Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Bangladesh Workers Claim Abuse In Malaysia

More than 200 Bangladeshi migrant workers who claim their employers underpaid and abused them have sought refuge outside their country's embassy in Malaysia, an envoy said.

The Bangladesh high commission has turned a section of its mission into a temporary shelter for some of the 225 workers but most of them have been sheltering on the pavement since early December due to a lack of space inside.

"Out of sympathy we have provided them a place to stay but we can only accommodate so much," a senior Bangladeshi envoy told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"We are trying our best to get the workers and employers to reach consensus but it's difficult because both sides have different views on the matter," he added.

The envoy said there were about 350,000 Bangladeshi workers in Malaysia, mainly engaged in the plantation and manufacturing sectors.

As Christians celebrated Christmas, a charity group provided some chicken curry with rice for the hungry and pale-looking Muslim migrant workers.

Many of the poor migrants paid thousands of dollars to agents to find them work in Malaysia where they hoped to make their fortunes.

One 28-year-old Bangladeshi who gave his name as Hossain said he came to Malaysia in September.

"I paid the agent RM12,000 and I sold my father's land and cows to gather the money," he told AFP.

"My agent got me a job with a company that manufactured computer hard discs. According to the contract, I should be paid RM800 a month but they only gave me RM380.

"When I questioned them, they threatened me and refused to give me back my passport. All I want now is my passport and to find another job. Fearing my safety, I came to the embassy with RM300 and now I don't have anything left," he said.

Another worker, Nazir Hossain, 32, said he had been in Malaysia for the past six months and was being underpaid.

"I was working in a shipping company but I was not satisfied with the treatment. I was not paid the right amount they promised. Instead they gave me only RM400 a month.

Siddiq Miah, 42, gave a similar tale.

"I paid the agent in Bangladesh RM12,000 to arrange a job for me, and he promised me a job in a factory but when I came here they refused to hire me on health grounds," he said.

"My mother, wife and children barely have enough to eat without my salary. I want my agent to return my passport so that I can go home," he said.

Malaysia, Southeast Asia's third largest economy, has an estimated 2.6 million legal and illegal foreign workers.

They are critical to the nation's key manufacturing and agriculture sectors, and many household rely on foreign domestic workers mainly from Indonesia, Philippines and India.

These poor people work long hours almost every day and for that they are paid a paltry RM380 to RM400 a month! This is modern day slavery and a gross abuse of human rights.

The heartless bastards who own the computer hard disc company and other such employers are the first ones who scream of being discriminated by the government and vote for the DAP in protest. Yet they have no compunction in doing the same to foreigners and allowing them to suffer while fattening their own bank balance.
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's Malaysia coming to? What's our dear BN government doing on this?

9:37 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous William Wilberforce Jr. said...

I was under the impression that slavery had been abolished!
This appears not to be the case in Malaysia.
How shameful that the super rich are so greedy and uncaring that they exploit foreign workers, paying them a pittance and housing them in inhuman conditions.
At the same time these slave driving 'Mafia type' bosses are depriving Malaysians of decently paid employment.
The BN government is doing nothing, because it is an integral part of this modern slavery system.

11:09 AM GMT+8  

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