Bukit Mertajam MP, Chong Eng and I visited a group of disgruntled small business owners and traders in BM Plaza who claimed that disproportionate and unjustified actions by the Immigration Department to arrest illegal immigrants at the Plaza are affecting their business. A few weeks ago, an MCA leader held a press conference asking the Federal Govt. to take stricter actions against immigrants at the Plaza.
Traders there told us that their workers have proper work permits and some of them are actually business partners. I met one Burmese muslim who is in business partnership with a local Malay businessman and they have a store in BM Plaza. According to the traders, when Immigration dept officials conduct operation, they were unruly and did not discriminate between immigrants with permit and those without permit. Their customers, 90% whom are foreign workers were afraid to patronize the Plaza due to fear of being arrested despite having proper permits to be in this country.
My comment to the press was the Federal Government did not consider social implications of their haphazard foreign workers policy. Our country has about 10 million workforce and foreign citizens constitute about 20% of the workforce. In every 10 person working, 2 are foreign citizens. The Federal Government’s policy seemed to imply that we only want foreign citizens to come to Malaysia to work, without any proper vision of the social space for this group of people. There is no consideration of proper wage-scheme, housing arrangements, and even recreational needs.
We seemed to think that we can bring people from another country to work 9-to-5 (or even more) and then lock them up in their hostels. Foreign workers have social, cultural and economic rights which must be honoured by both their home government and host government.
(Photo source: Sin Chew Daily)
2011/05/19 1:00:40 PM
Sin Chew Daily