23rd March 2024: Stranded foreign workers (alleged victims of criminal syndicate trafficking Bangladeshi workers for forced labour in Malaysia) nabbed after complaint against employer

23rd March 2024: Stranded foreign workers (alleged victims of criminal syndicate trafficking Bangladeshi workers for forced labour in Malaysia) nabbed after complaint against employer

23rd March 2024: Stranded foreign workers (alleged victims of criminal syndicate trafficking Bangladeshi workers for forced labour in Malaysia) nabbed after complaint against employer

Just a day after the last batch of 55 foreign workers who faced forced labour in Malaysia lodged a labour case and a police report against their employer for unpaid wages, three came under investigation for criminal intimidation and were remanded for four days starting yesterday.

Original Source: Malaysiakini by S. Vinothaa – 23rd March 2024

See also: 13th March 2024: FMT – Bangladeshi migrants file police reports after falling victim to job scam/criminal syndicate trafficking workers from Bangladesh for forced labour in Malaysia

See also: FMT 23rd March 2024: PSM calls on Sim to look into arrest of Bangladeshi workers

This allayed earlier concerns about their whereabouts, which prompted their case worker, PSM workers’ bureau coordinator Sivaranjani Manickam to lodge a missing persons report. 

However, the irony of the situation was not lost on her. 

“I had to file a missing persons report to discover that the workers were actually in the same police station where I filed the report,” Sivaranjani said, feeling exasperated.

As police investigate the allegations made against the workers by their employers, it is notable that foreign workers in Malaysia have faced challenges in lodging complaints against their employers for job scams and trafficking allegations.

PSM workers’ bureau coordinator Sivaranjani Manickam

Last December, 171 migrant workers facing forced labour in Malaysia from Bangladesh marched some 10km to the Bayu Damai police station in Pengerang, Johor, to lodge a report against their agent who failed to secure employment after three months in the country.

The Immigration Department detained the group before they could lodge the report. They have since been released from custody.

Sivaranjani’s search for the workers started at the Sentul district police headquarters (IPD) where the workers lodged two police reports. 

The Sentul IPD connected the workers’ names to Dang Wangi district police headquarters, where she found the workers. 

“In Dang Wangi, they made calls and asked around before informing me they did not know where the workers were but when I lodged a missing persons report, I was directed to a different floor where I found them,” she said. 

The three Bangladeshis recruited to work in the construction sector are being investigated under Section 504 of the Penal Code for criminal intimidation and Section 323 of the same law for voluntarily causing hurt. 

“The workers allege that one of their co-workers who is loyal to the employer had started an argument with the trio late at night, which then escalated into a physical altercation. 

“At 3.37am, I received a message from one of the workers claiming that the employer had handed over the three workers named in the message to the police,” said Sivaranjani. 

The Centralised Labour Quarters on Jalan Rahmat in Kuala Lumpur

The altercation occurred at the Centralised Labour Quarters on Jalan Rahmat in Kuala Lumpur where the workers were residing. 

Collin Arvin Andrew, who represented the workers at the remand hearing, said the workers were also being investigated under Section 6(1)(c) of the Immigration Act 1959/63 for not having valid documents. 

He contended that the allegation was peculiar, given that the employer, responsible for the workers’ documentation, escorted them to the police station.

Cases filed against employer a day before in relation to forced labour in Malaysia

On March 12 and 20, 55 Bangladeshi workers lodged police reports against Beaks Construction Sdn Bhd and Suria Harmoni Resources Sdn Bhd alleging criminal violation of their passports being withheld, they were not deployed for work, and they were unpaid for seven months. 

Their labour cases lodged at the Kuala Lumpur Labour Department on March 18 and 20 alleged the same violations. 

A visit to the Beaks Construction office revealed that employees from both companies shared the same premise. However, the directors were not in the office and Malaysiakini is trying to reach them for a response.

According to the Beaks Construction website, the company has four ongoing construction projects developing high-rise residences and houses. 

The company had completed a sports complex for the Selayang Municipal Council. 

Other completed projects include a floating restaurant in Malacca and a secondary school in Bandar Sri Damansara.

Visas expiring in May

One worker who arrived on June 30 last year has two more months before his Temporary Employment Visit Pass expires on May 31. 

He has not worked a day since he arrived in Malaysia and according to documents sighted by Malaysiakini, he signed a three-year contract with Suria Harmoni Resources.

If successful, and based on just their basic salary, the workers’ claim for unpaid wages amounts to RM577,500.

However, Sivaranjani acknowledged that even the labour department was giving them the runaround and didn’t anticipate a resolution to their case before the workers’ work visas expired.

“For example, the workers’ contract shows that Suria Harmoni Resources was incorporated in Malacca and the labour officers are trying to refer our case to that state. 

