Xenophobia leads to inhumane hunting of refugees

Xenophobia leads to inhumane hunting of refugees

  1. Please read this first_Dr Irene Fernandez’s letter in MALAYSIAKINI

  2. After that, read the ex-Foreign Minister, present Home Minister’s Xenophobic statements
  3. The Opposition State Government’s Chief Minister’s similar XENOPHOBIA, SUARAM’s comments and my comments and
  4. Last of all Datuk Marina Mahathier’s GREAT KIND ARTICLES.

Women and children refugees are leaving their homes and moving deeper and deeper into the jungles to escape arrest and detention by Rela and the Immigration authorities. Gripped with fear and uncertainty, hundreds of refugees face the risk of lack of food and of diseases in the jungles.

During the last few weeks, the Malaysian government has stepped up intensive raids, especially in areas which have a high density of refugees and asylum seekers. These raids are well-planned and organised. They happen during the day, in the wee hours of the morning or very late at night, when the authorities are certain that the refugees will be indoors or returning from work.

The raids often take place for several hours at a time. During the arrests, refugees run for their lives leading many to face injuries as a result of falls or accidents. Many flee their homes, with babies and little children in tow, leaving behind all their belongings, running for refuge in whatever form that may be. To be constantly vigilant and on the move is a persistent reality they face when running from being unjustly detained.

Reports from community members who have managed to escape arrests say that even children, whose parents may not be around at the time of the raid, are arrested. Upon arrests, the refugees are then placed in Immigration Detention Camps. The camps are already packed with refugees and undocumented migrants, thus the influx of arrests in these past few weeks could only lead to an increase in over-crowding and further deterioration of the conditions in the camp.

Children have also been separated from their parents, particularly if the child is arrested without his or her mother. As one Rohingya woman shared, her two-year old son is now in a detention camp, as he and his father were arrested during a particular raid. We are particularly concerned over the detention of infants and young children without their mothers as they tend to be uncared for particularly in regards to the special needs of infants and children. The refugee parents are concerned that they may never get their children back.

After the arrests, refugees are kept in overcrowded immigration detention centres. The majority of them are then charged under the Immigration Act for being an illegal immigrant in the country. The detained refugee is then sentenced to imprisonment and many of them have been caned or whipped. There was even a case of a 15-year-old boy who was whipped as part of the sentence.

The root cause of the problem is that the Malaysian government has refused to recognise refugees and asylum-seekers. Malaysia has not signed the Convention on Refugees. Consequently their status in Malaysia is the same as an ‘illegal’ immigrant or undocumented worker.

After their sentence, the refugees are deported to the Thailand-Malaysia border. Ex-detainees have shared how, many make a payment in order to be released quicker.

If they are unable to pay, either in the detention camp or at the border, they face a strong risk of being sold to traffickers, or are forced to work without pay, usually on fishing trawlers. There is a growing concern that such raids may increase the trafficking of refugees as bonded workers.

The recent raid on the Zomi organisation is of grave concern for the refugee community and organisations working with refugees. The refugees have also organised, through their own initiative, their own support and care groups to sustain themselves and help each other. Is this the beginning signs of organised arrests of community leaders and the dismantling of service-centred organisations?

Due to the ongoing raids, it is becoming more and more difficult for humanitarian support to continue as refugees are not able to participate in programmes. They become invisible and difficult to reach and thus become increasingly vulnerable.

Refugees and asylum-seekers must be recognised and given a special status with the right to stay and work. Basic fundamental rights with humanitarian principles must form the basis and approach to manage the refugee issues and concerns in Malaysia. The Malaysian government has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (Cedaw) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Yet, the state continues to violate the rights of women and children and justify the discriminatory practices against refugees. It is therefore important that Malaysians express their protest on the inhumane treatment and unjust arrests of refugees and asylum seekers.

We call on all Malaysians to write letters of concern to the Malaysian authorities expressing your protest and concern and calling on the government, the international community and the UNHCR to ensure refugees are recognised, their fundamental rights accorded and the unjust arrests of refugees be stopped immediately. The Malaysian government is a member of the Human Rights Council and thus must use the human rights approach to protect and care for the refugee population in the country.

The writer is director, Tenaganita.

Please read this news in Star Online_

Govt wants zero dependence on non-Malaysian workers

Saying bye to foreign labour

PUTRAJAYA: The Government wants to do away with foreign workers as their numbers – both legal and illegal – have reached three million.




Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said he would seek the cooperation of the Human Resources Ministry to find ways to reduce the demand for foreign workers.

Speaking to reporters after visiting the Immigration Department here yesterday, he said the move would also ensure that there would be no unemployment among Malaysians.




