Sunday, January 26, 2014

Migrant workers abused and tortured during crackdown in Malaysia? So claims the Philippines government?

The crackdown on allegedly 'illegal'(a better word is undocumented, as no human being is illegal) has started in Malaysia... and the RELA is involved again. Now the RELA, a volunteer corp, unlike the police and immigration personnel do not have the required training when it comes to arrest and detention, and most like abuses may happen...Rape is also possible, as did allegedly happen to an Indonesian woman as reported in Malay Mail on December 2013 [The report is below]

Some 10,000 enforcement personnel from the Immigration Department, Royal Malaysia Police and People's Volunteer Corps (Rela) took part in the nationwide exercise which started just after midnight after the three-month special programme officially ended yesterday.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said it was time for the government to act against errant employers who did not take the opportunity to register illegal immigrants under their tutelage seriously. - Malaysia Chronicle, 21/1/2014, CRACKDOWN on illegal immigrants begins

The Philippine government is alleging that legitimate workers are also being detained, and that too is most likely because any migrant without the proper documents are being arrested and detained. In law, the proper document would the original passport and the employment visa/pass  - and still many employers/agents/third parties hold on to these original documents like a 'dog lease' allegedly to prevent their migrant workers from running away. This is wrong in law as the passport and the visa/pass is personal to the worker. I am of the opinion that a migrant worker who gets arrested and detained just because the employer holds on to the passport should SUE such employers in court for damages for the loss of liberty, humiliation and suffering. Maybe, the Philippines government may assist one of its OFWs to do this... 

Detained in cramped unhygienic conditions - well, just take a look at even police lock-ups in Malaysia. The toilet is in the cell as well, and you have to do 'your business' shamelessly in front of your cellmates. In a crackdown like this, detention facilities will even be more cramped.

SUHAKAM(Malaysian Human Rights Commission) must immediately investigate these allegations.

See also earlier post:- 

If you deport migrants hurriedly, how can there be investigation, prosecution and conviction of those that bring in undocumented migrants?


Manila: Filipinos abused, tortured in crackdown

January 24, 2014 
The Philippines government claims that even legitimate workers are being rounded up and some being abused. 

MANILA: Even legitimate overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in Malaysia were not spared in the ongoing crackdown on illegal immigrants as tales of abuse and torture continue to be ignored by envoys there.

Because of this, Malacañang on Thursday directed the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to immediately mobilize its consular office in Malaysia to check on the reports.

“There is priority attention being given [to those reports] to find out the particular cases of undue and unjust harassment or harm [against Filipinos],” said Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr, reported Manila Times today.

He said Filipino officials in Malaysia will be asked to act on the reports.

The Manila Times reported Coloma as saying that he will personally call up Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Ed Malaya to know the condition of those who were affected by the crackdown.

“Specific [complaints] should require clarification,” he added.

Reports reaching Malacañang indicated that a group of legitimate OFWs was jailed along with undocumented ones in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. There, the Filipinos, including one architect who has been working legally in the country, were crammed in a small jail cell.

“They were treated like sardines and one could sleep only while standing or hardly sitting down,” said DZRH reporter Florante Rosales, whose brother was among those rounded up by Malaysian police.

Rosales said his younger brother, who was able to sneak in a cellular phone inside the facility, claimed that they were beaten up and made to confess on violations they did not commit.

“The DFA reacts very slowly. Our relatives are there legally and yet they were abused, counted among those undocumented,” Rosales told the Manila Times.

According to his brother, Rosales said the consul of Malaysia should be investigated and that President Benigno Aquino himself should crack the whip on embassy officials who have been remiss in their duties.

“They give no support to jailed Filipinos. Many are sick. Women are being raped by Malaysian guards,” he quoted his younger brother as saying.

Coloma vowed “prompt action from the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.”

“I am sure that it will be given priority attention by our ambassador,” he said.- Free Malaysia Today, 24/1/2014, Manila: Filipinos abused, tortured in crackdown

Cop detained over alleged rape of foreigner

December 13, 2013

The policeman, in his mid-20s, was arrested the same day. He had been with the force for seven years and is married with two children.  – AFP pic 
The policeman, in his mid-20s, was arrested the same day. He had been with the force for seven years and is married with two children. – AFP pic 

PETALING JAYA, Dec 13 — A policeman was arrested after an Indonesian worker alleged that she was raped by him at a budget hotel in Kajang on Tuesday night.

The lance corporal was said to have to have detained the woman, in her late 20s, during a raid at her house in Bandar Baru Bangi.

Her husband and their housemate were released after they produced identification papers but the woman failed to do so.

The policeman then arrested her and took her to a nearby police station.

There the woman claimed the policeman tried to solicit sex from her by threatening to put her in a lock-up if she did not give in to his demands.

In fear, the woman relented and was taken to a budget hotel where she claimed she was raped.

She lodged a police report at a different district police headquarters on Wednesday.

The policeman, in his mid-20s, was arrested the same day. He had been with the force for seven years and is married with two children.

Police are checking if he had any disciplinary problems.

Kajang police chief ACP Ab Rashid Ab Wahab said police were investigating the allegation made by the woman and refused further comment.- Malay Mail, 13/12/2013, Cop detained over alleged rape of foreigner

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Why was Azmin Ali even made a Director in PKNS? Was he also getting Director's allowances..RM?

There has been much reports about Azmin Ali and his directorship in PKNS - or rather that he is no more? 

Should ADUNs and members of political parties be appointed as Directors of government owned or linked companies? What is this some kind of fringe benefits or 'pay back'? What about the Directors Allowance - who gets it, this ADUN, MP or political party member? Something is very wrong - and even if appointed Directors, the 'Directors Allowance' should flow back to the State fact, the State should appoint as Directors its officers, and this is part of the duty and no extra allowances/monies as Directors. Governments must appoint a person with the required skill in the business of that company/business - not a politician...not a crony.