“However, the company’s registration and business address on the SSM report is in KL,” she said. 

In January, Human Resources Minister Steven Sim had pledged to hold directors and managers accountable for labour violations by invoking Section 101(b) of the Employment Act, thereby dismantling the protective barrier afforded by corporate entities. 

Following the incident involving the 171 foreign workers, Sim said the ministry has also adopted several new approaches to prevent a repeat of such violations.

Companies that are found violating the law would have their incoming migrant workers quota frozen and be put on a blacklist.

FMT 23rd March 2024: PSM calls on Sim to look into arrest of Bangladeshi workers

Original Source: FMT by FMT Reporters – 23rd March 2024

The party also wants the human resources minister to ensure that they get their backdated wages and new jobs.

PETALING JAYA: Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) has called on human resources minister Steven Sim to look into the case of three Bangladeshi workers who were arrested after lodging reports with the police and labour department earlier this month.

PSM said the workers were among the 55 who filed a police report against their employer for not providing them work, withholding their passports and not paying their salaries.

They are also among the 14 who filed claims for unpaid wages with the labour department.

“While there seems to have been no action taken against the employer, the police have arrested the three men (on Thursday) under Section 506 and Section 323 of the Penal Code for criminal intimidation and for voluntarily causing hurt,” said PSM’s head of workers bureau, M Sivaranjani, in a statement.

“We believe these are trumped-up and fabricated allegations to silence the remaining workers, who now live in fear of arrest and further intimidation.

“The human resources minister has to look into this and ensure that the workers get their backdated wages and new employment.”

She said the ministry should ensure that the workers are protected and that their rights and welfare are safeguarded.

Sivaranjani also called on the police to release the three workers, who were remanded for four days on police bail yesterday, and to ensure that their passports are returned to them.

FMT has reached out to Sim, his aides, and Dang Wangi police chief Noor Dellhan Yahaya for comment.

On Wednesday, immigration department director-general Ruslin Jusoh warned employers it is against the law for them to withhold the passports of their foreign workers, a common practice among companies to prevent their labourers from job-hopping.

There have been numerous cases recently of Bangladeshi workers who were duped into coming to Malaysia for non-existent jobs.

Sim and home minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail previously said employers who recruit workers without offering them jobs could face legal action under the Immigration Act 1959/63 for holding their workers’ passports, and under the Employment Act 1955 for failing to pay them.

They may also face charges under the Employees’ Minimum Standards of Housing, Accommodations and Amenities Act 1990 for failing to provide proper accommodation, and will be investigated under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act (Atipsom) 2007.

Additional Reading: 

23rd March 2024 The Star: Half a million vulnerable and irregular foreign workers disappear from Malaysia’s migrant worker regularization programme as deadline looms in one week

22nd March 2024 Protomalo: Malaysian labour market set to be closed again due to syndication

20th March 2024: 93 duped/detained Bangladeshi migrant workers in Malaysia have jobs now, says immigration DG

20th Mar 2024 Business Standard: Bangladeshi workers’ plight in Malaysia: Coalition of migration orgs demand action against recruiting agency syndicate

FMT 19th Mar 2024: Plantation firms wary of ‘forced labour in Malaysia’ concerns in hiring 200,000 surplus foreign workers/criminal syndicate victims, says minister – indeed he’s right, who wants to take on destitute foreign workers often with US$4-7000 in debt?

17th March 2024: FMT – Malaysia’s treatment of migrant workers utterly shameful

New Age 16th Mar 2024: Bangladeshi government must mend issues to keep Malaysia job market open

15th March 2024 SCMP: Malaysians deride minister’s idea to rebrand palm oil workers as ‘specialised harvesters’

14th March 2024: The Star – Opinion: When work in Malaysia is a con – the criminal syndicate trafficking Bangladeshis for forced labour in Malaysia

FMT 13th March 2024: Bangladeshi migrants file police reports after falling victim to job scam/criminal syndicate trafficking workers from Bangladesh for forced labour in Malaysia

SCMP 12th Mar 2024: Malaysia to slash migrant workforce amid intolerance, job scam crisis involving Bangladeshi labourers

FMT 11th Mar 2024: Duped migrant jobseekers, victims of alleged criminal syndicate trafficking Bangaldeshi workers to Malaysia for forced labour, face mental health issues, says Malaysian ex-MP

Daily Star Editorial 10th March 2024: Migrating to a life of unemployment

Daily Star 10th Mar 2024: Distressed in Malaysia – Thousands of Bangladeshi migrants jobless, unpaid or underpaid 

Malay Mail 9th Mar 2024: Activists warn rushed 31st Mar visa deadline in Malaysia could force firms to source foreign workers unethically (includes my commentary on the abrupt policy change)

