Date: Thu, 7 Oct 1999 21:44:23 -0500 (CDT)
From: Grassroots Media Network <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Plight of Indian migrant workers in Malaysia
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 1999 05:10:44 +0800
Plight of Indian migrant workers in Malaysia
Press releases from Charles Hector
|Date of Contract||No. of Workers|
The claims of the workers against the employers, in general, is as follows:-
A) Non payment of monthly wages (between 4 to 11 months)
B) Payment of wages less that the amount stated in the Contract of Employment. (For example, in the case of Sinnakannu Raja (Passport No 037586) who according to contract was entitled to RM1, 600-00, he was only paid RM650-00 per month on the months that he was paid)
C) Wrongful deductions from wages for "Permit" (the average sum is RM2, 500-00 - note there is no provision in the contract or any right in Law for the employer to make this deduction).
Over and above this, the workers have been made to work overtime. On the average the workers have worked 2 hours a day. According to the Contract of Employment, they are entitled to receive payment at the rate of time and a half of ordinary time). The total payment due to the workers is about RM1.2 million..
The workers, who have not been paid wages for the past 4-5 months are facing difficulty and have no money even for food. They have been forced to borrow money to survive here in Malaysia.
The employer, who is also presently holding on to 29 of the 39 workers passport, has refused to pay the wages due despite the repeated requests by the workers. The workers have also requested for work but the employer has refused to give them work. Requests for small daily subsistence Allowances have also been refused.
One of the concerns of the workers is that the employer might terminate them, and thereby causing them to lose their permits. They are worried that the immigration department might deport them, thereby denying them of justice and their rightful claim for money owing to them by their employers in Malaysia.
The workers are grateful that the Labor Office have given them assurance that they will not be deported until their claim is heard and resolved by the Labor Court, if need be.
One of the workers, who were terminated, filed an action in the Labor Office, and efficiently the date of hearing has been fixed for 22/9/99. It is hoped that the cases of all the workers will be disposed off just as fast.
The workers hope that the Immigration Department, in the interim period will allow them to change employers and continue working and earn wages, at least until the expiry of their Employment Pass, being in early 2000.
o/b of the 39 Indian Foreign Workers
EMPLOYER HOLDS PASSPORTS OF WORKERS
ELECTRICITY SUPPLY DISCONNECTED BY TNB AT WORKERS'
LANDLORD ASK WORKERS TO LEAVE SINCE EMPLOYER DID NOT PAY RENT
FOLLOW UP TO 13/9/99 PRESS RELEASE
39 INDIAN FOREIGN WORKERS TO FILE ACTION AT SEREMBAN LABOUR OFFICE AGAINST THEIR EMPLOYER FOR A CLAIM OF ABOUT RM 0.8 MILLION
On Monday, 13/9/99, 39 Foreign Indian Nationals, who are in Malaysia Legally as foreign workers, filed a complaint/report at the SEREMBAN LABOUR OFFICE against their employer, GOPIS CONSTRUCTION(M) SDN BHD, for non payment Of wages and unlawful deductions. The total claim is approximately RM800, 000-00.
On Wednesday (22/9/99), the case of one Kaliaperumal Sivakumar is fixed or hearing at the Seremban Labor Court. Mr Sivakumar, who after not Being paid wages for several months received a termination letter by post from his employer in the end of August. The hearing date for the other workers has been fixed for 1/10/99.
EMPLOYER HOLDING 28 WORKERS PASSPORTS
The employer is wrongfully holding on to passports of 28 of these workers. This puts the workers at risk of being arrested by the police and/or immigration officers who might mistake them as being "illegal foreign workers". Our lawyer has sent a letter to the employer asking for the return of the passports. When the matter was referred to the Immigration Department, the workers were advised to "discuss" with the employer to solve this problem. We hope the Immigration Department will step in and assist the workers to get the passports.
EMPLOYER NOT APPLIED TO RENEW EXPIRING PASS/VISA OF 2 WORKERS
This matter has also been brought to the notice of the employer. Note the workers have not been terminated. They are still employees of Gopis Construction(M) Sdn Bhd until February or April 2000. According to the Contract of Employment and the Malaysian Law, it is the employer who must put in the necessary applications for a renewal of the Employment Pass And the Multiple Entry Visa of the worker.
FEAR OF BEING WRONGLY TAKEN AS ILLEGAL MIGRANT WORKERS
The Malaysian Police and the Immigration authorities have been Conducting numerous raids and picking up illegal immigrants. The workers, especially those without the passports, are afraid that they might be picked up by the police and detained while the police investigate their status. Therefore to ensure this "mistake" does not happen, we have taken individual Photographs of all the 40 workers, together with the names and passport numbers, and forwarded an album containing the photos to the Negeri Sembilan Police Chief and the Director of Immigrations Negeri Sembilan.
The employer in two (2) houses In Senawang is presently housing the workers. According to the Contract of Employment, the employer is to provide "free accommodation" for the workers.. The employer has provided 2 double story houses with three (3) rooms. About 25 workers stay in one house. Surely this was not what was meant by "free accommodation" in the contract.
ELECTRICITY SUPPLY DISCONNECTED.
A couple of days ago, the electricity supply was disconnected. This happened after the workers filed a claim in the Seremban Labor Court against their employer for wages due amounting to about RM0.8million. It was discovered that the supply was disconnected because the employer had Not paid the bills. The workers borrowed money and settled the bill. It is Hoped that the employer would reimburse the workers.
EVICTION FROM HOUSES PROVIDED BY EMPLOYER?
On Sunday(19/9/99), the landlord for one of the houses came and told The workers that they had one day to vacate the premises as rent was not paid by the Employer. After pleading, the landlord's representative gave the workers until 25/9/99 to vacate the premises. The employer has been informed. It is hoped that the employer pays the rental so that the workers can at the Very least have a roof over their head. Since the workers have not been paid wages for a period of about 4-5 months continuously, the workers have no money. If they are forced to leave their houses, then they have no place to stay.
NO MONEY FOR FOOD
The workers would also like to appeal for donations and help from the Government of Malaysia, the Indian Government and the members of the Public to help them in this area of food. At least RM200-00 is needed for food For the 40 workers per day.
According to Malaysian laws, the workers cannot go out and work for anyone else other than their employer. When the workers made their complaint to the Labor Department, they asked whether they could go and work temporarily with other employers because they needed money to survive. The Labor Department said that they could not do so. We would like to appeal to the Malaysian authorities to waive this ruling, so that we can at least work and earn money. We feel very embarrassed being forced to borrow money from friends or "beg" just because we need money to buy food. Alternatively, we hope that the Labor Court and/or other relevant authority can at least compel the employer to give the basic daily food allowance.
WE ASK FOR JUSTICE
We, who have come to Malaysia to work, came here after being interviewed by the representative of Gopis Construction. They made an offer for employment, and we accepted it. When we arrived, the wages agreed upon was not paid. All we ask for is the wages in accordance with our Contract of Employment. We have financial commitments back in India, and they are depending on This money that we earned with our sweat and toil. In the beginning we were scared, now we have build up our courage and have come forward to make a complaint because the situation has become totally intolerable. We now hope and ask for JUSTICE.
SUDALAI SHANMUGA RAJA
o/b of the 40 Indian Foreign Workers
(SUN, STAR, CHINA PRESS covered the first statement, BUT no one carried the second statement although the Star Reporter was present)
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