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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

'Act against Forest City developer, not just legalise workers'



The government should punish the Forest City developer for allowing undocumented migrant workers to be hired at its project site, the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) said.
If the existing law cannot hold the developer for responsible, MTUC secretary-general J Solomon said, then the government should blacklist the developer or revoke its licence until matter is resolved.
"This is the kind of threat that must be given to them (by the government)," Solomon told Malaysiakini, adding that similar action should be taken against all the developers who hired undocumented migrant workers in the country.
"Currently, the developers and the contractors are absolving themselves of all forms of exploitation, trafficking in persons or smuggling of migrant workers as conducted by the sub-contractors and agents.
"They cannot be absolved from liability because everything happened in their properties, so they have to be answerable for every misdeed taking place on their properties," he explained.
Malaysiakini reported hundreds of Chinese nationals were forced to return home after finding out they might not receive payment from sub-contractors of the Forest City project. These workers originally arrived in Malaysia under tourist visas.
Some of them who stayed on and worked illegally were owed up to six months' salary and had survived on a monthly allowance of RM300. The workers were not hired by the developer but by individuals who were appointed by sub-contractors.
Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed said his ministry would consider legalising these immigrant workers, while Immigration Department director-general Mustafar Ali said his officers would raid Forest City.
Forest City's master developer Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd (CGPV) has vowed to take stern action against those found to be employing undocumented foreign workers with regard to its project.
'Enforcement very poor and weak'
“Stern action should be taken against the irresponsible employers and the lackadaisical attitude of the sub-contractors. The enforcement has been very poor and weak in respect of such violations and abuses and this has marred the nation," Solomon said.
"Malaysians are being shamed, questioned and accused of engendering as well as providing the space for such illegal agents to breed in our land," he said.
The China nationals claimed to be cheated by agents in their homeland, who promised to secure them a job in Malaysia after paying 10,000 yuan (RM6,288) and 24,000 yuan (RM15,092).
"The developers, contractors and employers must ensure they deal and engage with reputable agents if they need to bring in foreign workers to work in Malaysia.
"This is not only protect the reputation of their firms and businesses but also the good name of our country," Solomon added.
However, he disagreed with government's effort to legalise these foreign workers, citing injustice towards Malaysian workers.
"These workers from China were promised salaries of more than RM6,000 a person, which is categorised under the middle-income group.
"MTUC strongly feels that there are enough Malaysians who will be interested in working for such salaries and the employers can even pay more by matching monetarily on other facilities extended to the foreign workers.

"Therefore, legalising them under rehiring programme will be gross injustice to the Malaysian workers who are in dire need of jobs with such salaries," Solomon said.
The government should have the political will to transform the entire policy of the migrant workers in order to stop breeding the exploitation of human beings in Malaysia, he said.
Solomon also called for the government to institute a Royal Commission of Inquiry to study, investigate and review the relevant policy, as well as take action against all parties involved and connected in the exploitation of foreign workers in the last 25 years.- Mkini

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