If the State needs to monitor some company, then the persons appointed must be MB or the relevant Exco member or an officer from the relevant State department. Need someone to keep an eye that there is no hanky panky - then maybe appoint a CSO rep?

The question to ask is why was Azmin even appointed as a Director in the first place. Was it because he was an ADUN from the ruling Pakatan Rakyat coalition? Was it because he was the No. 2(or No. 3) in PKR?

Now, a Director should be someone who has expertise in the works that should be undertaken by PKNS - not so much politicians(or former politicians) from the ruling coalitions?

I visited the PKNS website and looked at the Board members, and noting that the Selangor MB is the chair, I wonder why some ADUNs are there as well. Are they there to ensure that Khalid does not lead PKNS in a manner inconsistent with the objects of Pakatan Rakyat? 

Y.B. Tuan Iskandar bin Abdul Samad
Cempaka State Assembly

Y.B. Puan Teresa Kok Suh Kim
Kinrara State Assembly

Y.B. Tuan Mohamed Azmin bin Ali
Bukit Antarabangsa State Assembly
Source: PKNS Website - Corporate

Well, this Tuan Iskandar is an Engineer, and is the member of the State Exco in charge of  Housing, Building Management dan Urban Pioneers (Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Tetap Perumahan, Pengurusan Bangunan dan Peneroka Bandar.) - well, there is justification why he should be a member of the PKNS board.

Wait ..Teresa Kok Suh Kim is no more the ADUN of Kinrara - so this information of the PKNS website is dated....shame on you PKNS. Why is the PKNS website not updated?

In the outdated website, also in the Board is one from the Prime Minister's Department and 2 from the Ministry of Finance - WHY is this so?

Anyway, why was Azmin's (or even Teresa Kok's) special skill set that made him a person suitable to be appointed to the Board? Maybe DAP and PAS may want to keep an eye on PKNS given that the MB is from PKR?

Now, really Azmin being the number 3 in PKR should really be concentrating his energies and effort together with the other Pakatan Rakyat leaders to win GE14... He already has to do his work with his constituents, his party and he really should not be sitting in this and that Boards of companies...

Now, when it comes to the State owned or linked companies, the ultimate responsibility will fall with the Menteri Besar...who is answerable to the State Legislative Assembly and the people of Selangor. Being a Pakatan Rakyat Menteri Besar, he is also finally accountable to collective leadership of Pakatan Rakyat...

But does Pakatan Rakyat have such a Leaders Council that monitors all the different Pakatan Rakyat Menteri Besars? If it still does not, it is time for it to have such a Council, whose task is to ensure that the PR Menteri Besars/Chief Ministers do not do things contrary to the PR policy...

When a person has been appointed as Menteri Besar or Chief Minister, there should little interference on how he implements his mandate to govern save for matters that go contrary to PR policies...certainly should not interfere on petty things as to who gets appointed to the Board of PKNS or not...

 If not happy with the Menteri Besar or Chief Minister, it is time for the ADUNs in the State to remove him/her and replace with another...

Besides the backbenchers in the Legislative Assembly, the Pakatan Rakyat collectively, or the individual parties on their own should be the 'check and balance' against abuse, mismanagement, cronyism, etc...

Azmin should continue to highlight the failings of the Khalid's administration - he is a backbencher (is he the leader of the Backbenchers Club in Selangor Legislative Assembly?) ...and to play that role of 'check and balance', he must stay independent refusing 'handouts' or 'benefits' from the MB ... To date, there seem to be little particulars given about the alleged failings of the MB...tell us all clearly what Khalid is doing wrong? The people have a right to know... Hopefully the PR Backbenchers in the State Legislative Assembly is not just like the BN Backbenchers in Parliament - i.e. no criticizing of the government, and no supporting of opposition points made even if good..and blindly voting for all government proposals for law, etc..

Would it be Pakatan or the BN that will act first to remove the 'State Bans' on the usage of 'Allah', etc

Najib is right in that these are State laws - which of the State Legislative Assembly would be able to repeal or amend. So would the Pakatan Rakyat states (Penang, Selangor and Kelantan) be the first to table proposed amendments to remove these 'State Bans' on non-muslims using the words Allah and a string of other Arabic words... or would it be the BN governed States who will make the first move. 

Naturally, we will expect the Pakatan Rakyat governed States to make the 1st move given the position that Pakatan Rakyat has already taken on the 'Allah' issue..

Najib as Prime Minister also showed great weakness in his position on the 'Allah' issue. Being UMNO President and BN leader, one would have expected him to come out strongly saying that they would be true to the '10-Point Agreement' - and would take steps to amend all State laws (and Federal laws) to be in line with the said Agreement...

I expected Najib to be better on this issue...remembering that Malaysia is a multi-religious country, and the fact that the usage of term Allah affects all Malaysian Christians and Sikhs..., and may all other moderate Malaysians... This exclusive usage of certain Arabic words, also Malay words, to just people of a particular religion is odd.

Would this also mean that the singing of some State anthems which have these words also is a crime? It is all a mess...

See also earlier posts:-

Is the Selangor MB in control of JAIS? More evasions by Khalid and PR when what we need is real leadership..

Anwar, Mahfuz, PR and Selangor govt evasion of responsibility ... on 'Allah' issue in Selangor is pathetic?

6:48PM Jan 24, 2014

Najib: 'Allah' ban stands in states with such laws

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak today finally broke his silence on the 'Allah' controversy, saying the ban on non-Muslims from using the word will stand in states which have such provision under law.

Najib added that the 10-point solution which allowed bibles to use the word 'Allah' was also subjected to such enactments.

"The (Umno) supreme council takes note of the 10-point agreement agreed upon by the cabinet, but the 10-point agreement is subjected to federal and state laws.

