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Friday, April 30, 2021

Reported suicide shows need for labour migration policy, says group

 

Several groups say the government must conduct frequent checks on construction sites and manufacturing companies to ensure the welfare of their workers.

PETALING JAYA: A human rights group has reiterated its call for a national labour migration policy to protect the rights of foreigners following the reported suicide of a Pakistani construction worker.

The 30-year-old allegedly took his life after claiming he was not paid his wages for five months.

Glorene Das, executive director of human rights group Tenaganita, said exploitation of foreign workers would continue if a national labour migration policy was not in place.

“Though suicide is not common, many think it is the only solution because they feel helpless and useless as they have no means to support themselves and their family back home,” she told FMT.

“The situation is worsened if their debts keep on increasing.”

Das said foreign workers had the right to seek redress for unpaid wages and its process must be explained clearly to them.

“An enabling environment should also be created for them to voice out their concerns,” she said.

She called for more surprise checks on workers’ welfare by the labour department.

North-South Initiative executive director Adrian Pereira said the incident showed Malaysia’s failure to defend the rights of foreign workers, “causing them to be pushed to the edge”.

He also said construction companies should check with the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) on its proposed reforms for the industry.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) said the government should hire more officers for the labour department so regular inspections could be carried out at construction sites and manufacturing companies.

MTUC secretary-general Kamarul Baharin Mansor said there were not enough officers to monitor foreign workers, leading to employers taking advantage of them.

A labour department spokesman said the Pakistani’s death was being investigated. - FMT

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