Saturday, August 30, 2008

Public Transport for MALAYSIA not just Klang Valley please

Highlights of Budget 2009 as published by Star Online - and note that public transport plans all seem to be focused in the Klang Valley..what about the rest of the country

And just like every other Budget, we have the people who are all out to say "How Good It Is...?". Sometimes, I believe it is time that we shoot all these "ball carriers". Read it first - understand it...analyze it and then make your comments...

It is getting boring seeing how almost all BN Budgets have been GREAT --- welcomed by all (that is according to the mainstream media, of course,,,,)

Enhancing Health Services

* Excise duty specific on cigarettes increased by three sen from 15 sen per stick to 18 sen per stick. With this, the duty for a 20-stick pack of cigarettes is now increased by 60 sen.

Social Safety Net

* Eligibility criteria for welfare assistance under the Welfare Department, increased from a monthly household income of RM400 to RM720 for Peninsular Malaysia, RM830 for Sarawak and RM960 for Sabah.

* Government pensioners who had served at least 25 years upon retirement, will receive a pension of not less than RM720 per month, effective Jan 1 2009.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi presenting Budget 2009 to Parliament on Friday. - Starpic by Sia Hong Kiau

* The Government will now also set up a Special fund of RM25mil set up to channel financial assistance to victims of calamities such as floods and fire.

Eradicating Poverty

* Programmes to enhance income, as well as provide skills and career development training under the Skim Pembangunan Kesejahteraan Rakyat to be continued. In addition, Program Lonjakan Mega Luar Bandar is being implemented in Pulau Banggi, Sabah and Tanjung Gahai, in Kuala Lipis, Pahang.

* In 2009, RM50mil is allocated to build 1,400 new houses and repair 1,000 houses under the Housing Assistance Programme. Priority will be given to senior citizens, the disabled and single parents with many dependents as well as victims of natural disasters.

* RM580mil and RM420mil allocated for Sabah and Sarawak respectively to increase income and enhance quality of life of Malaysians there by improving basic amenities, such as electricity, water and rural roads.

* Households which incur monthly electricity bills of RM20 or less, will not have to pay for electricity, for the period from 1 October 2008 to end of 2009.

* The current tax rebate of RM350 per person be increased to RM400 for those with taxable income of RM35,000 and below.

* All interest income from savings for individuals be tax exempt.

* Reduce import duties on various consumer durables from between 10% and 60% to between 5% and 30%. These include blender, rice cooker, microwave oven and electric kettle.

Full import duty exemption on several food items, which currently attract import duties of between 2% and 20%. These include vermicelli, biscuits, fruit juices and canned sweet corn.

* Reduce the road tax on private passenger vehicles with diesel engines to be the same as those with petrol engines, effective 1 September 2008.

Enhancing The Welfare Of Employees

* Travel allowance for commuting to work provided by employers be given full tax deduction, while the employees receiving such an allowance be given tax exemption of up to RM2,400 per year.

* Tax exemption be given to employees on:

- Interest subsidies on housing, motor vehicles and education loans. The tax exemption will be limited to total loans up to RM300,000;

- Mobile phones, as well as telephone and internet bills paid by the employer;

- Staff discounts of up to RM1,000 a year on company traded goods;

- Staff discounts on services rendered by the company, such as private schools providing free education to children of their employees; and

- Childcare allowance of up to RM2,400 per year.

* Tax exemption on medical benefits provided by employers to include expenses on maternity and traditional medicine, namely acupuncture and ayurvedic.

* Effective Jan 1 2009, civil servants with a monthly household income of RM3,000 eligible for a subsidy of RM180 per month.

Improving Public Transportation

* A sum of RM35bil will be expended during the period 2009 to 2014 to improve public transportation.

* The existing LRT system in the Klang Valley will be extended by 30km, that is 15km respectively, for Kelana Jaya and Ampang lines. Upon completion in 2011, the extensions are expected to benefit 2.6 million residents in the Subang Jaya-USJ and Kinrara-Puchong areas, compared with 1.9 million currently.

* A new LRT line will be built along a 42km route from Kota Damansara to Cheras; to be completed in 2014.

* The commuter rail services of Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) will be upgraded. Rehabilitation works are being undertaken on the existing 20 Electric Multiple Units (EMUs) and are expected to be completed in 2009. An additional 13 new units of EMUs will be acquired and be operational by 2011.

* To reduce the operating costs of public transport operators:

- government will provide a soft loan facility of RM3bil under the Public Transportation Fund, administered by Bank Pembangunan Malaysia Berhad (BPMB), to finance the acquisition of buses and rail assets; and

- reduce toll charges by 50% for all buses, except at border entry points, namely Johor Causeway, Second Link and Bukit Kayu Hitam, for a period of two years, effective Sept 15 2008.

* Road tax will also be reduce to RM20 a year for all bus, taxi, car rental and limousine operators.

Food Security

* Sum of RM5.6bil is provided under the National Food Security Policy, for the period 2008 to 2010. This allocation is to provide incentives to agriculture entrepreneurs to reduce production costs and encourage higher agriculture output.

* RM300mil allocated to increase fish landings. Of this, RM180mil is in the form of cost of living allowance to fishermen and fishing boat owners, as well as RM120mil as incentive for fish landings.

* RM1bil allocation as incentives for 220,000 padi farmers throughout the country to increase padi production.

Generating Income Through Micro Credit

* RM160mil allocated to provide better education opportunities as well as improve health and basic amenities for the Orang Asli.

* A monthly allowance of RM150 to disabled who are unable to work. In addition, the monthly allowance for disabled students in special education schools, will also be increased from RM50 to RM150, while teaching assistants in these schools will be provided incentive payments of RM200 per month.

* In 2009, an allocation of RM330mil is provided to Jabatan Perumahan Negara to complete 4,400 units of Program Perumahan Rakyat (PPR) Disewa, 1,500 units of PPR Bersepadu and 600 units of PPR Dimiliki. In addition, Syarikat Perumahan Negara Berhad will build 33,000 low cost houses.

* For civil servants, tenure of new housing loans extended from 25 years to 30 years. They will also be provided housing loan facility for renovation works on houses not purchased through Government housing loan.

* For medium cost houses of up to RM250,000, a 50% stamp duty exemption is extended to the loan agreement on top of the 50% stamp duty exemption on the instrument of transfer.

* For companies contributing to charitable institutions, the limit of tax deduction be increased from 7% to 10% of aggregate income.

Improving Public Amenities

* Allocation of RM3bil to intensify efforts to further develop Sabah and Sarawak for infrastructure projects, including 266 km of federal and rural roads, benefiting more than 550,000 residents.

* An allocation of RM3.3bil is provided for Sarawak to implement various projects, including the construction of 230 km of federal and rural roads, benefiting more than 350,000 residents.

Second Strategy: Developing Quality Human Capital

* A sum of RM70mil is allocated in 2009 to train 5,600 nurses in training colleges under the Ministry of Health, with 2,000 in recognised private training colleges.

* To meet the need for new schools and replace dilapidated schools, 110 primary and 181 secondary schools will be built. In addition, to ensure that existing schools are well maintained, an allocation of RM615mil is provided.

* RM14.1bil to improve quality of learning at institutions of higher learning. Of this, RM8bil is for Operating Expenditure for public institutions of higher learning, RM627mil for polytechnics and community colleges as well as RM37mil for the Malaysian Qualification Agency.

Culture of Excellence

* The highest marginal tax rate for individuals be reduced from 28% to 27%, effective the year of assessment 2009. In addition, the marginal tax rate of 13% will also be reduced to 12%, which will benefit the middle income group.

* Recruitment costs, such as payments to employment agencies and participation in job fairs, be tax deductible.

Third Strategy: Strengthening The Nation’s Resilience

* To encourage private sector activities, tax treatment on group relief be enhanced by allowing losses for the purpose of offsetting be increased from 50% to 70%.

* An additional RM300mil under the Strategic Investment Fund to further strengthen private investment in Iskandar Malaysia.

Promoting Tourism

* New investments by 4-star and 5-star hotel operators in Sabah and Sarawak be given Pioneer Status with 100% income tax exemption or Investment Tax Allowance of 100% for 5 years.

* RM50mil for conservation works of heritage sites in Malacca and Penang to support activities undertaken by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and private sector.