"That means in states where there are such enactments, it means it (10-point solution) is subjected to the enactment at the state level.

"But there are no such enactments in Sabah and Sarawak, therefore they can continue as usual," he told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur after chairing the Umno supreme council meeting this evening.

He added that the Agong’s declaration that non-Muslims cannot use the word ‘Allah’ was done in his capacity as the Kedah sultan thus it was confined to Kedah which also has an enactment banning non-Muslims from using the word ‘Allah’.

As such, Najib said there was no need for any scare tactics on the matter.

“There is no need for any parties to intimidate other parties,” he said.

When asked if this meant that the state enactments superseded the 10-point solution, Najib replied: “It’s not supersede, in the 10-point agreement, there is formal recognition in one of the points that it must be based on federal and state laws.”

The point Najib referred to is found in point number 9, which states: “Beyond the Bible issue, the government wishes to reiterate its commitment to work with the Christian groups and all the different religious groups in order to address inter religious issues and work towards the fulfilment of all religious aspirations in accordance with the constitution, taking into account the other relevant laws of the country.”

Najib defends policies amid criticism

On a separate matter, Najib said the Umno supreme council also reiterated its support for the government’s economic policies as it was producing results, with a strong economic fundamental recognised internationally.

“If we look in terms of economic growth, inflation and the stock market, the economy is in a convincing state but we do not deny we are facing price hike problems and are working on it,” he said.

Najib said the cabinet committee chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is awaiting the results of a cabinet meeting on how to reduce the rakyat’s cost of living.

He added that the price hikes could also be due to supply chain problems where wholesalers have disproportionately increase their prices to retailers as well as the moonson season.

The statement comes following criticism from elder politicians such as former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad and former finance minister Daim Zainuddin, who warned BN will lose power if the present policies which are causing price hikes continue.- Malaysiakini, 24/1/2014, Najib: 'Allah' ban stands in states with such laws

Friday, January 24, 2014

If you deport migrants hurriedly, how can there be investigation, prosecution and conviction of those that bring in undocumented migrants?

We hear about crackdown, arrest, detention, conviction, whipping and deportation of undocumented migrant workers all the time - but at the same time, we do not here about the prosecution and conviction of those who brought in these undocumented migrant workers or those that employ these workers. Is the Malaysian government even interested in taking action against these agents and employers?

If yes, then there really need to be time for a thorough investigation - but how can Malaysia investigate if they arrest so many and deport them so fast. How many investigation officers are doing this investigations now - and how many employers/agents/third parties are being persecuted. 

Where is your witnesses when it comes to a trial against these agents/third parties that brought in undocumented workers - or employed these undocumented workers? Well, if Malaysia is SERIOUS about prosecution, Malaysia should have speedy trials and ensure that these 'undocumented migrants' remain in Malaysia and is able to attend court as witnesses for the prosecution. It would unjust to charge someone and rely on just statements made by migrant workers, who are not called as witnesses - just because they have been deported...or the prosecution lacks the real capacity to bring them back as witnesses. Of course, the accused must be accorded the right to cross-examine witnesses of the prosecution... Of course, the Judges must have the ability to view these witnesses as they gave their evidence - for the Judge to evaluate personally whether the said witness is a liar lacking credibility or really a honest credible witness.

So, don't arrest and deport them who would be witnesses ....The present practice of the Malaysian government shows that Malaysia really is not at all concerned about the 'undocumented migrant situation' - by the lack of prosecution of those that bring in these undocumented migrants...and so the problem remains and more and more undocumented migrants will come in because of the 'same persons' who are facilitating the entry of these undocumented migrant.

Maybe, there really is no interest in a trial or prosecution because in court the truth may come out that some people in government themselves may be involved... With the submarine and navy, how is it that many can so easily enter Malaysia across Selat Melaka? Is there corruption involved? 

The other issue that Malaysia needs to consider is that there will be no undocumented migrants unless there is a demand for workers over here in Malaysia - noting that almost all these undocumented migrants are coming for work and income - Maybe time to save money on these 'massive crackdown' where the cost of housing a detainee per day is RM35 - maybe, we should allow for free movement of migrants to Malaysia to seek employment - and the onus be placed on the Employer to register immediately the migrant worker he/she employs. Migrants be allowed to enter using social visit passes, and if they find employment, and employers register them, then they can be accorded the relevant work pas/permit, etc - and if they cannot find employment before their social visit pass expired, they will have to leave.

Who really are the employers of these 'undocumented migrants' - it really is the small or micro businesses - not so much the big companies/businesses, and as such maybe scope of employers/businesses that can legally employ migrant workers should be reviewed. Thailand uses this method with migrant workers...whereby further, when a migrant worker loses his/her job, a certain time frame, say 60 days, are given for the migrant worker to get another legal job. 

We are just expending too much resources and monies on these 'crackdowns' and as such a serious review needs to be done on the way Malaysia is doing this.

Further, it is a grave injustice when documented migrants are also arrested - and this happens because employers/agents hold on to the migrant worker passports/visa/employment pass, and the arresting persons will arrest and detain all those that are not able to show these original documents. 

Note also that some migrant workers verily believe that they are 'legal' - these are victims of employers/agents/3rd parties that have cheated them. Some have with them copies of their documents - even with that official immigration stamp (which may be a forgery) - hence these migrants are but victims, deceived by unscrupulous persons who will never be caught or prosecuted if Malaysia is just interested in arresting, processing and deporting...

How many of these workers came into Malaysia as documented migrants - and now are undocumented in fact, although the worker themselves may believe that they are still 'legal' or documented. Have a look at the Reuters video on the crackdown - and see images of those handing over photocopies of their documents, looks like they do believe that they are 'legal'...

I must also say that crackdown during the Chinese New Year period is also not good - especially when it affects Malaysian employers of Chinese ethnicity - will they be able to rush to detention centers during CNY or will they wait until after the holidays - hence unnecessary and unjust detention of documented migrants...

