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?
By Nik Nurfaqih Nik Wil, Ahmad Muliady Abdul Majid and Mohd Ashraf Shafiq Mazlan
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 28 (Bernama) — The police have put an end to slave labour at a condominium in Jalan Klang Lama here but most of the syndicate members who had kept illegal Indonesian workers locked in a room, remain free.
And, not all the women forced to work daily without pay have been accounted for.
Bukit Aman D7C anti-traficking in persons and smuggling of migrants unit assistant director ACP Maszely Minhad said two men were arrested and nine Indonesian women rescued in an operation on Wednesday.
The police had acted on information received from Bernama reporters who were tipped off by a resident of Green Park condominium on the night of Aug 19.
The journalists approached its management the day after and were told that 21 Indonesian women were being held in a unit of the condominium.
A management staff who declined to be identified said the women were taken out daily to clean several houses and brought back late at night and locked in.
On the morning of Aug 19, they made an attempt to escape by using bed sheets tied together as a rope to abseil from the unit on the 11th floor.
Some residents saw the women and persuaded them not to attempt the dangerous feat. The women said they were illegals and had been forced to work without pay.
Most of what happened that day was recorded on the mobile phones of the residents and the manager.
The manager called the police who arrived with a truck to ferry the women to the Petaling station. This too, was recorded.
About 4pm the same day, a man came up to the manager and warned him not to report anything to the police. This episode was captured on closed-circuit television camera.
The manager was surprisd that the women who had left with the police were brought back that night to the condominium by people whom he believed to be members of a syndicate.
On Aug 21, the manager lodged a police report on what happened at the condominium, two days earlier.
After being informed of what had happened, Bernama reporters, equipped with copies of the recordings, met D7C personnel who promised to investigate and keep them informed.
D7C officers began investigations on the night of Aug 21. On Wednesday, they trailed a Toyota Unser used to ferry the women about 7.30am. They intercepted the vehicle near the condominium, arrested the two men and rescued the women.
Maszely said the women had been sent to a shelter under the social welfare department after a magistrate’s court issued an interim protection order for 14 days.
Some of the women had told the residents that they had been kept prisoner for 16 months.
The two men are being remanded until Tuesday.
Maszely believed the other syndicate members had fled, taking the remainder of the women with them.
“We are in the midst of tracking them down,” he said.
Address: Wisma MTUC,10-5, Jalan USJ 9/5T, 47620 Subang Jaya,Selangor | Tel: 03-80242953 | Fax: 03-80243225 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org