On Monday 20th November, Malaysiakini unearthed and exposed the horrific tales of migrant workers lured and baited by wicked, devious and cruel agents who promised them the moon and the stars to come and work in Malaysia through fake and false contracts making money by the hundreds of thousands if not millions, leaving them broke, penniless and had lost all hopes of survival.
This is a serious matter for not only the Government but for each and every tax paying Malaysian who, in more ways than one, depend on manpower through migrant workers, who have suffered so much to come to Malaysia to work.
I welcome the statement by Minister for Human Resources V. Sivakumar in Parliament to conduct a full probe of the migrant worker quota syndicate involving 6 companies. This is certainly a step in the right direction, instead of being defensive or dismissive of such a claim. I for one, will be anticipating the outcome of the probe.
This on top of the arrest of one of the masterminds of the recruitment scam last July 10th as confirmed by the Director of the Commercial Crime Investigation Department RamliMohamed Yoosuf is certainly positive news but like many, I believe, is only the tip of the iceberg.
The crux of the issue here is that the level of leakages and the “I help you, you help me” attitude. When parts of the Government machinery are involved, the matter goes undetected for so long and so begins the vicious cycle of fraud, blackmail, corruption, abuse of power, bullying right to the far extent of modern-day slavery and human trafficking. Clearly these perpetrators are not frazzled by the high fines and jail terms for human trafficking and continue to carry their cruel and detestable activities. These agents brazenly carry out their fraudulent activities without a care of being caught and the least of their worries and responsibilities is to care for the welfare of these poor workers.
The money trail is expansive and in cash, with the Immigration Department, Malaysian agents and agents from home countries, even double-dealing officers within agencies. The rot would not have gotten so deep if it had been nipped in the bud in the early stages. As stated in the article, these workers had been promised a lucrative salary of RM1,500 (compared to the measly income they make back home) working as a cleaner in Malaysia. They sell almost everything they own, take loans and come all the way here with the burden of repaying their loans and worst, entirely trusting the sweet-talking agents who become monsters when these vulnerable migrant workers are in their tight grip. When migrant workers are duped by their agents, gone through hell and high water to come to Malaysia, know nothing of the language and the treatment many like them get from the general public and worse, end up not even having any money to even eat, can we blame them if they become frustrated andangry? In this, we must take sides with the oppressed and the voiceless, the migrant workers.
Although the Minister for Human Resources and the Director of the CCID send a message of investigating and nabbing perpetrators, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has much to do with keeping their ears on the ground and eyes open wide to put an end to this national disgrace. There should not be a green light nor a “pause” button when it comes to investigating these syndicates.
The MACC should use the Whistleblowers Protection Act 2010 to send a clear message that nation and commission are both firm to nab the obvious and hidden hands behind the falsedocuments and fraudulent contracts. MACC must not rest on its laurels and go after the small fish and the big sharks that monopolise the industry, without fear, favour or prejudice.
Malaysia must improve its image as a RAHMAH nation as far as treatment for migrant workers are concerned. We must be consistent when it comes to kindness, compassion, justice, transparency, integrity and the rule of law – not only for Malaysians but for all.