So, like in past years again a massive crackdown on migrant workers...and noting that all this is really ineffective, Malaysia really need to re-evaluate the manner of employment of migrant workers. It must be direct employment of migrant workers by the owners/operators of workplaces that require workers - end the involvement of third parties especially the 'contractors for labour'. Employers may use 'agents' - but these would be the employer's agents and any liability is ultimately on the employer(the principal).

Below, a news report from The Ant Daily, but I would say that their headline should have said "Prosecute the agents/persons that bring in undocumented or who supply them to employers". Why blacklisting a company or a business means little for the same people just would form a new company or business and continue to do wrong... If you are going to blacklist, blacklist the persons(agents/employers) and all businesses that they are involved in. Ah...but do not forget the presumption that all is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. No one deserves even to be 'blacklisted' just because the authorities believe they are guilty...


Blacklist illegals! Blacklist errant agencies too, Home Ministry told

Alyaa Alhadjri

PETALING JAYA: Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's announcement that more than 2,400 undocumented migrants were arrested in the first 24 hours of the nationwide 6P Integrated Operation has raised questions over follow-up actions against parties found guilty of bringing them into Malaysia. 

The figure is expected to grow as the crackdown continues under Phase 2 of the operation which was first launched in 2011. 

Labour activist Charles Hector Fernandez said arrests and detention of the undocumented migrants at 15 immigration depots must be followed up by a thorough investigation on the journey from their country of origin to Malaysia. 

This, he said, involves identifying the responsible parties from the time of the migrants' arrival to the processes leading to their employment in Malaysia, or resulting in them being "undocumented".

Zahid had reportedly said the illegal immigrants would be deported to their home countries within seven days but Fernandez questioned whether that was enough time to conduct the necessary investigations.

"This is something which the authorities must answer. Once you have arrested thousands of people, how long will it take to conduct and conclude an investigation?"

"The investigations must also be able to push for a criminal charge against third-party agencies who brought the migrants into Malaysia (if any), put them on trial and resulting in a conviction for the offence," Fernandez told theantdaily on Jan 21.

Fernandez said, in most instances, a conviction can only be achieved if there are enough credible witnesses to testify against the agencies and he claimed that this will not happen if the detained immigrants are deported within seven days.

"If the government is serious to resolve the problem of undocumented migrants, witnesses (among migrants under detention) must be protected so they can testify on how they became undocumented," he stressed.

While Zahid had said that employers found guilty of harbouring undocumented migrants will be charged under the Immigration Act 1959/63, he did not state any possible actions against errant third-party agencies. 

As such, Fernandez urged the government to disclose the latest number of convictions for relevant charges, including under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act 2007.

According to statistics from the Home Ministry's Anti-trafficking in Persons and Anti-smuggling of Migrants Council (MAPO), 591 cases were investigated between 2008 and 2012, with 797 arrests made. 

On Zahid's statement that the deported migrants will be "blacklisted" and barred from returning, Fernandez said the government should create a similar list of blacklisted agencies to avoid more employers and workers from falling victim to their unscrupulous actions. 

When contacted, labour lawyer A Sivanesan told theantdaily he previously handled cases of workers from India who claimed that they had paid up to 100,000 rupees to Indian agents after being promised of what turned out to be non-existent jobs in Malaysia.'

"There are no agencies here (in Malaysia) that can bring in illegal workers. 

"These people (undocumented migrants) were brought in using social visit passes through local (Malaysian) agents who collaborated with their counterparts in India or Bangladesh," said Sivanesan, who is also the DAP state assemblyman for Sungkai.

There were also reported incidents of foreign workers being hired in a different sector from their approved permits, believed to be due to a significant difference in levy charges for the various sectors. 

"If these workers are arrested, most of the time they cannot tell (the authorities) who their Malaysian agents are," Sivanesan added. 

The Perak DAP vice-chairman, however, said that he welcomes the government's crackdown on illegal workers as their large numbers have adversely affected opportunities for local workers. 

As of Jan 20 this year, one day before the launch of the nationwide multi-agencies operations involving some 10,000 officers, it was estimated that there were more than 2.3 million undocumented migrants in Malaysia. - The Ant Daily, 23/1/2014, Blacklist illegals! Blacklist errant agencies too, Home Ministry told

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Will the AG charge the employer for the death of the Nepali worker in Pokok Sena, Kedah? Will there be an autopsy to determine cause of death?

The police classified it as 'sudden death' - but when a worker dies, really there is a need for an autopsy - the cause of death is relevant - was it caused by by a disease/condition that is connected to his/her working environment/condition, and in the case of a migrant worker the accommodation conditions  provided by the employer? There is such thing known as 'occupational safety and health' - and if the death is caused by employment conditions, then there is liability for the employer, and compensation for the worker. If it is linked, then there may be need to improve the 'protection' for other workers so that they do not die or suffer some ailment caused by the working environment. So much investigations need to be done by various departments ...and if this is the 3rd death, then we may be looking also the failure of the relevant Ministry/Department and also the employer, should we not?

Was the employer holding on to the migrant worker's passport and employment pass, documents needed before government hospitals/clinics would admit and treat foreigners in Malaysia - likewise the migrant worker. So, would it not be the blame of the employer if the worker with breathing difficulty dies because of delay getting medical treatment? 

Now, most migrant workers do not have their own means of transportation - so, when employers house their migrant workers in places far from hospitals/clinics, it is the employer's responsibility to provide vehicles to immediately transport sick migrant workers to hospital/clinics for medical treatment - now, if the employer failed to provide this essential service or transport that could 'rush' their sickly migrant workers to a doctor... naturally, the employer may be responsible for the death.

