KUALA LUMPUR: Legal foreign workers and illegal immigrants who paid exorbitant charges for registration under the 6P amnesty and legalisation programme could file a case under the consumer tribunal to get back the excess money they had paid.
This advice comes from former consumer tribunal chairman Pretam Singh Darshan Singh.The government has fixed RM35 as maximum rate for registration of illegal immigrants through 348 appointed managing companies, while the maximum service charge for legalisation is RM300.
However, noted Pretam, thousands of illegal immigrants had paid more than the stipulated amount.
"(Therefore) Those who have been charged more than what is necessary could file a case (to recover the excess) under the consumer tribunal.
"The laws relating to exorbitant registration charges comes under misleading conduct, false representation and unfair practice.
"Those who misrepresent the cost of the service could be charged under the Consumer Protection Act 1999.
"In such a consciousness, foreigners who have been duped into paying the additional cost may file their cases," he told Bernama in an exclusive interview here Wednesday.
The 6P programme stands for Comprehensive Settlement of Foreign Worker Programme and illegal immigrants. It is a programme package that incorporates several recommendations made by the Management Lab Foreigner (MPWA) as the latest approach by the Government to strengthen management of foreign citizens in Malaysia.
Since 2000, the consumer tribunal has been in place to protect the rights of the consumer.
Pretam said the consumer tribunal provided an alternative for the illegal immigrant to claim for any losses incurred, in a less cumbersome and speedy manner, and at minimal cost. "It is also to hear and determine claims in an independent manner and they (illegal immigrants) need to produce the receipts and documents as an alternative channel or facility for their claims," he added.
Wednesday is the deadline to register under the 6P amnesty programme.
Over 2.5 million foreign workers had registered since the operation began on July 13.
Of the number, 1.6 million were legal foreign workers while the rest were illegals. - Bernama - Star, 1/9/2011, Immigrants have rights in consumer tribunal: ex-chairman
Thursday, September 01, 2011
Well, the government said that the fees for registration is RM35, and the fees chargeable for the legalization process is RM300... What if the migrants were 'cheated' and asked to pay more than required...what can they do? Where can they lodge their complaints?
1 - Police - for clearly it is a crime;
2 - SUHAKAM - Human Rights Commission;
3 - Public Complaints Bureau;
4 - Consumer Tribunal
But the problem is whether there are officers/interpreters that are there at the place of complaint to assist migrants who want to lodge complaints...
And when they do lodge complaints, will these bodies protect the complainants from repercussions ....
Why was there just not a phone number - where one could complain to...just like the ones we have at the back of lorries and busses...
Anyway, there is also still the question of the 'legality' of these agents that is doing the registration of migrants? What law authorizes the appointment of these agents, and the giving of these licences? Odd also that it was 'interested parties', i.e. 'outsourcing agents', etc that were given these licences and opportunity to make money...It was FREE to register directly with the Immigration Department, so why allow agents to collect fees - is this not discriminatory?
Biometric Identification system has problems - that is what the Election Commission is now saying, so have we just wasted so much time, money, working hours,... for something that has been found to be 'inefficient'...
There are 1.9 million documented migrants in Malaysia - and the first thing that Malaysia should do, is that all these migrants receive information about the law, their rights, where they can complaint and how, etc is available to every migrant in their own language. Then make sure, there are officers/interpreters there at places where the migrants go to lodge complaints - i.e. police station, immigration dept, Labour Departments, SUHAKAM...and Consumer Tribunals.., and when complaints are lodged, they are dealt with speedily and efficiently..
Remember, the poor workers, including migrants, really cannot afford to take a day off to go lodge complaints - so, really we need to have these points of complaints operating 24 hours to be accessible to all workers....