9th Mar 2024 The Star: No extension of May 31 foreign worker deadline

NST 9th Mar 2024: Keep recruitment agencies in a list rather than shutting them down, govt told   

See also NST 9th Mar 2024: Sourcing migrant workers takes time, ‘not like buying cattle’, employer groups tell govt

NST 8th Mar 2024: Eliminate middlemen from migrant worker recruitment process, govt told

Star 8th Mar 2024: May 31 deadline for foreign workers recruitment under recalibration programme remains, says Saifuddin

Malay Mail 8th Mar 2024: Saifuddin Nasution: No more agents for Bangladeshi worker recruitment

6th March 2024: Malaysian government halts foreign worker entry into the country from 31st May 2024 (final calling visa/VDN approval issuance deadline 31st March 2024) as migrant worker management crisis worsens and victims of gross exploitation, unemployment and destitution rise significantly

6th March 2024: Business Times –Sudden change in foreign worker policy by Malaysian government leaves industry in limbo

6th Mar 2024 Edge: Foreign worker intake deadline changes will leave manufacturers in the lurch, says FMM

6th Mar 2024 FMT: Industry players shocked by foreign worker policy change, says FMM

5th March 2024: NCCIM urges govt to review unused foreign worker quota deadline

4th March 2024 URGENT call for donations/support: joining forces with HOPE SELANGOR to fill gap in providing humanitarian aid and assistance to victims of criminal syndicate trafficking Bangladeshi workers into forced labour in Malaysia

3rd March 2024: Concern on repatriation of potential trafficking and forced labour/abuse victims under Malaysian Migrant Worker Repatriation Programme Commencing 1st March 2024 (Statement by Andy Hall, Independent Migrant Worker Rights Specialist)

3rd March 2024: Ensure ‘crooks’ do not gain from repatriation programme, says activist

2nd March 2024 The Star: A chance for illegals to go home

2nd March 2024 The Star: Sarawak immigration extends RTK2.0 until June

EDGE 1st Mar 2024: Home Ministry moves to free up foreign workers quota, unused allocations to be cancelled from June 1

1st March 2024 FMT: 600,000 foreign workers urged to take easy exit home

1st March 2024 The Star: Use repatriation programme to return home, 600,000 illegals told

1st March 2024 MalayMail: Saifuddin reminds employers to get their foreign worker affairs in order before March 31

1st March 2024: Duped Bangladeshi worker (another victim of alleged criminal syndicate trafficking Bangladeshi workers for forced labour in Malaysia) dies while trying to go home

RTV Online 1st Mar 2024: Expatriates die without getting work in Malaysia (google translate)

28th February 2024 The Star: New programme lets migrants off the hook without being prosecuted

27th February 2024: SCMP – Malaysian firm probed for human trafficking after 93 Bangladeshi workers found abandoned

26th February 2024: Statement by Independent Migrant Worker Rights Specialist Andy Hall on Joint KDN, KSM and MAPO Operation to Rescue More Destitute and Stranded Victims of the Alleged Criminal Syndicate Trafficking Workers from Bangladesh for Forced Labour in Malaysia (includes updated stories on the ‘Cheras’ case)

25th February 2024 The Star: Businesses want foreign worker hiring freeze lifted

Business Standard 18th Feb 2024: Bangladeshis pay much higher than peers (US$4500++) to reach Malaysia job market – syndicates, impunity and systemic forced labour

Malay Mail 8th Feb 2024 – Activists: Duped Bangladeshi workers in Malaysia sought RM2m in unpaid wages, but only got half(first reported compensation settlement for Bangladesh Malaysia organised crime syndicate victims being trafficked for forced labour in Malaysia)

See also: Malay Mail 8th Feb 2024: HR Ministry hails mediation outcome despite claims duped Bangladeshi workers were short-changed

See also: 8th February 2024: FMT – Bangladeshi workers win RM1mil in unpaid wages

See also: 7th Feb 2024: Bangla Tribune – Job trap in Malaysia, 733 Bangladeshis in salary uncertainty

See also: 6th February2024: Benar News – Malaysian Labor Court orders employers to pay Bangladeshi workers RM1 million in unpaid wages – first reported compensation settlement for Bangladesh Malaysia organised crime syndicate victims being trafficked for forced labour in Malaysia

31st January 2024 NST: Govt to implement Migrant Repatriation Programme starting March

31st January 2024 The Edge: Cabinet agrees to extend freeze on hiring of foreign workers, says home minister 

31st January 2024 FMT: Migrant repatriation programme set for March 1

31st January 2024 The Star: Migration Repatriation Programme to commence on March 1, says Home Ministry