Company will provide a vehicle and driver on 24 hour standby at the main hostel to facilitate the emergency transportation of worker to hospital for any emergency treatments.- this is what JCY HDD Technology Sdn. Bhd  has agreed to do, in respond to a similar situation

This JCY good practice must be followed by all other employers who use migrant workers, in fact it should be a standard practice(or requirement) for all businesses situated more than 5 Km from the nearest hospital, who maybe employ more than a 100 workers. See the JCY Press release after they resolved the issue with their migrant workers, which also started with a death...

Press Release
In response to the recent foreign workers issues at JCY HDD Technology Sdn. Bhd.’s sub-contractor hostels at Kawasan Perindustrian Tebrau IV, Johor Bahru, both the company and the foreign worker representatives have met this afternoon and the issues had been resolved amicably with the workers returning to work immediately.

Among the key issues highlighted by the foreign workers, the management had in conjunction with the sub-contactor for the hostel, shall take remedial actions as summarized below:

1. Company will provide a vehicle and driver on 24 hour standby at the main hostel to facilitate the emergency transportation of worker to hospital for any emergency treatments.

2.The company had agreed to revise and standardize the pay structure of the workers.

3. The criteria for the deduction of salary in relations to worker coming to factory late shall be revised and improved.

4. On top of the normal workmen compensation benefits, the company had agreed to improve the contribution to the beneficiary of the worker.

The management of the company stressed that JCY had always aim to provide a conducive environment for the workers to work and stay. The company will continue to work closely with the hostel’s sub-contractor to take care of the workers welfare and JCY truly valued the contribution made by the workers and staffs to the success of the company.

Photo of company & foreign worker’s representatives after the conclusion of the meeting at JCY’s Tebrau office.

Should you need any additional information or clarification, kindly write Source:- 

Hence, there is a need for a thorough investigation, and questions need to be answered

1- Was the death caused by the negligence or actions/omissions of the employer? If yes, will the Public Prosecutor charge the employer for the death? Will actions be taken by the Ministry of Human Resources?

2 -If  the death is caused by reasons of employment conditions (maybe the lack of personal protective clothing/equipment, etc) - what is the relevant Ministry going to do about this? Will legal actions be taken against the employer? Will the employer be required to improve working conditions to increase safety and health protection of their workers? Wonder whether a proper autopsy was done with regard the earlier deaths ... 

3. If the cause of death is because of the employer's actions/ommissions, then the deceased worker's family would have a legal case against the employer and will be entitled to compensations and damages ... remember even migrant workers do have spouses, children, parents and dependents

4. Did the employer provide for 24-hour driver and vehicle which can transport workers to hospitals in cases of emergency? Really, this should be made a legal requirement - sad to see workers die just because of delay caused getting them to the hospital...

5. Did the death have anything to do with the standard of worker housing - really Malaysia must have laws that stipulate the minimum standards of housing for workers.


See also:- 

Did Malaysian Government investigate alleged deaths of workers at Besgrade Products Sdn Bhd?

Workers urge employer to get sick worker healthcare - employer calls police - worker dies - media call it 'Riot"?

Remembering the JCY's 5,000 Workers Protest 2010 - maybe the biggest workers' protest in Malaysia for many years


'Probe death of three Nepalis at sawmill'

PSM has lodged a police report, urging investigations into a timber company in Pokok Sena, Kedah, whose alleged negligence led to the death of at least one of three Nepali workers there.

According to central committee member Rani Rasiah (left), the third death on Jan 11 may have been avoided had emergency medical care been provided.

Instead, three of the 200 workers who had gathered outside their employer's residence at the sawmill, urging medical assistance for him, were arrested by the police, she said in a statement.

“They urgently needed to send a fellow-worker, who was having difficulty breathing, to hospital. As there was no public transportation they had to seek their employer’s help.

“The workers were anxious as, just a month earlier, two Nepali workers with similar symptoms had died. Their deaths were classified cryptically as ‘sudden death’.”

Instead of rushing the worker to hospital, their employer contacted the police who dispersed the workers and made the arrests. In the meantime, the ailing worker died.

In its police report, PSM accused the timber company of “criminal negligence” for not providing medical aid to the worker, which resulted in his death.

The party also sought a probe into the cause of all three deaths, to determine if this is linked to exposure of chemicals at the workplace or at the workers' hostel, or food consumption.

“This tragic and totally unacceptable episode raises questions on the irregularities and inadequacies of the departments involved in the procurement and management of migrant workers in Malaysia,” Rani said.

“Why did the police arrest the friends of the victim and not the employer whose inaction led to the worker’s death?

“Was the Department of Safety and Health aware of (the situation) and did they investigate the cause of breathing difficulties and sudden death among the workers?”

She also questioned if autopsies were carried out to determine cause of death, and if the workers' families were compensated.

Malaysiakini has contacted the company and is withholding its name pending its comments.

Workers’ complaints

At a meeting with PSM, the workers had complained about inadequate safety measures at the factory, and claimed that there were no facilities for workers to move in and out of the factory or hostel.

According to a report in The Star, 200 Nepali workers demonstrated at the sawmill in Pokok Sena on Jan 11 for two hours before being dispersed.

Kota Setar Traffic and Public Order chief Mat Akhir Jaafar confirmed that three men were arrested to facilitate investigations.

He also said that the three deaths have been classified as ‘sudden death’. - Malaysiakini, 22/1/2014, 'Probe death of three Nepalis at sawmill'

Monday, January 20, 2014

Did Malaysian Government investigate alleged deaths of workers at Besgrade Products Sdn Bhd?

see related earlier post :- Workers urge employer to get sick worker healthcare - employer calls police - worker dies - media call it 'Riot"?

