Friday, June 19, 2009

It's wrong for employers to hold worker's passports

It is against the law for employers to hold on to their worker's passports...

Now, the Minister of Human Resources has made it clear again that ...

Employers holding on to the passport of their foreign maids must surrender the travel document if and when the maids ask for it.

Human Resource Minister Datuk S. Subramaniam said employers did not have the right to refuse the request from the maids for any reason, especially when they wanted to quit or leave the country.

“Failure to surrender the passport on the request will result in a RM10,000 fine under amendments to the Employment Act 1955,” he told a press conference after meeting Indian Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal here yesterday, Employers who decide to hold on to the passports would be responsible for renewing their maids’ work permits, he said.

On the proposal to make it mandatory for employers to grant one day off in a week to their maids, he said it was already in the law, and not something new.

He also said the day off could be on any day agreed upon by employers and their maids.- Star, 18/6/2009, Subra: Bosses can’t refuse requests for travel documents

Employers hold on the passport of migrant workers - just like a dog, they hope that holding on to the passports, will be like having an invisible 'lease' on their workers, so that they will prevent migrant workers 'running away'.

It also allows them to be exploit workers - and any resistance from the workers will be visited by the threat that they will get them arrested...and will not come 'free' them until they agree to be 'exploited' ... and by the witholding of the passports, employers can do this..

After all, when the police and the dreaded RELA stops a migrant, they are only interested in seeing the ORIGINAL passport - all the photocopies and other ID Cards are of no use. And, if they are not able to produce the original passport, they will be arrested, detained....and sometimes even deported. [Remember, not all employers are good - some really take their time doing the needful to get their wrongly detained worker released....]

Without the passport, the worker also suffers great tension ...the continuous fear of being arrested - and this is a GREAT INJUSTICE.

Try going out around town without your NRIC - and everytime you see the police, you panic - what if he stops me, and want to see my MyKad - what will happen? Will I be arrested? Will I be mistaken for an undocumented worker and sent to some Detention Camp...

Let's not forget what happened 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

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