Monday, September 01, 2014

Until Malaysia ensure rights of migrant workers are protected efficiently and speedily...?

Migrant workers in Malaysia know very well the precarious nature of their employment in Malaysia. Workers, generally, will not resort to protests, pickets, strikes or industrial action unless they are forced to take such actions. They risk the 'all too easy possibility of termination', and in the case of migrant workers, this may follow with a cancellation of their employment pass/visa - meaning that they can no longer remain legally in Malaysia after this happens,...

The problem in Malaysia is that the 'access to justice' mechanisms are perceived to be ineffective by many. Workers lodge complaints (or inform) the Human Resource Department - but SEE nothing happening fast and effectively. They do not see the Labour Department officials coming down 'immediately' to investigate and resolve the problems. Same thing is perceived by many when it comes to the police and other enforcement bodies. 

At the Human Resource Department, after a complaint is lodged, there is a need for IMMEDIATE action - and keeping the complainant informed of actions taken and other development. If this is absent. many a complainant began to feel it was all a waste of time .... and there is loss of faith in the actions of authorities. The relevant department/authorities must review their modus operandi to something that will regain the confidence of workers. 

There is also a general perception that the relevant authorities are 'friendly' with employers, management and staff..... and there is also a perception of discrimination. Relevant officers in the Labour Department, Police and ...must be trained to behave in an unbiased manner ...interested only in justice. 

LABOUR DISPUTE BETWEEN WORKERS AND EMPLOYER - and here, it is acceptable in generally most countries that workers have the right to  protest, picket, strike and take industrial actions ... and this usually ends with an agreement/settlement between workers and their employers... now, these methods are generally the most effective means to get quick results... [Lodging complaints, trade disputes, claims with the relevant authorities generally just take TOO long.... ]

The police to date have been focusing their attention on the this case the migrant workers >> But really, the question is what started this? And, it more likely than not something that the employer or their agents did - Why are we not hearing calls for employers and management to follow the laws or act justly when it comes to their workers. - Respect our laws, police warn foreign workers(see Star report below)

Now, this issue seem to have started after a migrant worker dies - there are allegations that the worker was not accorded proper treatment, given access to healthcare speedily, etc... This must be investigated.

(1) Some of these factories and worker accommodation are far away from hospitals/clinics and migrant workers generally do not have their own transportation, and public transport is also generally not available in these areas.....
(2) Many migrant workers generally will not be allowed to leave their workplace or 'worker accomodation' without permission...
(3) Many employers continue to hold on to worker passports and work pass/visa - and without this workers cannot go to hospitals/clinics and get medical treatment and care... Likewise, money is a issue, since migrant workers to get healthcare in even a government healthcare facility is expected to pay RM50 for registration - and thereafter First Class Rates... hence, many a time money in hand is a problem...
(4) Worker Accommodation - well. there is still no LAW that insist on minimum worker housing standards at factories, etc  - some of these migrant worker accommodation in Malaysia are now really in a bad state. When will Malaysia make laws to ensure a healthy living environment for workers? Having the law itself is worthless unless there is regular 'spot checks' and enforcement

IN 2010, JCY agreed to:-  'Company  will  provide  a  vehicle  and  driver  on  24  hour  standby  at  the  main hostel to facilitate the emergency transportation of worker to hospital for any emergency treatments'. Recently, "..The company will also provide a 24-hour in-house medical clinic at its plant in Tebrau and have appointed panel clinics for workers in Kulaijaya...." (see below Star, 30/8/2014, Nepalis who rioted return to work )

TORTURE allegations is what allegedly resulted in the unrest in Kulaijaya.... Has the police started investigating this?

Another problem is the question of WHO is the employer...who is responsible for the wellbeing and welfare of the workers? Workers may be working in Factory AA, but really they may just be working there, but their real employer since the introduction of the 'contractor for labour system' may be Company BBB. Worker accommodation may be outsourced to Company CCC -  For factory AA, it is a great situation - they so easily can escape employer obligation and duties to their workers... The state of affairs is detrimental to workers generally... I say, that Malaysia must abolish these 3rd parties in an employment relationship, the Employer must always be Factory AA - where the workers work, and factory AA must be responsible for all living and working aspects of especially migrant workers...

See also earlier related posts :-

JCY International Bhd claim not aware of foreign workers being allegedly abused at its factory?

 'threw stone at private parts' of worker - If true, take action against any employer/staff/person that torture workers? 

Foreign workers punished - forced to play "volleyball with stones" and refusal results in beatings?

MTUC calls for tripartite meet concerning Tebrau and Kulai strikes

Updated: Saturday August 30, 2014 MYT 8:15:29 AM

Nepalis who rioted return to work

KUALA LUMPUR: All the Nepali workers who rioted at their electronics plant in Kulaijaya earlier this week over alleged mistreatment by their employers have returned to work.

