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What lies beneath the disregard for migrant labour laws?

The media scoop revealed the pathetic living conditions that many migrant workers have had to put up with for a long time

Photo credit: indmediahk.net
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It is shocking and disgraceful to see how some quarters in Malaysia treat migrant workers. 

A recent media report depicted the squalid accommodation provided to a group of migrant workers at a hostel in Sepang.

Such living conditions reek of gross injustice and sheer wickedness. 

The former human resources minister M Kula Segaran noted that laws are in place, but they are not enforced. 

How is it possible for employers to continue to disregard laws meant to provide humane, basic living conditions for these workers?

Are they not the fundamental building blocks for business profits? 

Why do we still need enforcement to ensure that employers abide by the laws?

Don’t the business owners concerned have a soul? If they are unable to abide by laws meant to protect workers’ health and wellbeing, how can we believe these business people are not short-changing the rest of the country with their products, their service quality and their pricing? 

The media scoop revealed the pathetic living conditions that many migrant workers have had to put up with for a long time. 

These workers are also unable to complain for fear of being targeted by their employers. 

Even the law that dictates 15 workers to one bathroom – which already means that a worker will have to wait in a queue for over two hours to use the bathroom for 10 minutes – could be stretched by some unscrupulous employers. 

If such cramped and dirty living conditions are provided to animals, they will wither away. What more for humans. 

Where are our political heroes who have never stopped ranting about race, religion and injustices?

READ MORE:  Penang government should explain zoning for workers' dorms

What does this say about the people of Malaysia?

Let’s not fool ourselves with that oft-used getaway statement – that this is an “isolated incident”.

Many of us are lacking in values, despite the emphasis on religion, justice and rights. 

Until and unless we treat all workers fairly, with compassion and kindness, while upholding laws meant to protect humans, we will remain trapped along the pathway towards a failing nation. 

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
  1. Tegakkan maruah serta kualiti kehidupan rakyat
  2. Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
  3. Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
  4. Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
  5. Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
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