Promoting Venture Capital Companies

* Venture capital companies that invest at least 30% of their funds in start-up, early stage financing or seed capital be eligible for a 5-year tax exemption.

Promoting Small and Medium Enterprises

* All SME assets in the form of plant and machinery acquired in the years of assessment 2009 and 2010 be given Accelerated Capital Allowance to be claimed within one year. In addition, SMEs are allowed to claim full Capital Allowance on all small value assets within one year.

National Energy Plan

* Exemption of import duty and sales tax on solar photovoltaic system equipment, import duty and sales tax on intermediate goods such as High Efficiency Motors and insulation materials; sales tax on locally manufactured solar heating system equipment; sales tax on locally manufactured energy efficient consumers goods such as refrigerators, air-conditioners, lightings, fans and televisions; and 100% import duty and 50% excise duty on new hybrid CBU cars, with engine capacity below 2,000 cc, be given to franchise importers. This exemption is given for a period of two years to prepare for the local assembly of such cars.

Towards A Vibrant Capital Market

* Tax exemption be given on fees received by domestic intermediaries, which successfully list foreign companies and foreign investment products in Bursa Malaysia. This measure will also enable domestic investors to acquire shares of foreign companies listed in the local exchange.

* Current tax rate on dividends received by foreign institutional investors from Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT) be reduced from 20% to 10%. Recognising that REITs is an attractive investment product for individuals as well, the Government also proposes a reduction in tax rate from 15% to 10%.

Ensuring Public Safety

* RM5.4bil is allocated in the 2009 Budget to enhance the capacity of the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM). Of this, RM4.8bil is for Operating Expenditure and RM600mil for Development Expenditure.

* RM220mil is allocated in 2009 for the construction of police headquarters and stations nationwide.

* For the period 2008 to 2010, a total of 22,800 constables and 3,000 inspectors will be recruited. In addition, the special incentive allowance for PDRM personnel will be increased from RM100 to RM200 monthly, effective Jan 1 2009.

* All business premises installed with security control equipment be given Accelerated Capital Allowance, which is fully claimable within one year.

Civil Service

* A bonus of one-month salary, subject to a minimum of RM1,000 for 2008. The bonus will be paid in two instalments, namely in September and December 2008.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Paying for the BN fumble - in not excluding toll for Public busses, etc

Toll charges for buses slashed

Toll charges for buses to cut by 50 percent for the next two years. The government will spend RM45 million to compensate toll operators for this. - Malaysiakini, 29/8/2008 -Budget 2009: Salient points
The problem is the toll agreements that the Government entered with the toll operators - for it seems to be very much in favour of them toll operators - and the people suffer and suffer because of this. There was no transparency ...and even today, there is still no transparency with regard to them toll-agreements. It must be made public. There must be accountability. This is what we want.

The government cuts toll charges for busses -- but really this should have been an aspect of the toll agreement in the first place.

The agreement should have been that there will be no toll charges for public busses, taxis, other public transport vehicles, motorcycles, government vehicles-police, health, etc...

Now, the government ends up having to pay toll operators RM45 million so that busses only can enjoy 50% rates.

This RM45 million could have and should have been used to improve roads and public transport generally - now the Toll Operators get this money...they never lose.

And, how much is being allocated to improve public transport --- an interesting RM35 billion.

The problem with the BN government is that half of this may enter pockets of persons, and then the rest of it will be given to selected ...."government-linked" or "Minister/PM/DPM linked companies" who over-charges. We shall see...we shall see
To improve public transportation, the government has allocated RM35 billion in the next five years. - Malaysiakini, 29/8/2008 -Budget 2009: Salient points

The first think that has to be done is for the PM's son to have no more relationship with SCOMI and/or their related companies.... and SCOMI's involvement in public transportation in certain areas must be reviewed and posibly ended. In fact the PM, his family, his in-laws, (so too with his DPM, Minisiters, MPs and ADUN) should have no links whatsoever with the companies that get these public tranport projects...

Or, will we still be seeing a big portion of that billions allocated just going to them again...
Yang Berhormat Dato' Bung Mokhtar Radin (Ahli Parlimen Kinabatangan) telah bertanya dalam Dewan Rakyat berkenaan 1000 lebih bas milik Rapid KL yang tersadai dan tidak diguna.

Bas-bas ini dikatakan asalnya milik Intrakota dan City Liner yang telah diambilalih oleh Rapid KL yang dipercayai adalah milik Khazanah. Bas-bas ini masih boleh diguna atau boleh diperbaiki dan dijual oleh Rapid KL.

Tetapi Rapid KL tidak berusaha bersungguh-sungguh untuk mendapat balik sedikit pun daripada kos pembelian syarikat-syarikat ini.


Apakah Rapid KL begitu untung dan boleh tanggung rugi yang tidak kecil daripada menjadikan bas-bas yang dibeli olehnya sebagai besi buruk?

Rapid KL terkenal dengan jumlah besar bas baru yang dimilikinya. Umum tahu yang bas-bas ini kerap kosong. Oleh kerana ia adalah GLC dan melibatkan wang rakyat sepatutnya untung-ruginya diumumkan kepada orang ramai. Tetapi kita tidak pernah melihat kira-kira untung ruginya. Untung besarkah RapidKL dan Khazanah?

Kita bangga dengan design bas-bas yang dimiliki oleh Rapid KL. Ia amat moden. Saya ingin tahu siapakah yang membekal bas-bas ini. Saya percaya pembekal bas-bas ini meraih keuntungan yang besar kerana begitu banyak bas yang jelas dibeli oleh Rapid KL. Mungkinkah pelupusan dan write-off begitu banyak bas-bas lama adalah supaya bas baru dapat dibeli daripada pembekal tertentu? Jika ya, nampaknya Rapid KL diadakan untuk menguntungkan pembekal. Apakah adanya Rapid-Penang juga tidak mempunyai tujuan yang sama?

Apakah benar pembekal bas Rapid KL dan Rapid Penang ialah M-Trans yang dimiliki 100% oleh Scomi yang dimiliki oleh sipolan-sipolan yang mempunyai talian kekeluargaan dengan pemimpin besar negara?

Katanya pesanan untuk bas baru oleh Rapid KL adalah begitu banyak sehingga Scomi tidak dapat membinanya. Oleh itu Scomi dibenar import bas dari China. Apakah harga import dan harga jualan kepada Rapid KL? Apakah syarikat lain dibenar import bas baru dari luar negeri? Apakah duti import yang dibayar?

Disiarkan gambar-gambar Scomi Coach Sdn Bhd (dahulu dikenali sebagai M-Trans Sdn Bhd) yang berada di tempat yang sama dengan Scomi Rail Bhd (dahulu dikenali sebagai M-Trans Technology Sdn Bhd)

Penceroboh boleh ditembak
Bas-bas Rapid KL yang tersadai

Bas-bas baru Rapid KL yang sedang dibina di kilang Scomi

Kita juga dengar khabar angin bahawa Scomi juga dapat kontrak membekal unit-unit monorel untuk projek monorel di Pulau Pinang. Sekali lagi Scomi hanya akan membekal unit monorel sahaja dan tidak akan terlibat dengan pembangunan dan pengurusan sistem monorel di Pulau Pinang. Umum tahu pembangunan dan pengurusan tidak memberi keuntungan. Menjual unit monorel tetap untung terutama jika tidak ada tender atau tender di buat dengan spesifikasi yang hanya jenis unit monorel Scomi sahaja yang boleh menepatinya.

(Disiarkan dibawah gambar yang menunjuk rel untuk percubaan unit monorel yang terdapat di kilang Scomi Rail Bhd)

Rel untuk test unit. Dibelakang terlihat satu unit monorel di atas test-rail

Papan kenyataan Scomi Coach Sdn Bhd dan Scomi Rail Bhd

Source:, posting entitled Rapid KL

I believe, when they started these toll highways, the BN government promised Malaysians that they will not only maintain the existing toll-free roads but will up-grade it all to 2-lane roads - but alas that seems not to have happened.

There are many places, where there is no real reasonable option but to pay the toll and use them toll-highways/roads. More often than not, it is also not smooth easy driving on these "private" roads because of road-works, etc..

