Most disturbing when the Malaysian government can come out and say that the Employer has done no wrong. Would anyone believe that workers will come out and protest for no reason?
Were there no 'torture' -alleged forcing workers to play volleyball with stones...?
I believe that it was all a matter between workers and their employer - it should not have involved the police....let alone the Home Minister....it should have been an issue under the ambit of the Minister of Human Resources.
Good that MTUC has come out challenging the statement of the Deputy Minister in Parliament....
Is gov't sweeping JCY riots under the carpet
MTUC is disappointed with Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Wan Jaafar's statement in the Dewan Rakyat that industrial action taken by JCY foreign workers was due to misunderstanding among the foreign workers themselves, especially since this claim is not supported by any facts.
On Sep 4, 2014, we wrote to the Human Resources Ministry to hold a tripartite meeting to discuss the issues raised by JCY’s workers. However, despite several follow-up calls to the ministry, to date our request has fallen on deaf ears.
Our Johor division officers on the ground, who have been following the case closely with some of JCY’s migrant workers, have been informed by the workers that their protest escalated when one of JCY’s staff provoked them by throwing stones at the workers when they refused to engage in a game of throwing stones at one another at their workplace at Kulaijaya.
Initially a group of about 20 workers were forcefully moved to Kulaijaya for participating in the industrial action in Tebrau over the death of their coworker who had complained of having difficulty in breathing.
In Kulaijaya, they were forced to play a game of “volleyball with stones” as a form of punishment for taking part in the said incident.
'Management ignored concerns'
According to the workers, they resorted to industrial action as they were dissatisfied with the manner in which the management handled their grievances.
Their concerns regarding their health, work conditions, poor hostel facilities, calculation of overtime, not adhering to off days entitlement, unfair deductions in their salaries and low compensation for accident and injuries, were ignored by the management.
Furthermore, the workers were also displeased with the attitude of the management, such as for beating them for minor mistakes, and not treating them with dignity and respect.
The workers claimed that their concerns at the workplace worsened over the years and therefore they were left with no other option but to resort to industrial action.
Clearly the police had failed to address and neglected the issues concerning the workers at their workplace.
The police investigation only concentrated on one side of the incident.
This not only raises concerns on the confidence in and the credibility of the police investigation but also raises the issues of bias in the investigation process, especially in the absence of a transparent and independent inquiry.
On Nov 11, a separate meeting was held at the Johor Bahru Labour Department with JCY's management to discuss the repatriation process and unpaid salary for the 55 workers who were arrested.
MTUC was also informed that five out of 55 workers arrested have been wrongfully charged under Section 6(3) of the Immigration Act for entry into the country without proper documents, as all of them have valid work permits with JCY.
They were scheduled to return to their homeland after the clearance made at Immigration Department.
Unfortunately during the police raid this group of workers was picked up.
Permits expired during detention
At the time of arrest, these workers were documented but during the process of investigation their work permits expired. As such, they were charged under the Immigration offences.
MTUC has engaged the assistance of the Johor Bar Council to represent these workers.
Nevertheless we are deeply concerned with the bureaucracy that is taking place in amending the charge at the expense of these workers, who have been detained since Sept 9, 2014.
These workers did not take part in the industrial action as they were scheduled to return home after completing their contract with JCY.
MTUC is very concerned with the continuous lack of political will by the government in addressing the issues and concerns of migrant workers.
The Home Ministry should not shoot their mouth off without consulting all stakeholders especially when workers’ rights are adversely affected.
Internationally, Malaysia has been continuously criticised for forced labour practices especially as highlighted in the recent Verite report on the electronics industry. The government should no longer ignore this report.
MTUC urges the Human Resources Ministry to step in and take proactive measure in addressing these concerns.
MTUC urges the Human Resources Ministry not to delay any longer our proposal for a tripartite meeting to discuss JCY’s case.
N GOPAL KISHNAM is MTUC secretary-general. -Malaysiakini, 21/11/2014
Factory in Kulai riots did no wrong, say police
Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Wan Jaafar told the Dewan Rakyat during Question Time today that the riots took place due to misunderstanding among the foreign workers themselves.
This is despite claims that the workers torched the factory as they were unhappy with the treatment from the employers.
"It was a misunderstanding among the workers, caused by the language barrier," Wan Junaidi (left) said in response to Teo Nie Ching (DAP-Kulai).
He denied that the riots involved 800 workers as alleged. Instead, he said, only 55 workers were guilty of being part of it.
"Fifty-two of them are Nepalese, two Bangladeshis, and one from Vietnam," he said.
Of that amount, 15 of them had been imprisoned for four months after being charged under Section 145 of the Penal Code and admitting their guilt.
Five were charged under the Immigration Act while another 35 were "chased" to their countries of origin, Wan Junaidi said.
"The fight took place because of misunderstanding among the workers and there is no element of mistreatment by the employers," he added. - Malaysiakini, 18/11/2014