Thursday, February 19, 2009

They are human beings, and they deserve to be treated as such...

Just something, I saw in the Malay Mail that I wanted to share with you all...

We sometime treat them as though they are not human beings...

We must have laws that define minimum standards for accommodation for migrant workers.
But it is a monstrous act of barbarism to force some 100 people, regardless of their origin or legal status, into a 1,000 sq ft shophouse unit only to release them when their manual strength is required for work we ourselves are too lazy, or too dainty, to do ourselves.
Migrant workers must never be deprived of their passports - because the inability to show the police, immigration enforcement officer and/or that RELA person is the main reason why they sometimes unnecessarily get arrested and end up for weeks...sometimes months in detention centres...See also earlier post about just one such case ...Illegal for employers to hold Migrant Worker's passports..

Let's not forget that it also did happen to our Malaysian pregnant woman, M. Rajeshvari too...who was there in detention for 11+ months.Pregnant Malaysian mum wrongfully detained in Migrant Detention Centre for 11+ months

They may look different - talk differently ...but let's not forget that they are human beings too...

WORSE THAN A CELL: Some 100 Bangladeshis are crammed into this 1,000 sq ft shophouse unit

Our national borders are porous and for many years those living in countries less fortunate than ours have sought, by hook or crook, to make better futures here.

Whether they enter Malaysia legally or not, migrant workers are entitled to the same basic human rights as anyone else. While we may debate the fitness of extending legal protection
to those who by virtue of being in this country have already broken immigration laws, even illegal immigrants are entitled to one basic right:

To be treated as human. Unfortunately there exists a “grey” labour market in which immigrants are literally enslaved in the service of those who have no scruples.

These individuals enter our country legally, either as bona fide workers or under the cover of being a student, or something else, but what do we know of what happens after they arrive?

What do we know of the companies that employ them?

Our recent reports uncovered a sight so appalling that few are prepared to believe
Malaysians, with all their relative wealth and reputed friendliness, could be capable of such crimes against humanity.

It is a crime to deprive a person of his or her passport unless it is ordered thus by a court of law. It is a crime to deprive anyone of medical attention they might need.

Unless by operation of law, it is a crime to place even a single person in a flat under lock and key against his or her will.

But it is a monstrous act of barbarism to force some 100 people, regardless of their origin or legal status, into a 1,000 sq ft shophouse unit only to release them when their manual strength
is required for work we ourselves are too lazy, or too dainty, to do ourselves.

And yet this is precisely what has been claimed of a shophouse in Bandar Sri Damansara where around 100 Bangladeshi workers were found living in conditions none can describe in any
way to meet basic human or humanitarian standards. Those responsible have claimed that the workers had been retrenched, and that the “hostel” was only a halfway house where they awaited the renewal of their work permits.

Perhaps this is true. However, some workers claim, among other things, to have been deprived of their passports, and one says he paid RM12,000 for a job in Malaysia, only to have remained unemployed in the four months he has been here.

This too might be true. Our course is clear: We must first of all remove these workers from their present circumstances and the authorities must establish the truth of the matter and take
the appropriate actions.

The simple solution would be to repatriate these workers to their home countries as soon as possible. To be sure, costs will be incurred by those who employed them in the first place, but surely the value of human life and dignity must not be measured by the dull weight of mere

Do we not act well enough to condemn atrocities in Palestine and elsewhere?

Do we move sluggishly to mobilise aid for those deprived by natural disaster of food, shelter
and sources of income? So why then do we treat as invisible those by whose blood and sweat we build our country?

Why then do we treat people — men and women of flesh and blood that bleeds red the same as ours — as animals fit only for a cage? How dare we? A deputy minister has visited the two-bedroom flat, but to date no official action has been taken.

Thanks to the good graces of a nongovernmental organisation, help is on the way, but the
core issue has not yet been addressed.

We have laws in this country, do we not? So why don't we enforce them? - Malay Mail, 18/2/2009,
Free these 'prisoners' of convenience


nckeat88 said...

Talk is cheap. If you got better suggestion which won't drain our resources, please voice out. Don't just blame, give solution please. Just go to any dbkl maternity clinic , 40 percent are myanmese. They pay zero fee for prenatal care and delivery at public hospitals. It's our tax payer money.

marychuah said...

As far as I know, the burmese pregnant ladies have to pay at foreign rates for delivery at local hospitals. It costs between RM800 to RM1000++ IT IS NOT FREE!

nckeat88 said...

I worked in the hospital. All maternity care, in fact all healthcare provided to unhcr 'refugee' are FREE. Foreigner required to pay 800 to 1000 deposit, often they don't pay. Even if they pay, it was still highly subsidized by tax payer.