Withdraw Monthly Fee on Migrant Workers

 Dear Eli, pls ask him to stop!

That was what I means when I wrote an open letter to Encik Anwar Ibrahim;

“Tapi percayalah, jika PKR ternyata bercita-cita menjadi sebuah parti untuk para kapitalis (penindas rakyat), umpama UMNO dan Barisan Nasionalnya, maka ketika itu harap-haraplah anak-anak muda ini akan mampu bangkit”. – arifabdull, 3 May 2007

Foreign workers tax

Khalid also said the state government will seek to realise a system where companies that hire foreign workers will be ‘taxed’ RM9 per worker per month.

If this can be collected for all of the estimated 1.5 million foreign workers in Selangor, it can serve as a source of funding for skills training programmes for the state’s youth. This, in turn, can contribute towards decreasing the dependence on foreign labour, said Khalid.

“I don’t think the employers will grumble too much, because they are investing in the future of the state. Due to the decreased dependence on foreign labour, there will be less crimes, less social problems, less dependency on facilities and medical and so on.

“That is the tradeoff between the two. If I can do that, then I can move Selangor into the future,” he said. – MB: ‘Zero squatters’ policy to continue & Q&A: We will ‘pursue’ Khir Toyo in Malaysiakini


Suaram’s Press statement: 26 March 2008

Suaram is deeply disturbed with the plan of the Selangor state government to collect RM10 monthly fee from all migrant workers in the state of Selangor. The new policy was announced by the Chief Minister of the newly formed Selangor state government, Khalid Ibrahim recently during a press interview with Chinese press.

According to the Chief Minister, the money collected will be used for the purpose of setting up a re-training fund for unemployed youths. It aims to equip them with more skills and in a long run reduce the reliance on migrant workers.

The migrant workers community is one of the most exploited and most marginalized groups in the society. They work in conditions described as 3-Ds – dirty, demeaning and dangerous, and theirs are jobs which the locals shun off. They receive low wages and are often exploited by employers or recruitment agencies for non-payment, unjust deduction of salary, long working hours, unfair dismissal etc.

By taxing the migrant workers who are barely surviving and probably in debt in order to pay the exorbitant fees to come to work in Malaysia, an extra heavy burden is added on the migrant workers and their families. And to use the money collected from the migrant workers to re-train local unemployed youth and eventually replace the migrant workers, is scandalous, to say the least.

Even if the monthly fee is to be paid by the employer and not the migrant workers, we are concerned that eventually this fee will be deducted from the migrant worker’s wages one way or another.

The new policy reflects how unsensitized Malaysian political parties, be they in the opposition or the government, are to the plight of migrant workers.

The Parti Rakyat Keadilan (PKR) has espoused the principle of justice and won a huge victory with the pledge to the people to fight against the widening income gap between the “have” and the “have-nots”. Certainly, taxing the poor migrant workers to assist local unemployed youth, do not measure up to the principle and spirit of justice.

Suaram calls on Chief Minister Khalid Ibrahim to immediately withdraw this unjust policy. We also urge the Chief Minister to consult civil society organizations who are working on migrant workers issues before making any policy decisions in the future.

Yap Swee Seng

Executive Director of Suaram

Posted in Buruh, Demokrasi, Pilihanraya
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March 2008

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