Monday, January 5, 2015

MALAYSIA::No Registered Nepali Female Workers In Malaysia? - MTUC President

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) president Mohd Khalid Atan stressed that there are no registered Nepali female workers in the country, even saying that he is not aware of their existence.

“There are no registered Nepalese female workers in Malaysia in the manufacturing and serving sector...not even as domestic workers. I am not aware of this,” he said.

He said this, seemingly shocked in response to a published interview by Nepalese newspaper, Nagarik News on 28 December 2014 with H.E. Dr Niranjan Man Singh Basnyat, Nepali Ambassador to Malaysia who had openly criticized the working conditions for Nepalese workers here.

In the interview, the ambassador also discussed the fate of Nepali female workers, which he described as “going back to the slave era” and that “Malaysia is hell” for them besides saying that these workers are facing a real threat of “being robbed of their dignity”.

He added: “Maybe the Nepali ambassador was referring to women’s issues in general with regards to women foreign workers in Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam.”

Although Mohd Khalid refuted these claims, he admitted there are a lot of abuse cases besides human trafficking, “flesh trade” cases which include these women being trapped into becoming GROs involving female foreign workers from other countries.

“It is happening,” he told Malaysian Digest, when asked about the abuse of foreign workers.

This is not a shocking revelation, amidst some gut-wrenching cases where foreign workers were not only abused, but also tortured, the latest being a 23-year-old Indonesian maid Meriance Kabu, who was tortured and sexually assaulted leading to her alleged assailant, Ong Su Ping Serene, 47 to be charged with attempted murder and causing grievous hurt by pulling out four of the maid’s teeth using pliers.

He added: “It (abuse cases) has been published in the mass media but I don’t think that these cases are becoming so serious...except maybe some isolated cases.”

Still, according to Mohd Khalid, Malaysia is in Tier 3 of Human Right Watch List with regards to abuses.

“When it comes to abuses, we are in a really bad condition. Due to this, Malaysia is obliged to respond to these cases immediately and prompt action should also be taken,” he explained.

Giving a ballpark figure, he assumes that there are 100 complaints annually, which includes abuses, human trafficking and forced labour from about 2.9 million legal foreign workers (FWs).

These complaints, he added, will then be referred to International Labour Organization (ILO).

When contacted by Malaysian Digest, ILO Triangle project national coordinator Anni Santiago said the international organization work with local partner MTUC in Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Johor in ensuring that Malaysia complies to international standard.

ILO has recently launched a “Practical Guidelines for Employers on the Recruitment, Placement, Employment and Repatriation of Foreign Workers (FWs) in Malaysia in partnership with the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF).

When asked about the Nagarik News article and whether there are any enforcement on the guidelines to prevent abuse cases, she was also unaware of what happened to Nepali female workers and has this to say:

“The guidelines are to assist employers for the management of foreign workers employed in factories enterprises and companies to use when foreign workers are concerned. In terms of enforcement, the Labour Department under Ministry of Human Resources is responsible,” she said.

However she added: “As the guidelines was just recently launched, there are no further discussions on the guidelines, even in terms of enforcement. Further discussion with employers and stakeholders will be done in January.”


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