Have these toll operators and road builders not been adequately compensated by the timber they exploited - by the land they obtained - by the control of even the food/drink outlets, petrol stations, etc..? Or, do they control it or not -- we do not know because we cannot see that Agreements...

How much did it cost to build the roads? How much have they been paid & collected through the toll payments? In fact, normally toll rates go down --- not up - but in Malaysia, it just goes up.

I believe Pakatan Rakyat promised the abolition of tolls -- or will they now say they never really did.

And when they cease power, the excuses will start to flow....and the people may end up continuing to pay tolls...

After September 16, hopefully we will have changes...not just of government BUT of a lot of things for the better.

KL Pakatan MPs wake up - ensure places of worships are there in KL 2020.

Earlier, I pointed that it was the failure of the BN government, the PM and his Cabinet - especially the Federal Territories Minister and his Deputy for failing to ensure that there is proper and adequate allocations for temples, churches, kuils, etc in the Kuala Lumpur Draft City Plan 2020.

Hindu Sangam, fortunately, pointed out their concern as to 'why plots of land for Hindu temples and crematoriums were missing in Kuala Lumpur Draft City Plan 2020'.

In response, out came the Federal Territories Deputy Minister 'blaming' the Hindu sangam for the delay in raising this point

That Deputy Minister Saravanan did wrong because the failings was that of the BN. Hindu Sangam is not govbernment - just an NGO with limited resources. Thankfully, they saw that big FUMBLE of the authorities - the government, and highlighted it.

The other group of persons who seem to have FAILED are those MPs of KL - I believe all of them, save one, are from the Opposition parties.

As 'wakil rakyat', it also means that you must monitor the situation... and ensure that temples, churches, etc are not erased from the territories of Kuala Lumpur come 2020 because no one disapproved Kuala Lumpur Draft City Plan 2020 in time.

MPs of KL from Pakatan Rakyat and that one from BN - do go and check the Kuala Lumpur Draft City Plan 2020. Ensure not just that all existing temples, churches, mosques, suraus, chapels, kuils, vats are still there in 2020 BUT also that there are NEW temples, churches, mosques, suraus, chapels, kuils,...

This trend of many persons having to rent commercial propewrty and use it for churches, temples, etc...should end.

There should be proper allocation of land and space for places of worship, cemetries, etc..

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Malaysia should treat people based on love & care - not based on the kind of ID papers they hold, etc.

The present government in Malaysia (i.e. the BN government) and the next government in Malaysia (i.e. the Pakatan Rakyat government) must now state clearly their response and position with regard to issues concerning rights and realities migrants and their families.

One very humanitarian demands would be:-

Equal access to health care and medical facilities to ALL, irrespective of the status
- The practice of charging foreigners a lot more by government health care providers must stop
- The practice which requires an identity card/passport/formal papers before health care is provided must stop - realising that many are refugees.. or others that really do not have proper identification papers/documents - Human Care should supercede all such 'procedural requirements', that will deny access to medical treatment to the sick.
(A very bad proposal(in para 55) is to even suggest "health care insurance scheme" - because this will not cover all migrants, which also include the 'undocumented'. What happened to those without that "health care insurance" Just demand for FREE health care for all. )

Having read quickly, the statement below entitled "Malaysia National Consultation on the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers", which allegedly resulted after a 2-day meeting, i.e. on 13-14 August 2008 in Shah Alam, I must state that there are many GOOD things in that statement which I would have no problems with, and I have highlighted some of this in red.

I wonder really whether the participants had the opportunity to go through this lengthy 88 point statement with a fine-tooth-comb before agreeing with it, which I doubt. There are certain matters in this statement which are not correct (or inaccurate), some in ignorance of the reality, and some even which will have the effect of further depriving migrants of their rights. The statement also needs tightening up.

For example, Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) - that is what civil society is calling for, and I believe that is what this statement is talking about at para 52 not some new "Independent Commission for the Police".

Another example, with regard to domestic work - it is recognized in the law BUT the law specifically excludes rights and other protections in law that is accorded to other workers. So, what we want, is to remove these exclusions to enable domestic workers to enjoy all rights as other workers enjoy. Maybe, some additional provisions to deal with matters specific to domestic workers situation. { Para 29 states this "29. The Government should revise the Employment Act to ensure that domestic work is covered under the law and that domestic workers have recourse to redress under that law. ...}

There is also concern about only 'UNHCR-recognized refugees, etc'. Well. whilst the UNHCR is generally been doing good work BUT it also has its bias. The UNHCR allegedly does not accord those from the Shan State in Burma refugee status - and as such it may be best to talk about refugees, stateless persons, etc generally - not just limited to those accorded the status by just the UNHCR. By the way, how many Shan in Malaysia (or Thailand or anywhere) have been recognized as refugees by the UNHCR - and why this discrimination against the Shan?{para 60-65 deals with Refugees];

I do hope that organisations in Malaysia would carefully study this statement before endorsing it. Or maybe it be best left as a rough statement by invidual participants - not organisations.

Below a short write-up and that statement entitled "Malaysia National Consultation on the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers" , from the ALIRAN website:-

"...Representatives of civil society organisations and trade unions gathered in Shah Alam recently to conduct a National Consultation on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers under the auspices of the Task Force on Asean Migrant Workers mechanism. This is their collective statement.

National Statement

Malaysia National Consultation on the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers

13-14 August 2008
Shah Alam, Selangor

1. As representatives of civil society organizations and trade unions, we have gathered in Shah Alam, Selangor, on August 13-14, 2008 to conduct this National Consultation on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers under the auspices of the Task Force on ASEAN Migrant Workers mechanism. We recognize very clearly that Malaysia must play a central role in the deliberations and determinations of the framework of to protect and promote the rights of migrant workers in ASEAN because it is the destination country for the largest number of migrants in Asia. The economy and society of our country is integrally connected with the fate of these migrant workers since as many as 1/3 of the workers in our country are migrants. Yet for the major role that migration plays in the daily lives of Malaysians, we acknowledge that the policies of the Government of Malaysia towards migrant workers and their families have often been detrimental towards the rights of these migrants. Unfortunately, to date, the history of Malaysia’s treatment of migrants can best be characterized by the continued existence of many laws regulating migrant workers which remain largely unimplemented. We also see that there remain significant failures in good governance among civil servants at all levels when actions are taken to regulate migrant workers.

2. We believe that the fundamental problem that runs like a thread through Government migrant policy is the focus on treating migration as a matter of “security” rather than an issue that is more appropriately handled as a matter concerning “labour” by the Ministry of Human Resources. Migrants are invited to come to Malaysia to work and significant sectors of economy of our country remain dependent on their labour. Yet the Government continues to view migrants as a national security threat, and accordingly provided the leading role to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). In our view, the MHA has continuously mismanaged the policy towards migrant workers, setting out systems that provide the green light for employers to restrict workers’ rights and systematically exploit their vulnerability, which in turn ultimately drives migrant workers to flee their employers and join the swelling numbers of undocumented migrants. By creating a climate of fear among migrants, MHA has made the country less secure by undermining the kinds of policy initiatives need to effectively manage migration for the mutual benefit of migrant workers, employers, and Malaysian society at large.

3. In spite of its ratification of CEDAW, and the concluding comments of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in 2006, the Government continues to fail to recognize the multiple sites and forms of discrimination experienced by migrant women, in particular domestic workers, including violations of employment rights, right to a life free from violence, right to reproductive rights, and the right to redress in cases of abuse and violations.

4. Malaysia has been the subject of sometimes severe criticism from neighboring nations in ASEAN about the treatment accorded to their nationals working in our country. In the spirit of a “sharing, caring ASEAN” to which we all aspire, we feel it is important that the Government of Malaysia receive this criticism positively, and take immediate steps to address the myriad problems that has been surfaced in these interventions. As representatives of Malaysian civil society and trade unions, starting from today we renew our commitment to do whatever we can to ensure Malaysia will play a much more positive role in ASEAN in promoting regional policies and mechanisms that respect and promote the rights of all migrant workers.

5. At the same time, it is also important to recognize that many of the NGOs, community-based organizations, and trade unions in Malaysia have worked diligently and selflessly to protect migrant workers, assist them with their needs, and intently involve them in discussions and actions aimed at empowering them to better defend their rights. Tens of thousands of migrants have benefited from this important work. Accordingly, we pledge to redouble our efforts, in cooperation with all stakeholders in Malaysia as well are diplomatic representatives and international organizations present in our country, to continuously work to build an atmosphere of acceptance and respect for the rights of migrant workers and their families.

