Monday, December 30, 2013

Embarassing that Malaysia does not even want to say that it will respect human rights of workers

It is embarrassing when Malaysian government does not even want to agree in an MOU that basic human rights of domestic workers will not be respected.

Malaysia also do not want to agree that domestic workers will have the right to see, understand and sign their employment agreement in Cambodia before they accept their employment agreement, leave Cambodia and come to Malaysia to work. This is fundamental. It is a gross injustice for migrant workers to come first to Malaysia and then be asked to sign their employment agreements - i.e. after they have already expended monies coming to Malaysia, the worker becomes easier to be cheated and exploited - forced to accept terms they would never have agreed. 

The way that this Malaysian government is treating workers is unacceptable and is certainly not reflective of Malaysians, who are not only caring people but also people that respect human rights...

Remember also that it is the failure of Malaysian government to ensure that Malaysian workers are paid sufficient wages - sufficient for one of the spouses to be able to handle child-care, care of the elderly and household chores, that has literally forced Malaysians to have to hire domestic workers in the first place. Now, 2 persons are 'forced' to work and ear an income to survive in an environment where the cost of living is drastically increasing...

Malaysian government also failed to provide for creches (child care centres at workplaces), affordable child care facilities for children of working parents, day-care facilities for the elderly, etc - that has left many Malaysian families with little choice but to get domestic workers...

Now, when it comes to workers. i.e. migrant workers, that we now really need - this Malaysian government must at the very least ensure that their human rights and worker rights are respected and protected effectively(not just on paper but in reality). Let us not forget that Cambodia is also part of ASEAN... 

Malaysia Fails to Guarantee Cambodian Maids’ Human Rights

24 December 2013 Print page By Matt Blomberg and Khy Sovuthy – December 24, 2013

The Ministry of Labor hopes that a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will see Cambodia resume sending domestic workers to Malaysia by February, but negotiations on the document have stalled after Malaysia recently rejected 90 percent of proposed provisions to protect workers’ rights.

Most strikingly, Malaysia returned a draft MoU prepared by Cambodia with a black line through a provision that employers should “respect the basic human rights of the DW [domestic worker].”

Malaysia also rejected Cambodia’s requests that domestic workers should keep possession of their own passports, be able to view and sign their employment contract before leaving Cambodia, have access to three meals daily and accrue annual leave.

“Some of the Malaysian edits are unacceptable,” said Jenna Holliday, communications specialist at U.N. Women, which led a workshop in Phnom Penh on Monday to discuss the draft MoU.

“The Malaysian side has rejected about 90 percent of the amendments that were put in [to the draft],” Ms. Holliday added. “It does raise the question: How do Malaysian employers view their Cambodian employees?”

Prime Minister Hun Sen in October 2011 indefinitely suspended Cambodia’s sending domestic workers to Malaysia after a raft of reports of abuse of domestic workers by both Malaysian employers and Cambodian recruitment agencies.

Opening Monday’s workshop, Othsman Hassan, secretary of state at the Ministry of Labor, said it is imperative that the moratorium comes to an end as soon as possible.

“The more [workers] we can send, the more money we can earn and the more money comes back to Cambodia,” Mr. Hassan said, adding that sending 300,000 domestic workers to Malaysia would amount to $1.5 billion in remittances annually—a target he wants to reach.

“It is the future for Cambodia—we have to distribute our workers to the demand of the world market,” he said, adding that he would “wok hard to protect migrant workers from exploitation.”

Mr. Hassan departed the workshop soon after giving the opening remarks, missing an outpouring of frustration from representatives of migrant workers.

“They can’t give three meals per day? They can’t give a minimum wage? They can’t even allow a person to hold on to their own passport?” said Morn Nhim, president of the National Independent Federation Textile Union of Cambodia.

“If they can’t even guarantee our people their basic human rights, why should we send our people to Malaysia to suffer?”

The U.N., the International Labor Organization and representatives from the government and NGOs are set to meet again in late January for another round of discussions on the draft document.

Source: Cambodia Daily

Also to be found at the Malaysian Trade Union Congress(MTUC) website

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