August 16th, 2011
Good Governance & Transparency Must Reign
For an Effective Amnesty Program
The refusal by the Home Minister, Datuk Hishamuddin Hussein to clarify issues raised by Tenaganita on the implementation of the biometric system reflects the continued state of denial syndrome afflicting the Ministry of Home Affairs
To ensure good governance reigns, the Home Minister should uphold his responsibility to respond and address the various concerns raised by any party on the implementation of the amnesty program. The Minister?s refusal to do this (as stated in Malaysiakini?s article, ?
Biometric scheme not a BN cash cow?, 15th?August 2011)?is a stark reminder of poor transparency practiced by the Ministry.
The contradictory comment that has plagued this entire amnesty exercise appears to strengthen each day. In the mentioned article, the Home Minister is quoted as saying that he expected questions about the amnesty to be raised, thus he has required all of his officers to be transparent and ready with replies. In the same breath, however, he vehemently refuses to answer questions posed by Tenaganita, but instead waves the usual trump card of this being an ?opposition ploy?.
Tenaganita would like to remind the Minister that our organization is a?
non-governmental organization,?a part of civil society that has been working with migrant workers for the past 16 years, nationally and globally. Through our vast experience on this issue, and based on the feedback from the migrants themselves, Tenaganita would like to reiterate that this poorly planned amnesty program will ultimately cause more harm to migrant communities. From the announcement of the amnesty program till?
today,?there have been continuous changes and opaque statements on the process for legalization; the fees workers have to pay; the criteria used to decide whether or not a worker will be legalized; and the role
??of the approve agents.
These are simply the most basic information a migrant worker requires in order for him/her to decide whether he/she should proceed with the legalization process or return home.
Clearly defined processes are also the most basic requirement for a Ministry to be transparent.
It is indeed improper for the Minister to brush aside the issue of biometric systems and machines being tampered with.
??According to Deputy Secretary General of the very same Ministry, Alwi Ibrahim, there were about 600 machines that had been tampered with during the period.
??If one machine has data of 500 workers, then a total of 30,000 workers who would have paid RM10,050,000 for entering into the system alone would now be affected ( The usual payment being RM35 for registration and RM300 for agency service fees). This is not a small issue to be brushed aside.
In a letter sent by Khoo Jia Mei to Malaysiakini on August 15, 2011, the writer raised very pertinent issues and concerns related to the amnesty program. The writer together with a staff had painstakingly interviewed and visited agencies. The writer found that 51 of them had overcharged employers and undocumented migrant workers.
We congratulate Khoo for raising the issues openly with the hope that good governance will be realized.
??Just like Tenaganita, Khoo is also waiting for responses from the Home Minister.
??She has listed the agencies as copied below:
1. Agensi Pekerjaan Medo2. Agensi Pekerjaan Mepro3. Agensi Pekerjaan Fokas Mulia4. Agensi Pekerjaan Cosmoten5. Agensi Pekerjaan MNK6. Agenis Pekerjaan Kiwana Jaya7. Niat Murni8. Right Pristine9. Revolusi Wira10. Rakan Perpaduan11. NBL Management12. Langkah Murni13. Prismegah Holdings14. Permainas15. Pentas Teguh16. Cosmocare Consultant17. Kurniaan Maju18. Laira Global19. JR Joint Resources20. My Outsourcing21. Neo Giant22. Adaza Resources Corp23. Agensi Pekerjaan Elite24. Emery Consultant25. Golden Success26. Job Point27. JS Sdn Bhd28. GMP Kaisar Services29. Law & Chew Employment Agency30. Kurniaan Maju31. Vital Manpower Services32. Yuyi Management Services33. Agensi Pekerjaan Mr & S34. Agenda Ceria35. Juta Mahamega36. Kejora Pelangi37. Famous Expression38. Sumber Tenaga Asia39. Punca Rasmi40. Financial Link41. RKN Global42. Jee Maju Setia43. MindBorn44. Noor Setia45. Ami Awana46. Middle People Management47. Lagenda Intisari48. PDE Online Networks49. Belian Jati50. Bangsa Wawasan51. North Channel
According to Khoo, the agents are very smart and they issue two receipts, one for RM35 and the other for the remaining service charges between RM300 to RM3,500 (including levy and other fees). Immigration officer who raid these offices and branches therefore will only be shown the receipts for RM35.
There were various other issues that had been raised like the existence of sub agents appointed by the approved companies who were charging exorbitant fees.
??If the Ministry is indeed aware of this practice, why haven?t they taken any actions thus far to arrest this problem? With this information can the Minister continue to deny that serious problems exist in the whole implementation of the amnesty program?
?What form of actions will be taken and how can the migrant worker whose hard earned money has been now fleeced, be able to seek redress?
??We want answers and actions so that there is good governance.
Tenaganita maintains there is still a lack of clarity on the amnesty program.
??Migrant workers, being in a vulnerable situation cannot be exploited and cheated through an unclear program called Amnesty.
??The Minister must remember that he is responsible and accountable for any form of violations of rights, of fraud and uncertainty faced by the workers.
??A well planned amnesty program should bring about a clear beginning for the workers and employers in the employment of migrant workers.
??It is only the Home Minister who can respond to the issues raised, and ensure a positive outcome for all parties.
??Dr. Irene Fernandez
38, Jalan Gasing, 46000, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia