Friday, May 15, 2009

Malaysia is No. 2 - 82 Bangladeshi migrants died of 'heart attack' this year??

Malaysia is number 2 - as far as sending back dead migrant workers to Bangladesh...who died from heart attack...

Around 44 percent of the Bangladeshi migrant workers who returned home in coffins between January 1 and May 9 this year, had died of cardiac arrests in Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian countries, raising serious questions about the living standards of migrant workers in those countries.

Cardiologists said acute tension caused by uncertainties of income and unhealthy food habits may lead to deaths by heart attacks, while labour rights activists are emphatic that mental tension caused by low income, debts, and lack of medical care abroad lead to such deaths.

A total of 904 bodies of migrant workers returned home from different countries between January and May, 391 of whom died of cardiac arrests, 268 in workplace accidents, 62 in road accidents, 115 of other sicknesses, and the remaining died due to various other reasons, according to official sources at Zia International Airport (ZIA).

Among the 391 deaths by cardiac arrests, 119 were in Saudi Arabia, 82 in Malaysia, 72 in the United Arab Emirates, 35 in Kuwait, 16 in Oman, 10 in Qatar, 10 in Bahrain, 7 in Singapore, and 2 were in Lebanon the major destinations abroad for Bangladeshi labourers...

...Al-Amin Nayon, executive director of International Migrants Alliance Research Foundation, said it is surprising that many deceased workers aged between 25 and 40 had been medically fit at the time of leaving home, but died in a few months of getting to their workplaces abroad.

Job seekers pay too high a price to go abroad for jobs, but in many cases they can neither recover the money to repay the loan sharks nor can they help their families back home, which make their lives miserable in faraway lands, Nayon added.

Deaths of many such workers overseas in heart attacks have become a matter of public concern in recent times, especially since job cut has become a regular phenomenon due to the ongoing global economic recession.

Rezaul Haque, 40 of Faridpur, is one such victim who died of a cardiac arrest. His body returned home on May 8. He had gone to Dubai 18 months ago, but sent only Tk 40,000 since then, said his sister Mita.

"My brother did not have any job for many months initially. Later, he worked for a company other than the one that originally hired him," Mita said adding that her brother had to spend Tk 2.20 lakh for going to Dubai, most of which had been borrowed at a staggering annual interest rate of 96 percent, and has to be paid in monthly instalments.

Another Bangladeshi worker Ikhtiar, 30, of Naogaon, who died in a Malaysian detention camp early April, had been allegedly tortured by the special immigration police of that country, because he along with some others could not show work permits as those had been retained by their employers.

Mahesh Sarker of Tangail died in late 2007 following months of unemployment and abuses in Malaysia.

There are unimaginable exploitation of workers abroad, but the authorities have done really a little to address the grave problem, said Al-Amin Nayon who returned from Malaysia in late 2007 following abuses by his employer.

"The number of untimely deaths will continue to increase unless the government takes strong measures immediately to ensure migrant workers' jobs and welfare, instead of only being proud of the remittance they send back home," Nayon added. - The Daily Star, 13/5/2009, 44pc of them died of cardiac arrest

Really, the time has come to investigate these deaths..

Remember SUHAKAM, our human rights commission did some time back inform Malaysians that about 1,300 migrants died in detention centres ...

ABOUT 1,300 illegal foreigners have died during detention in the past six years, Malaysia Nanban quoted Malaysian Human Rights (Suhakam) commissioner Datuk N. Siva Subramaniam as saying.

He said many of them died in immigration detention centres, prisons and police lockups because they were denied medical treatment at the right time.

He proposed that a doctor and a medical assistant be appointed in each detention camp and prison which should have the necessary facilities to transfer sick prisoners to hospitals during an emergency.

He said detention camps now have appointed doctors who make regular visits.

He also said that Suhakam had submitted a memorandum to the Government proposing the appointment of a doctor to visit police stations to monitor the health of suspects held in lockups. - Star, 18/12/2008 - 1,300 foreign detainees died due to neglect

Malaysian government must start doing something about healthcare at places of detention...and also healthcare for migrants in Malaysia..

We may need to review the policy of charging migrants a high fee to access government hospitals and clinics..

Healthcare is a fundamental human right - and it should be accorded to all persons freely (if not cheaply..)

We do not want persons in Malaysia to die just because going to see the doctor and get treatment was too expensive.

Employers pay a very large levy every year when they bring Migrant workers in. Migrant workers contribute to our economy, and there should be no reason why Malaysia cannot provide the same affordable healthcare that they provide Malaysians...

Why charge foreigners so high? When Malaysians are in a foreign land, we do not want to be in a situation that we cannot get healthcare because foreigners have to pay so much more...

Wonder whether it was the BN government healthcare policy and practice of Malaysia that has made Malaysia number 2...

I am sure that the Malaysian government allowing some employers to deduct from worker's wages levy and other expenses that the employer incurred in bringing in/employing a migrant worker was a contributory factor increasing tensions...causing cardiac arrests...Thankfully, the government stopped this on 1/4/2009 but 2 weeks later went back to the good old ways. Only new workers employed after 1/4/2009 will not have their wages deducted by the employer to recover the levy he paid the Malaysian government...The evil practice continues for all other workers but only in with regard to certain (not all) employers...

See also earlier posts:-

SUHAKAM: "...denial of medical attention.. a serious violation of that person’s right to life..."

Open Independent Inquiry into all deaths in custody ...allegation of Bangladeshi 'tortured to death' by detaining authorities.

1 comment:

nckeat88 said...

He said many of them died in immigration detention centres, prisons and police lockups because they were denied medical treatment at the right time.

He proposed that a doctor and a medical assistant be appointed in each detention camp and prison which should have the necessary facilities to transfer sick prisoners to hospitals during an emergency

I am proposing that we chould sent the bill to Charles Hector to provide the medical care for these people. We don't even have enough medical care for our own people let alone wasting our resources on them. Just deport them back to myanmar or to USA.