the brunt of the arbitrary moves made by the Malaysian authorities. The latest has been the cancellation of work visas issued to 55,000 Bangladeshi workers even before they could travel to Kuala Lumpur. Making matters worse was the plight of hundreds of others stranded at the airport in the Malaysian capital because they were not being allowed entry.

We agree with the contents of the joint statement issued by the civil society groups, and commend them for it, because they mirror the severe difficulties retrenched workers will face if they are not given adequate compensation by the firms that hire them in Malaysia. The bigger point here is that a contract is a binding agreement that must not be violated with impunity. But when hiring companies in Malaysia take it upon themselves to terminate contracts and tell migrant workers to go home after they have worked for two of the three years they were supposed to, they do not take workers' problems into consideration. That is a wrong approach, for it smacks of exploitation of the helpless and a certain cavalier attitude in dealing with poverty-stricken foreign labourers. While we acknowledge the difficulties that employers may be facing, we also think that when they dismiss workers, they should ensure that these workers go back home with adequate compensation in hand. A worker from Bangladesh spends no less than Tk. 2,00,000 on making his trip to Kuala Lumpur. He has invested a huge amount of money; he is in debt and expects to repay it through his remittances. It is these issues that must be looked into. Migrant workers must not be treated in the same way as local workers when it comes to compensating the affected.

Finally, we believe the time has now come for some serious new thinking into the dilemma all too often faced by migrant workers in different countries. The possibility of an international regulatory mechanism geared to a defence of the interests of the employers and especially of the migrant workers coming into operation ought to be looked into. The arbitrariness of governments needs to be replaced by a system that will be more humane where the rights of such workers are the issue. Perhaps the ILO could be involved. - Daily Star, 25/3/2009, EDITORIAL - In defence of migrant workers, Time to mull global regulatory mechanism is here

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