26th November 2023: Malaysian human rights commissioner wants task force to probe migrant worker quota fraud

Malaysian human rights commissioner (Suhakam) wants task force to probe migrant worker quota fraud

26th November 2023: Malaysian human rights commissioner (Suhakam) wants task force to probe migrant worker quota fraud

In the face of a migrant trafficking crisis with implications of official complicity, Malaysian human rights commissioner Suhakam has urged the government to set up a high-level task force to investigate the scandal.

Original Source: malaysiakini by S Vinothaa – 26th November 2023

He said allegations that fake contracts were used to get migrant worker import quotas, as reported in Malaysiakini’s exposé this week, is a clear indication that government officers were complicit in the fraud.

“Only a task force comprising top-ranking officials from key enforcement and regulatory agencies can effectively eradicate deeply ingrained corruption in migrant management, unimpeded.

“Corruption in migrant management has been festering for a long time, and syndicates collecting huge sums of money from workers, forging documents to get quotas but don’t provide jobs is indicative of a serious problem at a higher level.

“We are talking about human lives – men and women – who are being trafficked into the country and, shockingly, government officials could be complicit in this alarming situation,” he said, stressing the need for urgency to address the matter.

Ragunath added that the government should uphold human rights in line with United Nations Human Rights Council standards, as Malaysia is a member of the council.

Following the expose, Human Resources Minister V Sivakumar pledged to conduct a full investigationinto the migrant quota syndicate revealed in the report.

However, Ragunath argued that the ministry lacked the necessary resources to undertake such an inquiry.

Bureaucracy is an excuse in Malaysian human rights corruption

The Human Resources Ministry and Home Ministry both manage migrant worker recruitment through an inscrutable process that was also red-flagged in the Auditor-General’s Report 2022, published on Wednesday.

“The bureaucracy within the migrant application process only serves as a breeding ground for corruption, where unscrupulous individuals and syndicates can exploit the system for financial gain. 

“Entrusting the sole responsibility to the Human Resources Ministry to resolve the migrant crisis is also impractical owing to its resource constraints.

“It would be a challenge for the Human Resources Ministry and the Home Ministry to investigate themselves effectively,” he said. 

A Malaysiakini report revealed how fake contracts purported to be worth millions of ringgit with non-existent companies were used to get quotas to import migrant workers.

In total, a syndicate obtained quotas to recruit 1,625 migrant workers via a group of six companies.

The report exposed how lax vetting by the government caused hundreds upon hundreds of workers to arrive in Malaysia only to find there were no jobs waiting for them.

The Nepal Embassy in Malaysia said it, too, was baffled by the lack of jobs.

The documents, having been vetted by three ministries before reaching the embassy, bore the approval of the Malaysian government – a validation the embassy said it acknowledged and trusted.

The embassy added that it had received more than 100 complaints of unpaid wages every month from this year’s arrivals alone and it is treating the cases as labour violations.

Ensure transparency for Malaysian human rights

Having concluded a countrywide tour of stakeholder meetings, Ragunath said he received reports from officers who encountered documented migrant workers arriving at the airport with no employers to receive them. 

“Almost daily, workers who arrive at KLIA are stranded because their employers or agents fail to show up to receive and clear them from immigration.

“This is a persisting challenge for the Immigration and Labour Departments. 

“Who are their employers and why has no action been taken against them or the agents?” Ragunath questioned. 

Last month, Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail announced that the country was experiencing an oversupply of 120,000 migrant workers in the service sector alone.

However, he attributed the substantial oversupply to permit abuse. 

Ragunath said the lack of interest in investigating the issue at a higher level, identifying shortcomings in the system, and prosecuting those responsible was disconcerting. 

“In the meantime, employers who have a real need for migrant workers are kept waiting in a mire of bureaucratic processes. 

“There needs to be a new system that will ensure transparency, accountability, and affordability,” said Ragunath.

FMT 22nd Nov 2023: Foreign workers’ quota approval did not use one-stop centre, says A-G’s report

The report takes aim at the management of migrant workers through the Foreign Workers Centralised Management System.

Original Source: Free Malaysia Today by FMT Reporters – 22nd November 2023

9th Nov 2023: Malaysia The State of the Nation: Flaws of foreign worker system laid bare in declassified report

The independent investigation commissioned by the Pakatan Harapan government in 2018 revealed systemic corruption, rent-seeking activities as well as abuse and mistreatment of foreign workers in Malaysia.

Original Article: The Edge Malaysia by Izzul Ikram and Esther Lee – 6th November 2023

See also: Recruitment agencies not allowed to outsource hiring of foreign workers, says HR minister

See also: Group says poor immigration system, corrupt recruitment agencies cause of Nepali undocumented migrants in Malaysia

Additional Reading:

See more: 5th Nov 2023: Malaysian HR Minister pledges nationwide operations concerning the plight of Bangladeshi migrant workers in Malaysia following Andy Hall’s complaint letter to the OHCHR

See more: 31st Oct 2023: The Daily Star – Andy Hall writes to the UN on Bangladeshi migrants’ dire situation in Malaysia

See more: 30th Oct 2023: FMT: Andy Hall refers stranded Bangladeshi workers’ plight in Malaysia to UN Human Rights Council

See more: 26th Oct 2023: Malaysian PM Office’s Minister Azalina says govt to complete national action plan for business and human rights by 2024 amid global spotlight on systemic migrant forced labour in the country

See more: 20th Oct 2023 Malaysiakini: Long-awaited foreign worker management report declassified in Malaysia

See more: 19th Oct 2023: Malaysia facing huge excess of 1/4 million migrant laborers

See more: 2nd Oct 2023: Exploitation of migrant workers continues unabated in Malaysia

See more: 21st Sep 2023: Malaysian government has 15 source countries for foreign workers – Comments by Andy Hall

See more: FMT 20th Sep 2023: Rate of abused Bangladeshi workers’ entry into Malaysia worrying, says migrant rights activist Andy Hall

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