Nepali ambassador to Malaysia Dr Niranjan Man Singh Basnyat said their demands have been met by the company and they went back to work yesterday morning.

Among the demands was for a 24-hour clinic within the JCY HDD Technology Sdn Bhd factory in the Kelapa Sawit Industrial Area.

The 800 workers went on strike on Tuesday, following a similar incident involving some 1,500 workers at the company’s branch in the Tebrau IV Industrial Area, near Johor Baru on Aug 21.

The strike was over the company’s alleged negligence in handling the health issue of worker Karka Bahadur Nirbula, leading to his death. Dr Niranjan said the worker had been sick for about five days due to a respiratory problem.

“His friends took him to a hospital because there was no medical facility within the factory compound. He died on the way to the hospital,” said Dr Niranjan, when interviewed yesterday.

“The embassy was on top of the crisis from the beginning,” he said, adding deputy chief of mission Hemlal Sharma Bhattarai was sent to Johor to mediate between the company’s management and the workers. 

In JOHOR BARU, the management of JCY HDD Technology said they had started a probe into all claims against the company by the foreign workers at their two plants.

“We are unaware of any mistreatment of workers as alleged to the media and we have initiated our own investigations on the matter. We will take steps to further improve the communication,” a spokesman said.

The company also extended its condolences to the family and friends of the dead worker and condemned all acts of violence that had purportedly occurred.

On allegations of mistreatment, the company affirmed that it will abide by all regulations and provide workers with a minimum wage of RM900, and accommodation with basic amenities. The company will also provide a 24-hour in-house medical clinic at its plant in Tebrau and have appointed panel clinics for workers in Kulaijaya. - Star, 30/8/2014, Nepalis who rioted return to work 

Updated: Friday August 29, 2014 MYT 8:31:43 AM

Government urged to deport those who violate country’s labour laws

JOHOR BARU: The Johor Baru Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry has urged the Government to immediately deport foreign workers who violate the country’s labour laws by resorting to violence.

Its president Datuk Loh Liam Hiang said while Malaysia welcomed foreign workers, they should not break the country’s laws.

“Malaysia should emulate Singapore by banning for life foreigners who violate the country’s labour laws.

“Damaging property or striking will interrupt productivity,” he said in response to the riot by workers of JCY HDD Technology Sdn Bhd here.

Loh said the authorities should also take stern action against companies which mistreat their workers regardless of whether they were locals or foreigners. 

Social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said foreign workers must sit down with their employers to settle industrial disputes amicably instead of going on strike or resorting to violence. 

“I’m against all forms of exploitation by employers and also violent acts by workers as this will not solve problems,” he said.

Lee advised employees to complain to the Labour Department if they felt that they were being mistreated by their employers.- Star, 29/8/2014, Government urged to deport those who violate country’s labour laws

Published: Friday August 29, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Friday August 29, 2014 MYT 11:48:16 AM

Respect our laws, police warn foreign workers

File picture shows a police officer addressing a crowd of foreign workers who staged a strike outside the JCY HDD Technology Sdn Bhd building in Kulaijaya on Tuesday.
File picture shows a police officer addressing a crowd of foreign workers who staged a strike outside the JCY HDD Technology Sdn Bhd building in Kulaijaya on Tuesday.
KULAIJAYA: Foreign workers at companies here have been warned to respect Malaysian laws or face stern action, said Johor police chief Senior Deputy Comm Datuk Mohd Mohktar Mohd Shariff.

He said rioting and public disorder by fo­­reign workers would not be tolerated and the police would not hesitate to make arrests.

“You came to this country to work. You have to respect the laws and the police will not to­lerate any nonsense,” he said after a meeting with the management of JCY HDD Technology Sdn Bhd here yesterday.

He said the management of the electronics manufacturing company had held discussions with its foreign workers, witnessed by officials from several foreign embassies, to resolve the problems that culminated in a riot at the Kelapa Sawit industrial area here on Tuesday.

“Forty-nine arrests have been made. Two of them are from Bangladesh and the rest are from Nepal. The police will continue to identify and arrest those involved in the incident at the factory,” he added.

JCY executive director Datuk Tan Shih Leng said the company had complied with Malay­sian labour laws and all the requirements that were agreed to with the foreign workers.

The company’s general manager, who wanted to be known only as Liaw, said the plant was closed yesterday following the riot.

In Tuesday’s incident, more than 800 foreign workers gathered outside the building and hurled stones and other objects at the manage­ment office.

They set an office building and a car on fire, while three other buildings were damaged.

The riot came in the wake of an incident at another JCY branch at the Tebrau IV industrial area near Johor Baru last Thursday.

There, some 1,500 workers, apparently unhappy over the company’s handling of a worker’s welfare, threw various objects from their four-storey quarters and overturned a parked van. - Star, 29/8/2014, Respect our laws, police warn foreign workers

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