Aliran is deeply disturbed by the Malaysian authorities’ revocation of the work permit of a Bangladeshi national, Md Rayhan Kabir, for having expressed his feelings in a controversial Al Jazeera documentary.
The revocation has raised more questions than answers about the controversial detention of migrant workers amid the coronavirus pandemic. It does little to shed light on the treatment of migrants, especially in immigration detention centres.
For one, doesn’t Rayhan, although a foreigner, have the right to express his concern generally about the recent detention of hundreds of migrant workers, especially in the context of the widespread xenophobia displayed by Malaysians?
Does his work permit revocation indicate that Rayhan was wrong in his comment about the situation on the ground at the time?
Or, on the contrary, was he saying the truth to Al Jazeera which the authorities desperately want to hide from public scrutiny?
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So, what is the truth that the government wants Malaysians to know regarding the issue?
Sending the Rayhans back to their home countries may not necessarily enlighten Malaysians and others who want to know the truth and seek justice.
The Malaysian authorities could have adopted a more sober approach ie by highlighting to the media what they believe were the inaccuracies in Rayhan’s comments and clarifying the real situation faced by migrants, including those in detention.Aliran executive committee
13 July 2020