Media statement by Steven Sim, MP for Bukit Mertajam
09 AUGUST 2017 | PARLIAMENT, KUALA LUMPUR
International media outlet Al-Jazeera aired a special report on 20 July 2017, on the exploitation of migrant workers in Malaysia and abuse of power by the Malaysian Immigration authority.
I was interviewed in the programme to provide my views given the research and advocacy I have done on this issue.
Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi claimed that the footage of the documentary was six months old, and a new online system to register foreign workers had been introduced since April 2017 to curb abuses.
The Al-Jazeera documentary also featured an individual showing copies of “support letters” allegedly from the Home Ministry to speed up approval of certain applications for migrant workers.
Zahid Hamidi cannot simply brush aside such serious accusations. This is a not a new problem, I have also highlighted numerous abuses within the immigration system for the past one year.
In regards to the Al-Jazeera report, the Home Minister must answer the following four questions:
- The recordings were not done six months ago but in the month of March and April 2017 – I myself was interviewed in March. However, even if the Minister was right that a new system was implemented in April 2017, why are there still leakages in the immigration system after April 2017, for example, the exposé on mainland Chinese migrant workers who came in to work illegally in Johor Forrest City and other China-linked development projects?
- If the so-called “support letters” were fake, why didn’t the Ministry respond to Al-Jazeera’s request to clarify on the matter when they were contacted at the course of filming the documentary?
- I have highlighted on how three companies were given exclusive contracts via direct negotiation to do migrant workers rehiring: i) Iman Sdn. Bhd., ii) MyEg Bhd., and iii) Bukti Megah Sdn. Bhd. All three companies have links to the ruling party UMNO and in my statement dated 14 April 2017, I have highlighted how one of Bukti Megah’s directors was a former UMNO assemblyman who then serves as Zahid Hamidi’s special officer. This is a clear conflict of interest and abuse of power – why were they are not terminated?
- After so many cases involving the immigration process of our country, I have called on the government to establish a Royal Commission on Immigration Reform to ensure a thorough investigation and overhaul of the system. Why is the government refusing to do so until now?
Yesterday, Zahid Hamidi claimed that he, “the Home Ministry and all departments within it are free from corruption.” If this is indeed true, he should come forward to answer these four questions to clarify doubts and suspicions raised in the documentary.
Steven Sim Chee Keong
MP for Bukit Mertajam
Deputy Spokesperson, DAP Parliamentary Committee for Human Resources