Sunday, September 1, 2013

MALAYSIA - MTUC: Act fairly in ops against illegal immigrants

 The Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) is concerned that the upcoming mass operation against illegal immigrants could end up victimising legitimate workers and foreigners on account of red tape.
According to MTUC labour advocate Peter Kandiah, while the organisation fully supports the Government’s initiative, there were people here who could be deemed illegals due to technicalities.
“There are hundreds if not thousands of workers who are waiting for the renewal of their work permits.
“They are in limbo and are at risk of being picked-up,” said Kandiah, who added that it takes up to three months to renew foreign workers’ permits, contrary to official claims that it takes just two weeks.
The Immigration Department had warned that those arrested during the operation starting this Sunday would be deported immediately to avoid overcrowding at its 12 detention centres.
Many of those now at risk are former illegal workers who sought amnesty under the Government’s Illegal Immigrant Comp­rehensive Settle­ment (6P) Prog­ramme in 2011, but whose work permits were up for renewal.
In addition, there are also those who were cheated by companies tasked by the government with registering immigrants under 6P.
In addition, there were foreign workers whose labour disputes with local companies were pending in the Industrial Relations Department or courts.
“Technically, these companies could terminate their work permits and these workers are automatically rendered illegal,” he said.
He said that the authorities should act fairly and address these issues to ensure that these foreign workers are not further victimised during the operation.
Meanwhile, Tenaganita executive director Irene Fernandez said that the crackdown reflected a failure of leadership as it did not address the systemic issues within the Home Ministry that had led to the immigrants becoming undocumented or being prevented from gaining legal status.
During the 2011 6P amnesty programme, Tenaganita received hundreds of reports that the government-approved companies had created their own “shell companies” and placed work permits under these companies, without providing actual employment to the workers.
“To date, Tenaganita has filed cases involving 55 outsourcing agencies affecting more than 5,000 workers with the authorities.
“In spite of hundreds of police reports which were made against these agents, none have been investigated, arrested or charged,” she said in a statement.
''''''Message to TAN SRI SYED MOKHTAR AL BUKHARY - Press Release ::: Press Report for DRB Group – Termination action against workers exercising their political rights is abhorred. 

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