Malaysia is one of Asia's biggest employers of foreign labour. But recently, cases of deaths, abuse and forced labour have come to light. What is going on? Who is protecting these migrant workers?
‘Modern-day slavery’ at a bird’s nest factory in Klang
Determined Sarawakian: This series on the exploitation of Indonesian workers is wonderful reporting and not the everyday gibberish from the political scene.
Sweatshops are basically the new wave for human trafficking and slavery. I am sure this is not the only company doing it, there are many others.
Alunan Ombak: Send in tough, incorruptible Labour Department officers to audit and dig deep into the workers’ complaints, since the boss of the company denies every allegation and allegedly has powerful connections in government.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) should also be alerted. This type of company should get its just desserts if found guilty.
The Analyser: The Malaysians’ obsession with money and their absence of respect for their fellow men ensures that situations like this will continue until Malaysians address some entrenched, but very negative cultural practices.
Both money obsession and lack of respect are direct responses to our insecurity which is so widespread across Malaysia.
The same criteria which result in human degradation also inspires entrepreneurs to become involved in human trafficking.
Anonymous #13114320: I beg to differ from everyone’s view. Indonesian workers or maids have poor working attitudes and have the tendency to run away.
They are unlike the Bangladeshis, Myanmars, Nepalese or Filipinos who may or may not be good at their job, but they will inform if they want to quit, not the Indonesians.
Many apparently don’t make a quick exit once they run away from their workplace. Their wide network of friends and relatives here in Malaysia would mean they can find another place to live and work, some even live in kampong areas helping in food stores or groceries, to make some savings before they go.
And this always leave employers on the ropes after paying money and making a big effort to get them in.
And what warranty do you get in the end? From what I see here, this company was providing okay facilities and was not as bad as claimed.
Anonymous #20513663: ‘Anonymous #13114320’, may I suggest that the root problem is our labour laws and the way ‘slave labour’ is brought into the country. Slavery is defined by several international organisations, if I am not mistaken.
Perhaps Malaysiakini should explain which definition they are using and unpack the term for the Malaysian public, which is unaware of how widespread slavery is today, including in our own country.
Drngsc: So, who is telling the truth? One party says that it is hell. The other party says that it is heaven.
I tend to believe the party who says that it is hell, but I think an investigation should be done, jointly with the Indonesian officers as well, since it involved their citizens.
Gaji Buta: So, is this man going to be arrested and charged with breaking all kinds of employment laws? Do the police read Malaysiakini?
This is just one case out of hundreds of thousands of employers. Even some people I know make their maids clean their house in the daytime and then take them to their parents’ house and make them clean that as well later.
Technically, it’s not slavery, but is it humane or right? And I think we all know who are the biggest culprits. As someone said here – we have no respect for our fellow men/women.
Anonymous #20513663: I hope Malaysiakini’s investigative reporting will induce the Malaysian public to support it financially.
I guess we’ll see from this whether the Malaysian public are able to appreciate better/investigative reporting or whether they prefer the usual ‘junk food’ of sensationalist statements.
I am not sure that most of the Malaysian public understand where their news comes from and possible ‘influences’. Most don’t even bother asking who funds the portals that they read.
Babylon: Those who exploit the poor to get rich will always remain a slave to money and will never be satisfied or have peace of mind. Blessed are the poor.
Following the money on lucrative illegal Indo-M’sia maid trade
Anonymous #20513663: Great work, Malaysiakini! It’s good to see investigative reporting and transnational collaboration.
With an estimated one in five people on Malaysian soil being non-citizens, and most of them undocumented, I hope you will keep following up on leads.
The ‘documented’ trail is only the tip of the iceberg. It seems unlikely that operations on this scale could be possible without ‘protection’ and ‘collusion’. Please keep it up. Keep digging.
I hope members of the public (including civil servants) with information and documents will pass them on to the press as well.
Gaji Buta: Thank you for the report. Keep up the good work and stay safe.
Anonymous 2457571486440266: Thank you, Malaysiakini, for putting the spotlight on this.
Dahjadi Bubur: Excellent article, Malaysiakini. Like climate change, human trafficking has been going on since human came into existence.
Like prostitution, I doubt it can be eliminated as long as humanity exist. But, the good side of humanity can make it harder for the bad side to continue such exploitation.
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