Migrant workers’ deaths: Government should act against manufacturer

The three deaths in December 2013 at a plywood manufacturer seem to have been a well-kept secret, and it is highly likely, given the latest death, that no one was held accountable, writes Rani Rasiah.

migrant workers protest
Migrant workers protest over deaths of colleagues

About 8.00pm on 11 January 2014, Nepali workers of the plywood manufacturer Besgrade Products Sdn Bhd in Jabi, Pokok Sena, Kedah, began gathering outside their employer’s residence to urge him to send a fellow worker who was having difficulty breathing to hospital. 
The workers were anxious as, just a month earlier, three Nepali workers with similar symptoms had died. Their deaths had been cryptically classified as ‘sudden death’.

Rushing the worker to the hospital or calling an ambulance would have been the expected course of action but unfortunately that didn’t happen. Instead of calling the ambulance, the employer apparently contacted the police. 

The police arrived, dispersed the workers whose numbers had by then grown to near 200, and arrested three of the workers. In the meantime, the worker who had complained of shortness of breath died (The Malaysian Insider, 12 January 2014).

This news item appeared as almost a footnote in our mainstream newspapers. The Malaysian government prides itself on its superior business-friendly environment. For employers, it is great news, but for workers it means low wages and an erosion of rights. Under this arrangement, workers lives are cheap – and those of migrant workers even cheaper. 

The PSM lodged a police report of criminal negligence against the plywood company for allegedly failing to get medical help for the ailing worker, thereby leading to another death. 

The report asked for a police investigation into the cause of the deaths – if they were linked to exposure to chemicals or poison at the workplace or conditions at workers’ hostel – and what action had been taken by Besgrade Products Sdn Bhd after December to prevent further deaths. 

This tragic and totally unacceptable episode raises questions about the apparent irregularities or inadequacies of the departments involved in the procurement and management of migrant workers in Malaysia. 

Why did the police arrest the friends of the victim and not the employer whose inaction led to the worker’s death? The police themselves acknowledged that the workers had gathered peacefully to get help for their friend, thus implying there was no reason for arrest. And so the arrest of three Nepali workers appeared to be unjustified and arbitrary, and merely seemed to confirm the apparently unwritten rule that the police must side with the bosses under any circumstances. 

Was the Department of Safety and Health aware of and did they investigate the cause of breathing difficulties and sudden death among the workers of Besgrade Products? A study would determine if the deaths were linked to the work environment or nutrition or some other cause.

The Immigration Department and Human Resources Ministry are involved in deciding requests for the supply of migrant workers by employers. What was their action on Besgrade Products Sdn Bhd after the deaths in December 2013? 

The three deaths in December at Besgrade Products seem to have been a well-kept secret, and it is highly likely, given the January death, that no one was held accountable. This death too may be swept under the carpet if the victim’s family is quietly compensated and if the company and relevant departments make arrangements to send home workers who fear they may be future victims.

This must not be allowed to happen. Besgrade Products Sdn Bhd, which according to its website, is a major supplier of plywood to both domestic and international markets should be investigated for what alleged inhuman negligence, which contrasts with its hollow-sounding tag line ‘A model plywood manufacturer with a caring heart.’ 

The relevant government departments should investigate and take action under the law to serve as a warning to all employers to respect and value the lives of their workers. - ALIRAN, 20/1/2014, Migrant workers’ deaths: Government should act against manufacturer

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Will the Pakatan Rakyat governed states amend laws prohibiting non-Muslims using words like Allah, Kiblat, Haji, etc ?

The people choose Pakatan Rakyat to govern the State, but the problem seems that Pakatan Rakyat is just too scared to lead and govern.... this is what is coming out in the handling of that 'Allah' issue, etc... What makes it worse is the very fact that PR stance on this Allah issue was most clear, as had been stated since 2008 and again GE13...

The question now is that whether Pakatan Rakyat will repeal/amend laws (maybe even State Constitution) that stand contrary to the PR position...

But, when it is time to act, Pakatan Rakyat is dilly dallying... it looks like PR is trying to shift the responsibility of making a decision on others... Najib, Putrajaya, National Fatwa..., Cabinet???

BAD LAWS  - well, what you do to it when you come into power is to get rid of it fast.... it is stupid to just take the position that we will not repeal(or amend) these bad laws but will just not USE it... it is lame. That exactly is what Anwar Ibrahim, the Opposition Leader in Parliament and de facto leader of Pakatan Rakyat is saying....He is wrong....just amend/repeal such laws that are against your stand...

Blaming UMNO? It really is so lame - anyone can ask that the law is is their right. The solution is for the PR-led government in the different States to do the correct thing and get rid of such bad laws...or amend it.

And when you amend that State laws that 'disallow non-Muslims from using certain words like Allah' - there will surely be much protestation from certain quarters...maybe led by UMNO (or the BN)..maybe by others. Maybe even some may even resign from PAS, PKR and DAP.... That is always to be expected...but leaders, mandated by the people in the last GE13 on an issue which the people were fully aware what Pakatan Rakyat's position was, should now courageously and with confidence push forward to make the necessary changes in the laws that govern their State --- better to do it now in early 2014 when GE14 is years away...

I wonder whether Anwar, PKR and the rest of Pakatan Rakyat is trying to get Guan Eng and the Penang government to take the lead...No, Selangor is the state affected most now ...and Khalid must be brave to table the required amendments at the next sitting of the State Legislative Assembly of Selangor... and maybe make an announcement now that this is what they will be doing... 

See earlier posts:- 

Is the Selangor MB in control of JAIS? More evasions by Khalid and PR when what we need is real leadership..

Anwar, Mahfuz, PR and Selangor govt evasion of responsibility ... on 'Allah' issue in Selangor is pathetic?

Anwar: ‘Allah’ row a political conflict

January 17, 2014

(MM) – A worsening row over “Allah” spreading across the nation was political issue rather than a conflict of faith, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today.

Speaking on the tussle over the Arabic word that has also affected Penang, after the state Mufti insisted that “Allah” was part of a list 40 words barred to non-Muslims by a 2004 syariah law, the opposition leader called the move another instance of the row stirred up by Umno.