See also: 16th January 2024: FMT – 751 duped Bangladeshi migrant workers in Pengerang case file RM2 million claim for unpaid wages resulting from situation akin to forced labour, stranded and destitute on arrival in Malaysia (includes comments by Andy Hall)

See also: 6th Jan 2024: FMT: Away from families, in debt, and jobless in a foreign land

See also: 6th Jan 2024: New Strait Times – Company that promised 171 Bangladeshi workers non-existent jobs blacklisted

See also: 5th Jan 2024: New Strait Times – MCA: Don’t just fine employers, hold ministry accountable as well for unemployed foreign workers

See also: FMT 30th Dec 2023: Migrants being duped into Malaysia because of govt’s failure to curb criminal trafficking syndicates and organised crime network, says activist Andy Hall

See also: 30th Dec 2023: New Strait Times – Recruitment agencies accused of deception as Bangladeshi victims speak out on exploitation and fear

See also: 29th Dec 2023: Malay Mail – Set up probe on exploitation of migrant workers and new ministry to manage their affairs, Suhakam tells Putrajaya

See also: 28th Dec 2023: New Strait Times – ‘Company involved in 171 Bangladeshi migrant worker scandal not licensed to recruit’

See also: 28th Dec 2023: FMT – Malaysia has entered ‘slave labour’ territory, says ex-MP – Charles Santiago calls for specific set-ups to manage migrant workers 

See also: 27th Dec 2023: New Strait Times – MTUC demand govt, MACC probe into corrupt recruitment practices of foreign workers

See also: 27th Dec 2023: New Strait Times – Strict action against employers, agencies neglecting 171 Bangladeshi workers: MEF

See also: 27th Dec 2023: FMT – Bangladeshis duped over jobs are victims of human trafficking, says rights group

See also: 26th Dec 2023: FMT – Azalina wants urgent probe into 171 Bangladeshis duped over jobs

See also: 26th Dec 2023: FMT – High recruitment fees make greedy agents bring in workers, says group

See also: 25th Dec 2023: FMT – Probe recruitment agents, MACC told after arrest of Bangladeshis

See also: 25th Dec 2023: FMT – Human resources ministry comes to the rescue of Bangladeshi workers

See also: 25th Dec 2023: FMT – Cops nab 171 foreigners protesting lack of jobs in Johor

See also: 25th Dec 2023: The Star – Foreigners march to police station to complain about agent, get hauled up by Immigration Dept instead

22nd November 2023: MALAYSIAKINI – Full probe of migrant worker syndicate, Malaysian HR Minister Sivakumar says

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

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

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

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

23rd October 2023: RESPONSE FROM THE MINISTRY OF HUMAN RESOURCES IN REGARDS TO AN ARTICLE BY MR. ANDY HALL/HR Minister – strict actions against employers who fail to comply with Malaysia’s labour and immigration laws

20th October 2023 Malaysiakini: Long-awaited foreign worker management report declassified in Malaysia (my comments added)

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

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

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

12th July 2023: excellent final offering from a 4 part account of atypical modern-day slavery, forced labour and abuse perpetrated against a group of migrant workers from Bangladesh in Malaysia, written concisely and passionately by former MP from Malaysia Charles Santiago

10th July 2023 – Migrants in Malaysia: Hundreds left stranded in recruitment scam

11th April 2023: In Malaysia, migrants say they are in limbo after promised jobs fall through

25th April 2023 Sarawak Post: Malaysia And Modern Slavery – ‘PM Must Take Control’

23rd April 2023: REUTERS: Malaysia probes cases of migrant workers left jobless, without passports (with background summary and articles included in my blog post)

17th April 2023 Daily Star: Approval For Labour Recruitment – Malaysia’s transparency questioned by Bangladesh

13th April 2023: Stranded Bangladeshis endure ‘hell’ in Malaysia – The group of 35 now wants to go home after being left without jobs for months

11th Mar 2023 MALAYSIAKINI: Malaysian HR Minister Sivakumar – Zero checks for migrant quota approvals only until March 2023

13th Feb 2023: My Perspective published by FMT – ‘Time to address corruption in Malaysia’s migrant worker management’

10th Jan 2023: ‘Bangladeshi recruitment cartels’ grip must end’ – Govt now acting on billion-ringgit ‘human trafficking syndicates’

1st Oct 2022 Malay Mail: PM Anwar says Putrajaya to Ease Rules on Hiring Migrant Workers

7th July 2022 The Vibes: How Bestinet courted controversy over migrant worker recruitment – MACC’s raid on IT company once again casts spotlight on alleged hiring monopoly

June 2022 The Star: Human Traffickers made RM2 billion through syndicate smuggling in over 100,000 workers from Bangladesh

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