Media statement by Steven Sim, MP for Bukit Mertajam
11 MAY 2017 | BUKIT MERTAJAM, PULAU PINANG
I refer to the news report on undocumented migrant workers in the Johor Forest City development. (Source: https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/381555)
After the exposé, the Home Ministry had said that they will legalise these undocumented migrant workers.
The combination of loose border control and the convenience to legalise undocumented workers seems to encourage illegal entry into the country including via human trafficking. The government’s policy is therefore tantamount to “it is easier to say sorry than to ask for permission”; break the law first, apologise later and then receive approval.
I reiterate my stance that the government should not allow the employers to legalise their illegal migrant workers and the harshest actions of the law should be taken against these employers as a lesson to foreign companies operating on our shores as well as to demonstrate our seriousness against immigration offences. (Source: https://dapmalaysia.org/Kenyataan-Akhbar/2017/05/10/24981/)
However, I call on the government to treat the undocumented migrants as trafficked persons who may be rightfully compensated under Section 66 (A) and 66 (B) of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (Amendment) Act 2015 which incorporated the latest amendments.
Section 66 (A) (1) reads:
The Court before which a person is convicted of an offence under this Act may make an order for the payment of a sum fixed by the Court by way of compensation by the convicted person to the trafficked person.
Section 66 (B) (1) reads:
In the case of no conviction of an offence under this Act, where payment of wages is in arrears to an alleged trafficked person, the Court shall make an order for the payment of such wages in arrears of a sum fixed by the Court to the alleged trafficked person upon application of the Public Prosecutor after conducting an inquiry by the Court.
In other words, under the two sections introduced in the 2015 amendment, these undocumented migrant workers, if henceforth as trafficked persons, can be compensated financially for their predicaments.
This exposé has further tarnished Malaysia’s name, by reaffirming our notoriety as a hub for human trafficking in the region. As such the government must take immediate action against the guilty parties as well as to provide protection to the victims to redeem our country’s image.
Steven Sim Chee Keong
MP for Bukit Mertajam
Deputy Spokesperson, DAP Parliamentary Committee on Human Resources