“Frankly, it is not a problem in Penang, it is just being used and exploited by Umno to create an issue out of it,” he said in a brief press conference at a meet the people session in Sungai Lembu here.

The New Straits Times daily reported last Saturday that the Penang mufti had prohibited non-Muslims from using 40 Arabic words, including “Allah”, “iman” (faith) and “nabi” (prophet), under the Penang Islamic Religious Administration Enactment 2004 and based on a fatwa (edict) that was reportedly declared in 2010.

Lawyers have since questioned the enforceability of syariah laws on non-Muslims, whom they say are not bound by Islamic law.

Today, the Permatang Pauh MP also expressed concern that the “Allah” row was being fanned to unhealthy levels that could threaten peace in the country.

He accused Umno of creating a siege mentality amongst Muslims by instilling in them the fear that the sanctity of their religion was being threatened in the “Allah” row.

The PKR adviser reiterated Pakatan Rakyat’s stand since 2010 that the word “Allah” may be used by non-Muslims as long as it is not abused.

He urged all parties to be mindful of religious sensitivities and to refrain from condemning each other’s religion in order to be able to reach an amicable solution.

“What we must do now is to resolve the whole ‘Allah’ controversy first,” he said.

A University of Malaya’s Centre for Democracy and Elections (Umcedel) released yesterday showed that continued use of the “Allah” row for political capital was not bearing any fruit, but was instead increasing the risk of inter-ethnic tension in the country.

Tempers continue to simmer in the worsening row over the Arabic word that has now spilled beyond the legal case between the government and the Catholic Church over its right to use “Allah” in its weekly newspaper Herald.

The issue worsened after the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) said it would begin enforcing a state enactment that it insists bars non-Muslims from using “Allah”.

The ongoing legal dispute is still pending before the Federal Court, which is set to hear arguments from both sides on March 5 before deciding on whether it will hear an appeal by the Catholic Church. - Malay Mail, 17/1/2014, Anwar: ‘Allah’ row a political conflict

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The common unifying language for Malaysian Christians have been Bahasa Malaysia for a long time now...

The use of Bahasa Malaysia by Christians in Peninsular Malaysia is really not just due to the increase in numbers of Sabah and Sarawakian Christians here in the Peninsular. For a lot of us in the Centre and East Coast of the Peninsular, and other smaller towns, the common unifying language for a long time has been Bahasa Malaysia - not English - the ligua franca. Many Christian communities do not have the numbers to have services in just one language, so we have services using all the 4 different main languages - English, BM, Chinese and Tamil ...and guess what, the common language which may have been English is today BM (the language that everyone understands and speak)...In fact, in 2014, I would have to say that the main language of Malaysian Christians is Bahasa more English.

The current problem in Selangor is a State matter, and the solution lies with the Menteri Besar and the democratically elected reps in the State; but somehow...

Be it, Pakatan Rakyat or BN, State Leadership cannot just evade their responsibility for actions/omissions of a State Department or its officials, more so when they are acting in accordance with the very State laws that were enacted by the State Legislative Assembly, who now do also have the powers to repeal and/or amend such laws... 

See earlier posts:- 

Is the Selangor MB in control of JAIS? More evasions by Khalid and PR when what we need is real leadership..

Anwar, Mahfuz, PR and Selangor govt evasion of responsibility ... on 'Allah' issue in Selangor is pathetic?

And, we must also not allow this issue to distract us from the other major issues that affect all Malaysians...


Migration led to use of 'Allah', not propagation

ANALYSIS Although the 10-point solution allows Christians to use, import and print the Bahasa Malaysia Bible in Peninsular Malaysia, it is trumped by enactments in 10 states which prohibit the use of 34 words and phrases by non-Muslims.

These words, including 'Allah', appear in the Bahasa Malaysia and Iban language Bible, rendering the printer and distributor of these copies liable to criminal action.

Likewise, churches that hold services in Bahasa Malaysia and other indigenous languages, in which the word 'Allah' is used, also run the risk of having religious authorities banging on their doors.

As the ban is on publication, printing and uttering these words in a public speech, it is not a stretch of imagination that members of the congregation could run afoul of the law, too, and face a fine of up to RM1,000 if found guilty.

The National Evangelical Christian  Fellowship (NECF), which has a Bahasa Malaysia commission, has declined to provide figures for just how many Christians in the peninsula worship in Bahasa and indigenous languages for fear of backlash.

Formed after the Bahasa Bible was restricted only to Christians in 1981, the NECF is part of the tripartite Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM).

Sources within the federation say the number is “in the thousands”. Indeed, it has been reported that the Evangelical church, Sidang Injil Borneo, has at least 5,000 members in the peninsula.

The website of the Anglican Diocese of West Malaysia, a member of Protestant branch of the CFM, lists at least 25 churches in the 10 states which hold service in Bahasa Malaysia and Iban in locations as varied as big city Johor Bahru to sleepy Taiping and small town Jeli.

Migration from East to West

Those familiar with the situation say that the growth of number worshipers seeking Bahasa services has nothing to do with propagation, but is due to greater migration from East to West Malaysia.

In Terengganu, where less than half a percent of the local population are Christians, several Catholic churches in Kemaman, Dungun and Kuala Terengganu hold Bahasa services to cater to the growing East Malaysian student population who flock the public universities there.

In Johor, where at least four churches provide Bahasa services, Johor Menteri Besar Khaled Nordin announced the appointment of Sabah and Sarawak native chiefs for the state to deal with the growing community.

There are about 40,000 Sarawakians in Johor, mostly Iban, while there is no estimate for the Sabahan population in Johor.

Church leaders who spoke to Malaysiakini under condition of anonymity, said there are also Indians, Chinese and Orang Asli in the peninsula who opt to worship in Bahasa as they cannot read in other languages and are less confident in English.

