Thursday, August 04, 2022

Malaysia wanting Sabri to leave Malaysia and not remain in Malaysia to pursue his rights against police and government agencies appaling - 29 Group Statement 4/8/2022

  Media Statement – 4/8/2022

Special Pass for 2 weeks, instead of 1 month, for migrant Sabri Umar, released after wrongful conviction after wrongly whipped hints of Malaysia’s desire to deter right to justice

We, the 29 undersigned groups are shocked that the Immigration Department only gave human rights victim migrant Sabri bin Umar, a Indonesian Passport holder, a 2-weeks Special pass on 28/7/2022, instead of the usual one month Special Pass, that will allow him to legally remain in Malaysia. Sabri paid RM100 for a 1 month Special Pass. It is also disconcerting that when giving Sabri the pass, the Immigration allegedly said that 2 weeks was sufficient for Sabri to make arrangements to leave Malaysia.


Sabri, an Indonesian migrant worker, wants to and need to remain in Malaysia to enable him to do the needful to ensure that justice is served. Sabri was wrongly terminated on 4/4/2022, and there is already a Section 20 Industrial Relations Act claim for reinstatement by reason of wrongful dismissal. Attempt at conciliation failed, and this case will be referred to the Industrial Court.

Sabri also was wrongfully arrested on 5/4/2022 and was not produced before the Magistrate within 24 hours, and his detention until about 19/4/2022 was without the required remand order/s by the Magistrate. Sabri, a documented migrant worker with a valid work permit (Pas Lawatan Kerja Sementara/ Social Visit Temporary Employment Pas) was wrongly charged on 19/4/2022 for being illegally in Malaysia. He was wrongly convicted, and wrongly sentenced to 11 months imprisonment and 5 whipping for an offence that he definitely could never be guilty of. He was wrongfully and illegally whipped on 23/6/2022, despite the fact that his appeal to the High Court was filed and yet to be heard and determined. There are other rights violations as well, and the alleged perpetrators include the police, the Immigration Department, the public prosecutors, the Tawau Prison, the Tawau Session Court, and possibly the employer. On 22/7/2022, the High Court called up Sabri’s case for revision, and he was acquitted.

As the Immigration Department had wrongly, without even according Sabri the right to be heard, amended his Pas Lawatan Kerja Sementara/Social Visit Temporary Pass(PLKS), that was supposed to end on 28/1/2023, to now allegedly end on 4/5/2022, Sabri now needs to get a Special Pass and/or other permits/passes to ensure his legal presence in Malaysia. If he does legalize his presence, he is at risk of being arrested, convicted, sentenced and even deported back to Indonesia. After release on 22/7/2022, he had to seek refuge in the Indonesian Consulate, and only free to move around after he received the Special Pass on 28/7/2022.

Worry about the fact that Malaysia may try to speedily deport or send Sabri out of Malaysia, led to now 23 Groups issuing a Joint Statement on 23/7/2022 entitled ‘Do not send recently acquitted wrongly convicted migrant worker out of Malaysia until he exercises his rights in Malaysian Courts and other avenues of justice - No attempts of ‘cover-up’ or preventing access of justice’. Sadly, the concern seems to be justified that Malaysia may attempt to send Sabri out of Malaysia given what happened at the Immigration Department when Sabri was given the 2-week ONLY special Pass.

Sabri do have a valid cause of action and claim against Malaysia and the various officers and government departments, and a sending Sabri out of Malaysia may be perceived as an attempt to deter or make impossible Sabri’s quest for justice. A poor migrant worker cannot easily return to Malaysia as and when required for investigation by relevant authorities and bodies, or for preparation and participation in his court action including his claim for reinstatement at the Industrial Court. The presence of the victim and claimant in investigation and court proceedings is crucial to ensure justice is done. Sabri, at present, is verifying facts and may soon lodge complaints to the various public service disciplinary bodies, law enforcement bodies, Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC), the relevant Parliamentary Select Committees and even the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM), in addition to court actions.

We call on the Malaysian Government again to immediately extend the current 2-week Special Pass to rightfully be valid for a month, and thereafter continue to issue the needed Special Pass or other Permits/Passes to enable Sabri to remain legally in Malaysia until the end of his quest for justice.

We also call on the Indonesian Government to ensure Sabri is not sent back and assist Sabri to remain in Malaysia for his quest for justice, to ensure all responsible for his human rights violations are duly held responsible.  Indonesia must not be seen as complicit with human rights violators.


Charles Hector

Apolinar Z Tolentino, Jr.


For and on behalf of the 29 organizations listed below


MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)

Building and Wood Workers International (BWI) Asia Pacific Region

WH4C (Workers Hub For Change)

Asosasyon Ng Mga Makabayang Manggagawang Pilipino Overseas in Malaysia (AMMPO)

Black Women for Wages for Housework

Citizens Against Enforced Disappearances (CAGED)

Haiti Action Committee

Hong Kong Federation of Asian Domestic Workers Unions (FADWU)

Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA), Cambodia

International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF)

International Women's Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific, Malaysia

Koalisi Buruh Migran Berdaulat (KBMB) Indonesia

Labour Law Reform Coalition, Malaysia

Legal Action for Women, UK

National Union of Transport Equipment & Allied Industries Workers, West Malaysia

Network of Actions for Migrants in Malaysia(NAMM) 

Network of Domestic Workers (NDW), Thailand

PacificwinPacific, Pacific

Payday Men’s Network (UK/US)

Persatuan Pekerja Rumah Tangga Indonesia Migran (PERTIMIG), Malaysia

Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor Malaysia   

Sabah Plantation Industry Employees Union (SPIEU)

Sabah Timber Industry Employees Union (STIEU)

SERBUK Indonesia

The William Gomes Podcast, UK

Union of Forestry Department’s Employees Sarawak ( UFES ) Malaysia

Women of Color/Global Women’s Strike, US and UK

Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia (YLBHI – Indonesia)


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