6. Regarding the current situation of immigrants in Sabah, we believe that the Government’s current forced deportation of migrant workers, refugees and stateless persons constitutes intense human rights violations and will not resolve the root causes of the situation. Real solutions must come with recognition that the undocumented migrant workers, refugees and stateless persons in Sabah are deeply rooted in the fabric of local society and make major contributions to the economic growth of the state. Only by recognizing and legitimizing the presence of these persons will this serious situation be effectively and sustainably addressed.

Recommendations to the Government of Malaysia

Policy principles

7. As a leading country in ASEAN that is receiving migrant workers, Malaysia should effectively implement its commitment in article 8 of ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers, which states that Governments shall “promote fair and appropriate employment protection, payment of wages, and adequate access to decent working and living conditions for migrant workers.”

8. The Government should adopt a rights-based approach to migrant worker policy which adheres to the core principle of non-discrimination in all aspects of law and policy implementation.

9. With regards to terms and conditions of employment for migrant workers, Government policy should maintain “national treatment” as its core premise, meaning that migrant workers shall receive treatment no less favorable than that accorded to Malaysian workers.

10. To ensure that these principles are infused throughout all aspects of policy, the Government should immediately sign and ratify the UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, and take all necessary steps to harmonize national laws with this Convention.

11. As a leading member of the ILO in the region, the Government of Malaysia should ensure that its treatment of migrant workers conforms with the ILO’s Decent Work Principles that call for respect for basic human rights, access to employment, safe and healthy working conditions, and social security.

12. We commend the Government for ratifying many of the core ILO Conventions, including Convention 29 (Forced Labour), 98 (Collective Bargaining), 100 (Equal Remuneration), 138 (Minimum Age), and 182 (Worst Forms of Child Labour).

13. We call on the Government to immediately ratify the remaining core ILO Conventions, including 87 (Freedom of Association) and 111 (Discrimination), and to reverse its decision to denounce its ratification of Convention 105 (Abolition of Forced Labour).We also call on the Government to undertake to ratify ILO Conventions 97 (Migration for Employment) and 143 (Migrant Workers).

14. As a member of the UN Council on Human Rights, we believe that it would be an important signal to the people of Malaysia, the migrant workers, and the international community for Malaysia to ratify without delay the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Policy determination, management and coordination

15. Jurisdiction for formulation and implementation of policies focusing on migrant workers should be transferred immediately from the MHA to the Ministry of Human Resources (MHR) which has the necessary expertise to oversee migrant workers policy as part of the overall labour policy. We believe that the MHR is best positioned to determine demands by employers for foreign labour, conduct workplace assessment and inspections, and to investigate and address complaints raised by migrant workers alleging problems at their workplace.

16. A new inter-ministerial coordination system on policies and practices towards migrants is needed to ensure effective implementation of migrant workers policy. This inter-ministerial/departmental body must be chaired by representative of the MHR and it should set up systems (coordinated by the MHR) to direct all matters pertaining to the recruitment, placement, and employment of migrant workers, and set out a clear policy outlining practical steps to be taken to increase the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers. Representation from the following Ministries will be required for this new inter-ministerial/department body – Human Resources (chair), Home Affairs, Health, Foreign Affairs, Women’s Affairs, and Education. This body should also actively reach out to civil society organizations and trade unions as it develops its policies.

17. MHA’s role should be restricted to handling the aspects of entry and exit of migrant workers only.

Recruitment and placement

18. The Government of Malaysia should immediately abolish the system of “outsourcing” under which 226 outsourcing companies have been issued licenses by the MHA but have operated with impunity in exploiting migrant workers and abusing their rights. Based on our experience, the “outsourcing” system has significantly fueled grievous abuses by creating bonded labour arrangements and effectively encouraging human trafficking for purposes of labour exploitation. This system serves to enrich only a select few brokers and their cronies while sullying the reputation of our country throughout the region.

19. In place of this system, the Government should negotiate bilateral agreements with labour sending countries based on a standardized agreement (developed in a transparent consultation process with Malaysian civil society and trade unions) that is in accordance with international labour standards. These agreements should contain clear information about sectors of work, and terms and conditions of work in those sectors. Direct employers would then be empowered to work through the MHR and these bilateral agreements to recruit the workers they need.

Any recruitment fees should be paid by the employer.

20. We recommend that the Government insist that as part of these arrangement, standardized migrant worker contracts would have to be signed in the sending country, specifying all terms and conditions of work, and made in both the migrant’s native language and English. These contracts should be developed in line with guidelines set by the MHR, and these guidelines should conform to international labour standards and set out minimum wages and conditions of work. Upon arrival, the Government should oversee the attestation of the contracts, and ensure that the contracts are recognized by employers and enforced. Government polices should be developed to severely punish cases of contract substitution by employers.

21. The Government should abolish the Foreign Worker Levy, which is a failed policy that further impoverishes migrant workers. The monies accumulated from the levy are not being provided for benefits or services for the migrant workers, and it has not had the intended effect of deterring employers from seeking foreign labour. Since the costs of the levy are passed to the worker, the levy has contributed to the deepening of debt bondage among workers.

22. The Government should mandate the creation of a pre-employment orientation program (in migrant workers’ native language) for migrant workers when they arrive in Malaysia, focusing on ensuring that migrant workers are aware of their rights and responsibilities under all relevant laws and policies concerning migrant workers and receive information about avenues to seek support and assistance in difficult situations. The Government must ensure that the costs of this orientation are borne fully by the employer and not passed on to the worker.

23. Our experience with numerous cases of migrant workers show that the tying of a migrant worker to one employer by contract, with provisions providing for immediate deportation if the worker is dismissed or otherwise unable to work, creates ideal conditions for exploitation of that worker. Therefore, we strongly recommend that the Government review and revise the Work Permit procedure, and provide workers the right to change employers through institution of a “portable” Work Permit registration system. The Government should also hold accountable those employers who negligently fail to renew their employees’ work permits.

24. The Government should consider amending the regulations for the Special Pass to provide longer periods of validity, and provide the Special Pass as a method of regularizing undocumented migrant workers who have lost their jobs through termination or other circumstances. The Special Pass could bridge the period of time while the migrant worker seeks and finds a new employer, and provide an avenue to seek a new Work Permit.

Working and living conditions

25. Migrant workers in Malaysia currently suffer from a wide variety of difficult, dangerous and dirty conditions in their work, and face significant challenges in earning sufficient wages to support themselves and provide support to their families back in labour-sending countries. In our experience, among the litany of abuses suffered by workers are long work hours and no days off, shifting placements, requirements to do multiple jobs, poor wages, lack of benefits, restrictions on the mobility and/or confinement to the workplace, poor housing conditions (connected to overcrowding, lack of proper food preparation and sleeping areas, lack of hygienic facilities for bathing and toilets), restrictions on seeking medical treatment, withholding of passport or other ID documents, denial of access to family and friends, prohibitions on practicing religion, and restrictions on their right to form associations or unions that can protect their rights. Migrant workers often suffer from contract substitution on arrival, compounded by employers’ failure to fulfill even the terms of the substituted contract – yet they can not leave their employer without fear of being fired and then immediately be deported.

26. The Government should implement a national minimum wage of 900 RM per month, supplemented by a 300 RM cost of living supplemental payment, and ensure that all migrant workers are paid no less than the minimum wage.

27. The Government should immediately revise the MHA policy connected to issuance of work permits which contains a prohibition on migrant workers joining associations of any kind. This policy is in violation of the Trade Union Act of 1959 and the Industrial Relations Act of 1967, both of which place no restrictions on the right of migrant workers to join unions. The Government should similarly take punitive action against employers inserting clauses into employment contracts that restrict or prohibit migrant workers from joining trade unions.

28. The Government should pro-actively proclaim its recognition of the right of migrant workers to establish, join, and hold positions in trade unions and should strongly enforce provisions in the law prohibiting harassment and dismissals of migrant workers for trade union activity.