“The Indians and Chinese, especially, are those who went to government schools and cannot read and write Tamil or Chinese. They prefer Bahasa and there are now two generations like this.

“To cater to them, churches in the peninsula have been providing Bahasa services since the 1970s, some as early as 1960s,” one source said.

Such services continued despite the prohibition as “there were already so many people affected and it would not be fair to them to stop services”.

A way out?

“Maybe they (religious authorities) did not know about it before,” he said as an explanation of why no action has been taken before this.

One possible reason for the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department’s (Jais) pro-activeness in acting on the matter, compared to its counterparts in other states, is the sultan's decree where the enactment was reiterated.

However, lawyer Syahredzan Johan said that the sultan's decree, like the 10-point solution, is not legislation and as a constitutional monarch, the sultan, too, is bound by the law.

So is there a way out?

Yes, said Syahredzan, but only by changing the anti-propagation state enactments - a method which is already proving too testy.

A proposal by three Selangor DAP assemblypersons for the legislative assembly to review the Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988 has been met with backlash from Muslim NGOs and DAP's Pakatan Rakyat partners PKR and PAS.

With the DAP holding 15 seats in the House, the trio is unlikely to get the 29 votes for the simple majority needed to amend the bill even if they choose to table a Private Member's Bill.

Alternatively, those charged under Section 9 of the enactment for using prohibited words could challenge its constitutionality.

Bar Council president Christopher Leong, in a statement responding to the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) raid, said that Section 9 is ultra vires as it does not require proof of propagation, although the preamble of the enactment states the law is to stop such activities.

He said the enactment is also pursuant by Article 11(4) of the federal constitution - the highest law in the country - which empowers the state to curb freedom of religion but only against propagation.

Article 11(3), he added, states that all religions have the right to self-regulate.

However, it is uncertain whether or not the BSM officers, who are being probed under the enactment, will challenge their arrest on Jan 2 on grounds of unconstitutionality.

In the meantime, Christians living in 10 peninsula states who have used the word 'Allah' in worship for generations, run the risk of prosecution regardless of what Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his cabinet say. - Malaysiakini, 9/1/2014, Migration led to use of 'Allah', not propagation

MAS just does not understand or respect worker & TU rights - revokes suspension of some NUFAM members?

When workers and trade unions are not allowed to criticize their employers, it is very wrong. Are they expected to only PRAISE bad employers and be silent about all their employers' wrongdoings? 

Of course, in any worker struggle for justice, it would be inevitable that they would be seen to be criticizing their employer .... In this case, as reported, these 'criticisms' were in a closed FB group - of, course workers can and should be always able to criticize their employers, highlight the injustices, ....more so in a closed forum. 

The right to publicly picket is a recognized right how can criticizing an employer be even considered a misconduct that is actionable...The UNION president was suspended and terminated for a statement he made in his capacity as the UNION president - but action was taken allegedly against him because as an employee he criticized MAS? or its Officer/s? - he was suspended, and terminated (a few weeks later) even without a Domestic Inquiry...and MAS, is a government linked company and Malaysia's National Carrier..It is good news that MAS has revoked the suspension of 9 out of 10 who were suspended for criticizing MAS in a closed FB forum - now revoke the suspension of the remaining 1, and immediately reinstate the President of NUFAM.... 

See earlier posts:-

Malaysian Airlines terminated the President of National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (NUFAM), and now suspends 7 others

ITUC makes it 43 groups calling on MAS to revoke suspension on Union president -

43 Groups Joint Statement (3/12/2013) - MAS Must Immediately Revoke Suspension of Union President Ismail Nasaruddin - Worker Right Issue Should Be Resolved By Negotiations Not ‘Union Busting’ 

Now, this National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (NUFAM), after being registered, sought recognition from MAS but MAS refused - hence there was a need for a 'secret ballot' to be conducted and the qualified employees voted in favour of NUFAM and it got recognition - but MAS shamefully is now allegedly challenging the recognition of NUFAM in court

MAS files judicial review on Nufam’s secret ballot

Crew suspended for criticising MAS reinstated

Malaysia Airlines System (MAS) have reinstated nine of the 10 cabin crew who were suspended for allegedly criticising the airline in a closed National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam) Facebook forum.
Nufam spokesperson Mahmood Abdullah said that three were released from suspension a fortnight ago while six more were released from suspension yesterday.
“The crew members got calls from the MAS human resources department to take their (warning) letters except for one (female flight attendant) who remains suspended.

“We should know the verdict for (the flight attendant) soon,” he said in an email to Malaysiakini.

Mahmood said that the crew who were released from suspension were warned “not to do it (criticise the company on Facebook) again”.

In an earlier statement, Nufam, which was formed in January 2012, slammed MAS for using “aggressive tactics to scare Nufam members” against joining an upcoming picket planned for  next week.

“MAS appears to wage war against our union members and we will not hesitate to call for industrial action if MAS prevails this form of threats and tactics against our members,” it said.

It added that MAS is “continuing to bully the union members over their (MAS) own failures to resolves workers' problems”, following the sacking of Nufam president Ismail Nasaruddin.

Ismail, a chief steward, was sacked after calling for MAS chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya's (left) resignation, in a news article where he lamented the relatively poor working conditions of MAS cabin crew.
In response, MAS denied engaging in union busting and said that it has the right to take discplinary action against employees in accordance to what is stated or implied in the employment contract.

It added that all its collective bargaining, including for cabin crew, is done through the Malaysia Airlines Systems Employee's Union (Maseu) and not through Nufam.

On Jan 4, Nufam conducted a petition drive among MAS cabin crew to reinstate Ismail, but petitioners collecting signatures at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport were ousted by airport authorities. - Malaysiakini, 14/1/2013, Crew suspended for criticising MAS reinstated