Sunday, April 10, 2022

Bosses Indiffrence To Welfare Of Migrant Workers, A Case Of Insufficient Enforcement?

 Press Statement By Malaysian Trades Union Congress Penang Division - Bosses Indiffrence To Welfare Of Migrant Workers, A Case Of Insufficient Enforcement?

Nauseating odour, rats and cockroaches infested living conditions, folded cardboard boxes for a bed, poor ventilation and leaking pipes - not a case of life in a slave camp but a reality in today's Malaysia!

That was the case when our Labour Department (Jabatan Tenaga Kerja) inspected the housing conditions of migrant workers in Bandar Tun Razak, Cheras recently.

Shocking, though, was the discloure that the employer’s representative took the position that the company has fulfilled it's responsibility to provide accomodation but had no time to monitor living conditions leaving it to the workers to resolve issues they face!

We, in MTUC Penang Division, outrightly condemn the nefarious attitude of the employer involved. To the authorities we say invoke the full extent of the law as such employers do not deserve mercy for their inhumane treatment of their migrant workers. We are also of the view that such uncaring employers should be black listed from seeking to recruit migrant workers.

Our country, having ratified the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Protocol 29 related to the ILO's forced labour convention, has a duty to enforce the Minimum Standards Of Housing, Accomodation and Amenities Act, 1990 (Act 446) without fear or favour. Though that ought to be so, we are given to understand that, with about 400 labour inspectors nationwide the Labour Department (JTK) lacks the manpower to undertake extensive inspection of housing conditions let alone adherence to employment related labour standards. Needless to state that, under such circumstances the incidences of absuses and violation of Act 446, would continue to exist on account of insufficient enforcement.

MTUC Penang Division, therefore, is of the view that the Ministry Of Human Resoucers ought to create a Migrant Workers Affairs Department with jurisdiction to oversee issues pertaining to employment of migrant workers. With millions of migrant workers toiling in the economic interest of our country we would argue that a specialised Migrant Workers Affairs Department with the authority to investigate, inspect, enforce and prosecute errant employers is urgently required. 

It is our opinion that, unless our Human Resoucers Ministry takes a proactive approach in matters related to the absuses confronting the migrant workers, violation of basic human rights will continue to prevail. But by enhancing our enforcement mechanism, through a dedicated Migrant Workers Affairs Department within the Ministry Of Human Resources, we believe that instances of migrant workers absuses can be greatly arrested.



MTUC Penang Division

016 4184520