29. The Government should revise the Employment Act to ensure that domestic work is covered under the law and that domestic workers have recourse to redress under that law. Policies should be established to ensure that domestic workers have at least one day off with pay per week, and that employers do not interfere in any way with migrant domestic workers’ right to communication with family members.

30. The Government should strictly enforce the provisions of the Passports Act of 1955 and sanction employers who seize and hold migrant worker’s passports. Furthermore, the Government should issue standard documentation (for example, migrant ID cards) for migrant workers, which can then be used by migrant workers to prove legal presence even in cases where they have had their lost their passport, or had their passport seized and held by the employer.

31. The Government has an obligation to safeguard the living and housing conditions of migrant workers and ensure that migrant workers are provide hygienic conditions and not subject to overcrowding. Migrant worker accommodations should comply with all applicable public health and housing regulations, as well as the Housing and Amenities Act. The MHR should play a leading role in coordinating with other Ministries and agencies to ensure that migrants are provided with appropriate accommodation and to penalize employers who continue to flout the requirement for safe and healthy housing for their workers.

32. The Government should insist that employers be responsible for the provision of nutritious food at reasonable cost in sufficient quantities to ensure continued good health of migrant workers, or provide sufficient and hygienic facilities, and opportunities to purchase raw ingredients, so that migrant workers can prepare their own food.

33. The Government should strictly apply and enforce the Occupational Safety and Health Act to protect the health of migrant workers. Workers injured in workplace accidents should have the right to compensation from their employer and from the Government. Compensation for injured migrant workers should be paid for the Social Security Act and not the Workman’s Compensation Act.

34. In terms of use of violence and sexual harassment against migrant workers, the Government should develop a Sexual Harassment Act which provides guidelines on stopping sexual harassment/violence. The Act should also include provisions that mandate effective education of employers about sexual harassment. The legislation should be developed in a participatory way with the involvement trade unions, employers and NGOs to ensure that the Act is both practical and can be effectively implemented. For migrants who suffer from violent attacks either inside or outside of the workplace, provision should be made to make counseling available to them.

Trafficking in persons

35. The Government is to be commended for the passage of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act (ATIP) which criminalizes trafficking in persons for all end purposes, but there are still significant problems in enforcement of the law that must be addressed. We are prepared to work closely with the Government to achieve effective implementation of the law, but this requires the commitment of key Government agencies to work with us in a transparent, sincere and honest manner as respected partners who have the interests of the victims at heart.

36. The Government should provide effective training to key officials of the agencies mandated under the Act to ensure they understand the procedures of implementation and enforcement of the Act, methods of identification of victims, and use of appropriately gender sensitive procedures which will protect victims.

37. The Government should also educate its personnel on the issues surrounding trafficking for labour exploitation so that law enforcement personnel are able to understand trafficking occurs in many forms and for many end purposes, and not only just sex trafficking.

38. In cases where corruption among Government officials is reasonably suspected to have occurred in relation to human trafficking, the Government must take strict, fast and effective measures to identify those responsible and take appropriate actions, including dismissal and action against them under law.

39. To provide adequate support for victims of human trafficking, the Government should dedicate resources and personnel to open shelter(s) in each State.

40. In order to ensure effective enforcement of the ATIP Act and the root causes that facilitate trafficking in persons, the Government must enact a Whistleblowers/Witness Protection Act.

41. The Government should pay special attention to the protection of highly vulnerable groups, such as stateless persons, asylum seekers, and refugees to ensure that they do not fall victim to trafficking.

Law enforcement and access to justice

42. Arrest and detention of undocumented migrant workers should be treated as an administrative offense, and not a criminal matter.

43. The Government should immediately disband RELA because the original rationale for their existence is no longer valid, they poorly trained in law and law enforcement, and as a unit, they are responsible for significant abuses of their powers and human rights abuses which have brought much criticism against Malaysia from the international community. Moreover, there is little indication that they are screened in hiring, their authority is ill-defined and arbitrary, and methods of oversight and accountability are not sufficiently transparent to inspire our confidence. Accordingly, RELA’s entire resources should be re-allocated to official law enforcers like the police, and to building up the capacity and personnel (possibly through new hires) of the police.

44. The Government’s use of whipping to penalize workers arrested for immigration offences must immediately be stopped, and the Government should ratify the UN Convention Against Torture to ensure that these practices cease permanently.

45. We believe the Government is responsible for ensuring that migrant workers are given an avenue to access and pursue justice. The current dysfunctional system of the “Special Pass” needs significant attention and reform. The duration of the Special Pass (one month) is too short, and the criteria for granting it are unclear and should be clarified. Therefore, the Government should endorse and implement the proposal of the Malaysian Bar Council “Memorandum Relating to Special Pass”, dated 16 July 2008, and immediately implement the following policies contained in that memorandum:

  • Allowing migrant workers in legal procedures to work – by creating a process to allow a migrant worker to pursue legal remedies by issuing workers with a “special pass” followed by a “visit pass”. The special pass provides would provide the opportunity for the worker to stay in Malaysia and seek employment while their court case is proceeding, and then if they locate employment, the visit pass could be issued to allow the migrant to work until the final resolution of the migrant worker’s court case;
  • A policy decision should be taken to allow the “visit pass” to be issued to migrants for temporary employment but to waive the requirement for the visit pass to only be given to a foreigner who is outside the country when applying;
  • Eliminate unreasonable requirements – such as the need to secure a letter from a Court – before the special pass can be issued;
  • Waive the 100 RM a month cost for the special pass;
  • Fast-track applications of migrant workers when processing the special pass and the visit pass.

46. Migrant workers, regardless of status, should have the right to access justice. The Government should recognize the continuum of legal rights of a migrant worker, regardless of his/her immigration status, and make provisions to enable them to realize this right.

47. The Government should provide resources to extend legal aid to migrant workers, thereby supplementing the efforts of NGOs and the Malaysian Bar Council.

48. Access to justice requires that migrant workers understand the legal proceedings which they are involved in. The Government must develop effective and practical mechanisms to provide translation and interpretation services for migrant workers with cases before the Courts.

49. The Special Courts set up in detention centers remain isolated from provisions such as legal aid/right to legal representation, interpretation services, access to prepare a defense, and other requirements required for the realistic delivery of justice. The Government should immediately integrate immigration cases into the main legal system, and end use of Special Courts in detention centers.

50. The Government should immediately establish and empower an independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate the prevailing conditions and treatment of migrant detainees in detention centers. The Government should provide the Commission with resources and personnel sufficient to conduct a full inquiry and ensure the full cooperation of all Government officials with the Commission. The final report should be made public and the recommendations fully considered for implementation by the Government.

51. The Government should adhere to the United Nation Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners 1990 and end punishment/whipping of migrant workers in detention centers.

52. Finally, to counter well-documented allegations of continuing corruption among law enforcement officials, the Government should establish an Independent Commission for the Police.

Health, safety, education and social dimensions affecting migrants

53. Mandatory health testing shall not be a pre-condition for employment. The Government should employ a rights-based approach towards the testing of the health of migrant workers, including voluntary testing, with provision of counseling and access to treatment for migrant workers.

54. The Government should cease mandatory testing for HIV and other treatable diseases for migrant workers while also providing access for treatment for migrant workers through the public health system so that they can recover their health. Workers who wish to change employers to enable them to better recover their health (such as moving to less physically challenging job, or moving to a job closer to the hospital/health facility where they are being treated) should be permitted to do through the use of “Special Pass” until they find a new job and receive a new Work Permit.

55. In line with the principles of non-discrimination, and to support better and more effective public health response for Malaysian society (since migrants compose one-third of the work force), it is imperative for the Government to allow migrant workers access and enjoyment of the same medical benefits that Malaysian citizens are entitled to in the public health system. Health care service should be provided to migrants irregardless of status, and special attention should be placed on provision of gender sensitive health care information, and reproductive health information and services for all migrants. One alternative that the Government should consider is to create a high quality, portable health care insurance scheme – with the proviso that it should not be prohibitively expensive and employers should pay the costs for migrants.

56. Migrant workers being held in detention centers face significant challenges to their health as a result of overcrowding, unhygienic conditions, and maltreatment. Current access to detention centers is quite limited, with treatment usually only available through a medical orderly based at the detention centers and some access by NGOs to operate mobile clinics. The Government should provide significantly increased access to detention centers by international agencies and NGOs so as to enable them to provide additional support for health care in the centers. More nutritious food should be provided, and efforts made to address other conditions deleterious to good health in the centers.

