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ALIRAN MEDIA STATEMENT

Take action against RELA brutality

rela
RELA, the people's volunteer corps, comes under the spotlight

Aliran is shocked to learn that RELA personnel took the law into their hands and acted like thugs and gangsters in the manner they brutalised some 60 Indian nationals with passports and valid documents on 28 February 2006.

Short-changed by their employers, these Indians nationals were camping in front of the Indian High Commission along Jalan Duta in Kuala Lumpur, waiting for their plight to be addressed. The migrant workers claimed that their employment agency and their employers from four firms had violated the terms of their contracts since their arrival in Malaysia two months ago. They had not been paid their first month's salary for work done; neither were they given any work subsequently. They were thus forced to seek the help of the Indian High Commission.

The RELA personnel who raided the place where these nationals had camped had no business running riot. One news report said eyewitnesses saw the Indian nationals being chased, kicked and beaten, some so badly that, according to Malaysian Trades Union Congress secretary general G Rajasekaran, one individual suffered shattered bones in his arms.

What is bewildering is that the RELA personnel apparently made no attempt to talk to the unfortunate Indian nationals or to find out their problem. They came, it seems, intent on giving the migrant workers a good beating - which they did. There was no respect for the person or for human rights. After the migrant workers were brutalised, about 60 of them were herded like cattle into two trucks and carted away for whatever reason.

Why was no action taken against the agents and the employers who flouted the law, mistreated the workers and created the problem in the first place? Instead of going after the violators for their blatant disregard of the law, the RELA personnel treated the victims as if they were the violators. Clearly, there is no notion of justice or regard for the truth. In a civilised society, this is totally unacceptable.

Aliran calls upon the government to suspend these RELA personnel immediately and institute disciplinary proceedings against them.


Andrew Wong
Executive committee member
2 March 2006


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