Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Govt spends RM30 per detained migrant(not including heathcare) - so why is the condition of food, cleanliness and hygine still unsatisfactory

The Malaysian government allegedly spents RM30 per day for each and every 'undocumented migrant' being detained at Detention Centres in Malaysia. It was specifically mentioned that this does not involve the cost of healthcare.

For a 30 day month, that amounts to RM900 per detainee, which is lower than the salary of many workers in Malaysia.

With that amount of monies, I am sure that they could be proper food, and provided with a clean and hygine environment of detention.

As one of the reasons for diseases, as disclosed by the government recently has been because these migrants eat grass...and walk around barefooted. [Preliminary inquiries seem to indicate that the reason that they are walking around barefoot is because they are not provided necessary footware whilst in detention..]. The eating of grass could be by reason of hunger - i.e. not enough food being provided to the detainees. See earlier blog post:-

The government also laments that they have to spend '..RM30.2mil to send 154,729 illegal immigrants back to their countries of origin between 2007 and this year, the Dewan Rakyat was told Thursday...'. Whilst we hear about arrest, prosecution, detention and deportation of undocumented migrants, we hear little about actions taken against employers of these undocumented migrants.

These employers also get away many a time with cheating workers of their wages and benefits. Their failure to get necessary social security insurance also results in workers being deprived of compensation when they are victims of industrial accidents and/or other accidents when they are in employ of the particular employer.

In fact, the government and the law seem to assist these employers in denying workers their rights. Because they were undocumented, workers have been deprived the right to claim back-wages, unlawful deductions, etc from their employer. This should not be.

In an employment relationship, irrespective of whether they are documented/registered or not, it should not be a bar for a worker to claim the agreed wages/benefits from their employer. If the said worker is in breach of some immigration law, then of course the State has a right to prosecute him/her on that matter - but not to BAR his rightful claim from his employers.

Government of Malaysia spents too little time identifying/investigating employers of undocumented migrants, for if they did, then they could of course save this RM30 million by getting it back from the said employers.

Very few will be coming over to Malaysia if there is no work and wages here but alas, Malaysia's narrow emphasis on only just arresting, prosecuting, detaining and deporting undocumented migrants is the problem that we have to address. We have to note that some of these migrants are really not 'undocumented migrants' but really people seeking asylum from a repressive regime back in their home country, and this would be the case for the people from Burma, Southern Thailand and maybe also Southern Philipines.

The government had to spend RM30.2mil to send 154,729 illegal immigrants back to their countries of origin between 2007 and this year, the Dewan Rakyat was told Thursday.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop said the government also had to shoulder expenditure of RM30 a day for every illegal immigrant held at immigration depots.

"This covers the daily cost and treatment cost only, and not medical cost. The cost of air, sea and land charges is borne by the government," he said when replying to a question from Mohsin Fadzli Samsuri (PKR-Bagan Serai).

Mohsin Fadzli had also wanted to know the number of illegal immigrants held between 2006 and 2008 and the centres where they were detained in as well as the period of their detention.

Abu Seman said 248,939 were held at immigration depots nationwide during the period.

He also said that the period of detention of an illegal immigrant depended on several factors, such as the travel document, flight ticket and verification by the relevant embassy. - Bernama- Star, 10/12/2009, Parliament: RM30mil spent to send back 154,729 illegals

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