57. In light of its commitment as a signatory to CEDAW, the Government should end its policy of deporting pregnant migrant workers.

58. In line with its commitment as a signatory of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Government should provide free education for all including for children of migrant workers, refugees, asylum seekers and stateless persons, and should ensure that children of migrants are provided with documents that allow them equal access to the same health care services that are received by a Malaysian child.

59. The right to love and marry should be inviolable, and the Government should end policies that penalize marriage with loss of employment. For foreign workers who marry a Malaysian citizen, the person should be able to independently apply for, receive, and renew a spouse visa.

Refugees and stateless persons

60. The Government of Malaysia should immediately ratify the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, and recognize the status of those persons screened and accepted as refugees by the Office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). The Government should scrupulously respect the principle of non-refoulement and set out appropriate procedures with UNHCR to ensure that refugees are not deported.

61. The Government should ensure civil servants and law enforcement officials at federal, state and local levels respect the inviolability of UNHCR documents issued to refugees, and issue directives forbidding confiscation or destruction of said documents. We recommend that directives be made by the Government to officials at all that levels that in cases where a person carrying UNHCR issued documents is detained, the office of UNHCR shall be immediately informed and arrangements made for the release of the person into the care of UNHCR.

62. The Government should provide UNHCR-recognized refugees with the right to work under the applicable laws and regulations governing the employment of migrant workers in Malaysia.

63. The Government should provide access to detention centers by UNHRC officials to allow them to screen for asylum seekers.

64. In line with Malaysia’s commitments as a signatory to the CRC, all children in Malaysia should be given birth registration regardless of the status of their parents.

65. Government shall publicly recognize the right of stateless persons, especially children, to access social services such as education, healthcare, and other important services.

Recommendations to the Malaysian Parliament

66. We recommend that the Parliamentarians of Malaysia should play a leading role in forming a new Labour and Migration Caucus at the forthcoming meeting of ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) which will be held in Singapore on September 18, 2008. This Caucus should be tasked with intervening with the national Governments and the ASEAN Secretariat to ensure follow-up action is taken to fully implement the commitments made by the ASEAN governments in the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.

Recommendations to Suhakam

67. We applaud the Declaration of Cooperation in Bali made on June 26-28, 2007 between the four national human rights institutions established in ASEAN, which includes Suhakam and the national human rights institutions of Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand. One of the areas of work to be undertaken under that Declaration is “protection of human rights of migrants and migrant workers.” Leadership in this area has been assigned to Suhakam. We believe that it is critical for Suhakam to play a dynamic leadership role on human rights of migrants, and we call for Suhakam to immediately convene a workshop in Malaysia, hosting its fellow national human rights institutions, to launch a campaign of closer cooperation among these institutions on the issue of migrant worker rights in ASEAN. We believe that Suhakam and its fellow national human rights institutions should deepen the regional commitment to protect and promote the rights of migrant workers. The proposed meeting should set out a plan of action for the four national human rights institutions to move forward on common activities on the portfolio of migrant workers rights in ASEAN. These activities should be planned and implemented in coordination with civil society organization and trade unions, and the members of the Task Force on ASEAN Migrant Workers.

Recommendations to Asean

Policies affecting migrant workers and their families

68. We urge the Member States of ASEAN to immediately ratify all eight core ILO Conventions1, and ensure that their national labour laws, especially those laws governing migrant workers, are harmonized with the standards contained in those core ILO Conventions.

69. We further urge all the Member States of ASEAN to ratify ILO migrant worker Conventions 97, 143 and 181 as well as the UN International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers and Their Families.

70. We strongly recommend that the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers shall be considered to apply to all migrant workers present in ASEAN countries, regardless of their country of origin.

71. The ASEAN Governments should collectively ensure the implementation of the Vientiane Action Program concerning human rights matters.

72. ASEAN should play a critical role in consultation with the member Governments of both labour sending and receiving countries to ensure that intending migrant workers are not charged exorbitant recruitment fees to secure foreign employment. Excessively high recruitment fees only serve to deepen the debt of a migrant worker, contributing to vulnerability to debt bondage and trafficking.

73. The Governments of ASEAN should recognize the phenomenon of “statelessness” in the region, and seriously consider the fact that lack of status greatly increases the vulnerability of stateless migrant workers to exploitation. Accordingly, the Governments should publicly acknowledge the right of all persons to health and education services and acknowledge and recognize birth certificates issued by any ASEAN Government.

74. The right of all citizens of ASEAN countries to hold their own passports and Government-issued identity documents should be considered inviolable. This principle contrasts with the reality that brokers, agents, and employers routinely and systematically seize their passports and documents. Member States of ASEAN should adopt a clear no-tolerance policy that imposes tough punishments on all persons who seize or hold migrant workers’ documents.

75. The Member States of ASEAN are urged to ensure that migrant domestic workers are specifically included in coverage of the national labour law.

76. All the member Governments of ASEAN have ratified both the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and the UN Convention on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Therefore, in compliance with the provisions of the CRC and CEDAW, each Government must ensure that all children born to migrant workers should be provided with birth registration and access to education and health care.

77. Since all ASEAN Governments have ratified CEDAW, they should ensure the rights of migrant women, particularly domestic workers, are protected and that in cases of violations and abuse that there are viable avenues of redress, including effective laws, policies and programs which are in accordance with the principles of equality and non-discrimination.

78. Since it is clearly recognized that there is a trend of increasing feminization of migration in ASEAN, we strongly believe that the Member States of ASEAN should set out clear gender-sensitive policies on migration, and ensure that Government practices towards migrants reflect these gender specific migration policies.

79. Each Government of a labour-sending countries should clearly designate a focal point within their Embassy in each labour-receiving country to handle complaints and problems faced by their nationals who are migrant workers. Shelters or safe house arrangements should be made by each Embassy to support their migrant workers in serious distress.

80. The Member States of ASEAN should immediately ensure the end of all arrangements which devolve law enforcement authority over migrants to persons who are not law enforcement officials with permanent civil servant status in the Government. It is vital that the Member States of ASEAN take clear steps to protect all migrant workers from any form of human rights abuse perpetrated by civilian auxiliaries/groups.

81. Recognizing that quality of health of a migrant worker does not just affect the worker, but also his/her family residing in the country of origin, we recommend that the Member States of ASEAN create an effective scheme of high quality, portable health care insurance for migrant workers

82. ASEAN should develop a regional system, in coordination with civil society and representatives of migrants, which steps away from the current emphasis on mandatory testing of migrant workers for HIV. The new system would be based on voluntary testing of migrant workers and ensure universal access to treatment for those who test positive.

83. Given the importance of migrant worker remittances to the economy of the migrant’s origin country, a dependable, accessible, and low-cost system for transmitting remittances in ASEAN is vital. The Member States of ASEAN are urged to support the creation of such a remittances system, whether implemented by the private sector, trade unions and civil society organizations, or Government agencies.

84. All ASEAN countries should publicly acknowledge international migrant’s day (December 18) and grant a public holiday to migrant workers to celebrate this important day for affirming their rights.

Asean processes and steps forward

85. We recommend the ASEAN Member Governments should agree that the “instrument on the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers” to be developed (as called for in paragraph 22 of the ASEAN Declaration on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers) will be a binding instrument on ASEAN Member States.

86. The National Consultation strongly encourages the ASEAN Secretariat to take pro-active and immediate steps to encourage each member Government of ASEAN to immediately appoint their national focal point to the ASEAN Committee to Implement (ACI) the Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers, as called for in the resolution adopted by the ASEAN Foreign Ministers on July 30, 2007.

87. When constituted, the ASEAN Committee to Implement (ACI) should take immediate steps to formulate the ASEAN Instrument for the Protection and Promotion of Migrant Workers (as called for in Article 22 of the ASEAN Declaration on Migrants), and should ensure the Framework Instrument contributes directly to the harmonization of national labour laws of ASEAN members with the eight ILO core Labour Conventions and the UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. The Member States of ASEAN should give those focal points the necessary authority, and task them to engage substantively with the Task Force as it develops civil society’s draft ASEAN Framework Instrument on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.

88. Reflecting the fact that migration frequently involves movement across borders, ASEAN should develop an effective regional collabourative mechanism to work on issues of labour migration and human trafficking focusing on the predicament of undocumented migrant workers and their families, and stateless persons.

Done in Shah Alam, Selangor
14 August 2008

UNISEL Board of Directors - Is Pakatan Rakyat any different from BN?

Will Pakatan Rakyat be any different from the Barisan Nasional?

I really wonder when I just saw that 4 persons were just appointed as members of Board of Universiti Industri Selangor (Unisel) - and I noted that they were all from one ethnic group. Then, I went to the UNISEL website, and again I saw that ALL the members of the Board of Directors were again were from one ethnic group only.

Universiti Industri Selangor (Unisel) is wholly owned by the Selangor State government - now a Pakatan Rakyat government

Selangorians are of different ethnic groups - and maybe, consideration was purely on merit and qualification, and it was only a coincidence that ALL the members of the Board of Directors are from one ethnic group.

I have also noted earlier that all the Mayors and the Heads of the Local Councils in Selangor are also from ONE ethnic group - maybe again it was based on the merits, and there were no one from any other ethnic groups that had the required qualification.

I believe in choossing the best person for the job - BUT the facts mentioned above makes me wonder whether such was the case - or was it an act of positive discrimination in favour of one ethnic group.

When Pakatan Rakyat came into being - I hoped that things would change --- but looking at what the Selangor MB and the Pakatan Rakyat State government is doing, it makes me wonder.

I believe that there should be no ethnic or religious considerations in the choice and/or the appointment of the Menteri Besar, Deputy Menteri Besar, Speaker Dewan, State Secretary, Local Council Heads and members, Penghulus, Mayors, PKNS Head and Board members, UNISEL members of the Board... Noting also the multiracial, multi-religious and the multi-cultural nature of the people of Malaysia(Selangor) care must be taken to reflect this in the appointment by the State government.

Unisel Lantik Empat Ahli Lembaga Pengarah Baru

SHAH ALAM, 19 Ogos - Universiti Industri Selangor (Unisel) mendapat empat ahli lembaga pengarah baru berkuatkuasa 14 Ogos lalu.

Empat Ahli Lembaga Pengarah berkenaan ialah Naib Presiden Bahagian Pendidikan Petronas, Datuk Dr Rosti Saruwono, Pengerusi Perunding Bakti Sdn Bhd yang juga bekas Naib Canselor Universiti Putra Malaysia, Dato' Dr Ir Muhamad Zohadie Bardaie, Pengerusi Perisai Petroleum Teknologi Bhd dan bekas Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif SIRIM Berhad, Datuk Dr Mohamed Ariffin Aton serta peguambela dan peguamcara, Faekah Husin.

Ketika mengumumkan pelantikan tersebut, Dato' Menteri Besar, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim berkata mereka dilantik berdasarkan pengalaman luas dalam pentadbiran dan pengurusan perkhidmatan akademik.

"Sebagai Ahli Lembaga Pengarah yang baru, mereka bertanggungjawab membantu meningkatkan kualiti pendidikan di Unisel," katanya dalam sidang media selepas merasmikan Zirkon@7 08 satu pameran seni visual Fakulti Teknologi Seni Lukis dan Seni Reka Industri (FTSSI) Unisel di Galeri Shah Alam petang tadi.

Dengan empat lantikan tambahan itu, Unisel mempunyai 13 Ahli Lembaga Pengarah.

Abdul Khalid berkata pelantikan mereka adalah antara langkah awal kerajaan negeri menjadikan Unisel sebuah universiti yang mempunyai daya saing serta melahirkan graduan yang bersedia bertugas di peringkat antarabangsa.

Sementara itu ketika mengulas mengenai kekosongan kerusi Naib Canselor yang kini dipangku Prof Dr Khalifah Othman, beliau berkata pemilihan akan dibuat oleh satu jawatankuasa yang telah dipilih.

"Sasaran kita ialah sebelum akhir tahun ini," katanya.

Beliau berkata tiga Timbalan Naib Canselor akademik, hal ehwal pelajar dan pentadbiran juga akan turut dilantik.

"Oleh kerana kita dah ambil mereka-mereka yang mempunyai keupayaan mentadbir universiti, jadi mereka ini boleh memberi pendapat dan berkongsi pengalaman dari segi pemilihan yang terbaik untuk Unisel," katanya. - NOOR ALLIA KASSIM


I then went to to website of UNISEL, and found that it was wholly owned by the Selangor State Government - and the list of Board of Directors are as follows:-

Board of Director

HajiRamli Bin Mahmud


Mohd Arif BinAb.Rahman


Y.B.Datin Paduka
Zauyah Be Binti T.Loth Khan


Ahmad Nawawi Bin Dato'M.Zin

Y.Bhg.Dato' Haji
Abd Karim Bin Munisar

Y.Bhg.Tuan Haji
Takril Bin Tasuki

Mohd Taib Bin Hashim

Adnan Bin Alias

Yusli Bin Mohamed Yusoff


Sahol Hamid Bin Abu Bakar

En.Mazli Bin Mokhtar
Company Secretary

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Anwar wins by BIGGER majority - BN losing even more support

9.50pm: Official EC tally - Anwar got 31,195 votes, Arif Shah, 15,524, Hanafi, 92. Anwar won with a majority of 15,671.

Anwar's wife, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, won the seat with a 13,388 majority at the March 8 general elections.

The official voter turnout was 81.1 percent, or 47,410 out of 58,459 registered voters - which was much higher than what the EC had stated earlier. There were 599 spoilt votes.- Malaysiakini, 26/8/2008

So, why did the Election Commission lie earlier about voter turnouts...???

According to EC secretary Kamaruzaman, 38,144 voters went to the ballot box today with turnout being 65.25 percent. This is much lower than the 82 percent turnout at the March 8 general elections - Malaysiakini, 26/8/2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

I swear ... you swear.. Permatang Pauh decides only its MP, nothing more

Looking at the Permatang Pauh by-election, one can only see how 'sad' the contesting parties have become..

It seems that the issue of whether Anwar is guilty of sodomy or not seem to be the pre-occupation during this by-elections.

We had that Saiful coming out and swearing that he was sodomized by Anwar just before nomination day - and then ....

...over on the Pakatan Rakyat stage - we have Uztaz Ramlang Porigi from the FT Mosque openly raises doubts on Saiful's oath that he was sodomised by Anwar. He was there when Saiful did his swearing... He raises doubts about the sincerity...etc

Then, we have good Najib, our DPM, also getting into this swearing bit , whilst playing football alone....

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has challenged PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to come clean and “cleanse his morality the Islamic way.”

“That is what the voters of Permatang Pauh want. Bersihkanlah moral cara Islam (cleanse your morality the Islamic way).

VIP kick-start: Najib kicking off a football match at the Sukan Rakyat at Padang Sukan Taman Semilang yesterday. — Bernama

“Anwar says he cannot trust the police, courts and doctors. Don’t tell me even in Allah he does not trust?” he told reporters while visiting Taman Sembilang in Seberang Jaya yesterday.

Najib, who spoke at a gathering in Taman Sembilang and later visited a Barisan operations centre there, said the people did not want someone who was famous in London, Bangkok and Singapore.

“These were the places he took his alleged ‘coffee boy’ Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan to. Now he has denied everything,” he said, adding that Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah was not known internationally but he would serve the people well. - Star Online, 25/8/2008 -Najib challenges Anwar to come clean the Islamic way

There is an interesting story in the Bible where a women caught allegedly commiting adultery is about to be stoned, when Jesus wonders along - and says to them potential stonners "He, who has not sinned shall cast the first stone"... and no one was there to cast any stones.

Mohd Najib Razak - I remember, it was you, who did first come out and give all Malaysians the false impression that you did not know...have not met Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan. Saiful was only an acquaintance of your staff....

THEN, later out came the TRUTH that Saiful interestingly came and did meet you - even before he did make any police report alleging sodomy (possibly before even he went to that PUSRAWI Hospital, etc...)

I believe that you have been dishonest...Mohd Najib Razak.

There has been a whole lot of talk that you are involved in that Mongolian woman's case - that now deceased Altantuya's case.

In fact, we all still remember what PI Balasubramaniam said in his 1st Statutory Declaration - which mysteriously was all attempted to be cancelled out by the 2nd SD - and then the PI and his family just went missing for a while.... (Has he been found yet?)

I wonder whether our Mohd Najib Razak did swear that he did not know that Mongolian...never met her...and is not involved in the murder...etc.. Did he swear? (He may have, since it is becoming fashionable these days BUT I seriously do not recall)

And really, what exactly is that Port Dickson scandal... Anwar also is most irritating when he hints about certain things but then do not really tell us what it is all about -- same thing with that boxes of documentary evidence that he allegedly has which will expose all scandals - or is he going to use all these "secrets" as a means to 'control' certain persons later with threats of exposure. One good thing about Dr. M, is that he discloses facts as well - and not just stops at hints.

In a rare outburst that is perhaps telling of the toll the Permatang Pauh by-election is taking on him, opposition icon Anwar Ibrahim is threatening to expose a 'dark secret' of Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's, involving the southern beach town of Port Dickson, if the latter continued to wage personal attacks against him.

"Enough is enough. Stop the scornful lies on me," Anwar warned during a rally at the Bukit Mertajam mini-stadium last night. "Otherwise, I will expose Port Dickson." - Malaysiakini, 20/8/2008 - 'Najib, remember Port Dickson?'

Sometimes, we have to pity the voters - because candidates and their campaign do not really provide them with much real reasons as to why they should vote for this person -- and not the other.

People are not bothered about alleged sodomy, etc - they say leave it to the trial and the courts, and let the due course of the law takes its course...

Who swears or who does not is really not material?

Of course, in 1999, Najib was not into this 'to swear or not to swear' position - then it was let them criminal courts proceed with the case . I do not remember Najib even questioning the jurisdiction of the criminal courts -- for, after all, is not liwat is a matter that the syariah court does have jurisdiction...

What we are seeing is a by-elections - that it all. The voters of Permatang Pauh do not represent the people of Malaysia...

The voters of Permatang Pauh - would have been subjected to whole lot of 'bribes', inducements, threats, entertainment, spin,....etc - and now, they will have to cast their votes.

Remember Ijok voted BN in the by-elections --- but come GE several months later, they voted opposition.

What will the outcome be?

* Anwar loses - well and good, maybe he can stand in another by-elections..

* Anwar wins - not too big a surprise - for after all in March 2008 (just 5 months ago), they already indicated that they did not want BN - chosing instead Anwar's wife.

If Anwar loses, will Pakatan Rakyat not come into power this September 16?

Why - because the main person working for it is no more interested because now even if PR comes into power because, he, Anwar Ibrahim, cannot be the PM --

I hope Anwar is not like this, win or lose Permatang Pauh, should not de-rail the Pakatan Rakyat plan to take over the reigns of government from the BN come 16 September (or was it all a bull-shit all along???...another spin...)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Desparate PM - takes LRT, reduce fuel price, now want to erradicate poverty

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the head of BN, the current Prime Minister for don't know how long more, is starting to pull stunts one after the other:-

a) He took rides on the commuter and LRT rail services - to experience the problems of the rakyat.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi took rides on the commuter and LRT rail services from Serdang to the city centre yesterday to get a feel of the transport problems faced by the public and came away less than satisfied.
Where’s the train? Abdullah waiting with other passengers at the Serdang Komuter station yesterday. This is a daily routine for the commuters, who complained to the Prime Minister about poor train services. — Bernama

Throughout the one-hour journey, during which he switched trains, the Prime Minister noted the congestion, especially during the peak period, and spoke to his fellow passengers to get feedback.

Speaking to Bernama after disembarking at the Masjid Jamek LRT station, he said he was not satisfied and wanted immediate improvements to be made.

He said the existing services were not systematic, there were not enough coaches and coverage was not comprehensive, leaving many areas not serviced.

“I just saw the plight of people using the trains to get to work every morning. They were jostling to get on board every time a train arrived. There appeared to be no system.

“I’m not happy with this because the people are not getting satisfaction from riding the trains. This we must fix,” he said.

“I found the trains really packed. Some had waited for three trains and yet could not board. - Star Online, 22/8/2008 - PM quietly takes public transport to experience commuters’ problems

But alas, he and/or his Transport Minister and the Cabinet should have done this a long time ago... and it would become so clear what has happened to the Public Transport System.

In KL/Klang Valley - the priority should have been to build more LRT, Commuter lines because there are so many places that are not covered. There is no LRT/Commuter services even to get to the Kompleks Kerajaan (the Government Complex) in Jalan there is also the Court Complex there...

Ride the busses too, Mr PM. Try getting a taxi from most places in the Klang Valley. not your son's company, that SCOMI, that has a significant interest and control of public transport in KL and the Klang Valley...

You are the cause of the transport problems in the country - so do not pretend now that you did not know. Was it just an ordinary trip (or was there special preferences given to you, PM), because clearly there are some press who did cause to publish some nice photos of you at the LRT station, and even in the LRT.

What about the East Coast of Malaysia - the train services are still so far behind. There should also be a East Coast coastal line - and a train line that cuts east to west.

b) He reduced the price of petrol...

c) And now, he wants to erradicate poverty in Malaysia before he hands over power to his DPM in mid-2010.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today reiterated he is comitted to
in 2010 and during the next two years will focus his attention to eradicating poverty in the country.

“When the time comes for me to retire, I will retire. I will also make sure I will let people know I am determined to eradicate poverty. If I can do that, I will be grateful to God and I'll be very happy indeed,” Abdullah told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today.The 68-year-old premier stressed that even if he could not fully achieve his task, he would still step down as promised.

“It has nothing to do with politics, rather the economic situation today. However, we will continue to fight (poverty) and I will do my best,” he said, ...- Malaysiakini, 24/8/2008 -Pak Lah's mission: To eradicate poverty

Well...well, what is the poverty rate in Malaysia? Are you still using that 'old figures' to calculate the number of Malaysians (and Malaysian families) that are poor or hardcore poor?

Well, you cannot - because the cost of living has sky-rocketted....and one of the most significant reasons for this was your very own BAD decision to suddenly increase the price of petrol, diesel, etc... and this caused the price of almost everything to increase...

People who were not poor (or 'hardcore poor') are today efectively poor or "hardcore poor" - but, of course this will not be seen in your BN government statistics where the poverty line is really so unreasonable...

One way that you could resolve poverty on paper - is just lower the poverty line ---- and then there will be 'zero poverty" in Malaysia.

There should be no poverty in Malaysia, which is a rich country full of resources, by now but the BN government in total power for the last 50 years has failed to erradicate poverty, and provide each and every Malaysian family with an house. In fact, you have caused greater inequity in Malaysia. The rich became richer and the poor became poorer. The gap between the rich and the poor is one of the worse in Asia (and in the world).

To save Malaysia, what you should do is just peacefully hand-over the duties and responsibilities of government to the Pakatan Rakyat, and we shall see whether things will improve. Since new brooms will be more efficient - we, in Malaysia, should benefit --- and after that finally in Malaysia, the people will have 2 main choices, i.e. the BN or the Pakatan Rakyat.

One thing that has been happening to the people of Malaysia - is a growth in awareness and wisdom - and no more will they be deceived by the government and/or the political parties...

Unhappy with the conservative Islamic State agenda being forwarded by PAS, with PKR's endorsment by the electoral pact they formed with PAS, the Malaysians, irrespective of ethnicity, religion or culture just rejected them in 2004 - PAS lost Trengganu and almost lost Kelantan. PKR lost all seats save for the seat contested by Wan Azizah.

In 2008, the people are pissed with Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the BN - and hence the results of GE2008. 5 States go to the Pakatan Rakyat, and the BN loses their 2/3 majority in Parliament.

So, never under-estimate the people - the rakyat - the 'makkal' . Now, it is they who decide who shall be given the power, duty and responsibility to govern the nation and/or the States...

Badawi's taking of the LRT is good - in fact all you MPs and ADUNs should also choose a week and travel around using only the LRT and Busses - this would be very good - and I am sure that after that there will be definite positive improvement of the public transport problems that all Malaysians have been facing.

Many are driving cars today just because of the poor public transport system - we, the people, could have had so much use for the money that we could have saved by not buying private cars - it would have improved our lives in so many other ways..