He said cooperation from employers was most important as they created the demand for foreign workers and this had also caused illegal foreigners to enter the country in droves.

“We want to see the demand for foreigners totally scrapped, that is our aim. We need cooperation from those who are seeking workers.

“We need a collective and planned effort from all quarters including the Human Resources Ministry to ensure that we depend only on our own citizens,” he said, adding that illegal foreign workers were one of the biggest problems the ministry was facing.

When asked for more attractive perks and benefits for locals to take up jobs that were now dominated by foreigners, he said for an unemployed Malaysian any job would be attractive.

In PETALING JAYA, the Malaysian Employers Federation and Malaysian Trades Union Congress said that the Government must have a clear policy on migrant workers and not act on an ad hoc basis.

MEF executive director Shamsuddin Bardan said he was not against the move to scrap dependence on foreign workers but it must be planned properly.

“We don’t want to have a knee-jerk reaction and be caught off-guard. This could affect productivity,” he said.

“The cause of the high influx of illegals should not be confused with employers’ demand for documented workers. It’s partly because the Government has been too lenient,” he said.

MTUC president Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud said the organisation was not against hiring migrant workers but also said the Government must have a clear policy on why they were brought in.

Selfishness leads to search and hit the softspots

“Think of national interests”, Suaram told by

unjust leader from the Justice Party

On the protest voiced by Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) on the Selangor-levy plan, he said local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like Suaram must place priority on national interests and not champion universal human rights and attack the state government for looking after its residents in their own homeland.

Yes, do not champion universal human rights but just look at your party’s name.

Do you stupidly still think that  your party is established for justice to DSAI alone? BUT not for the UNIVERSAL JUSTICE?

Dear DSAI and Datin Seri Dr Wan Aziza, please give an intensive course on Democracy, Human Rights, Justice, Rule of Law, UN Human Right Decleration on this shortsighted person.

If not this MB is morbidly suffering from Myopic astigmatism, a condition in which his eye is affected with myopia (Shortsightedness) in one meridian only: that is on foreigners.

He will later start an anti-Foreigner campaigns_

Now he said foreigners took the work of locals and buy the houses.

Soon he will propose to shut down the Kelang Port to stop exporting goods and petroleum so that Malaysian citizens could enjoy the surplus, unsold, exports. Sure, commodity prices would go down because of unsold, un-exported goods.

Soon he would stop all foreign tourists from entering Selangor to reduce traffic congestion and to give more hotel rooms available to local tourists. Hotel room rates would go down up to the level affordable to all the Malaysian citizens.

Soon he would stop all foreign direct investment to give more opportunity to the locals.

Selfish politicians like him would never think globally.

Selfish politicians usually use national interests as a smokeshield to disguise their cruel deeds.

Selfish and weak politicians always try to exploit or hit the soft spots. Khalid dare not exploit on Malaysian old pendatangs so he is looking the blood of fresh pendatangs.

(Sorry Malaysian Chinese and Malaysian Indians for using this insulting words. I myself was labled like that in my own country and here we all are treated unfairly and unjustly as 10th. Grade foreigners amongst fresh pendatangs)

Selfish politicians always use the (Ultra) Nationalistic sentiments to incite or exploit against Foreigners.

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim should be controlled by DSAI and Datin Seri Dr Wan Aziza.

Justice Party (I hope Justice for all and not for selected races and citizens only) leader, new Chief Minister Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said foreign workers living and working in Selangor enjoyed all the state’s infrastructure, like good schools, health facilities and roads and the state was just calling for them contribute something in return.

I sensed a déjà vu phenomena while reading Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s words_

Former PM Tun Mahathier had also reported to utter these words as a lame excuse when he imposed increased medical fees for the foreigners.


  • Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim  is ignorant that legal foreign workers’ children are not allowed at all in any government schools!
  • Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim  is ignorant that the government had built 3000 schools only for the illegal immigrants from Indonesia. (According to NST front page news and photograph of a school)

Even PR holders are denied the good faculties in Public or Government Universities nowadays.


  • Local students are subsidized using part of our levies and income-taxes.
  • Even in the expensive private universities, locals are supported by using the foreigners’ levies and income-taxes.
  • Adding salt to that do you know that we need to pay  more then locals even in the very expensive Private Universities? And one idiot is asking to charge even more on foreigners in the local universities. Is this the Justice?

Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim should open his eyes and fight for that injustices and then I am sure the foreign workers would be willing to pay even hundred times more than he proposed.

He is ignorant that Government health facilities always charge THREE TIMES first clast fees to the foreigners while keeping them in the Third Class.

  • He should fight to charge same rate as locals at hospitals if he wish to charge again in his state.
  • He came from Justice party: after charging those levies (when the locals earning the same salary are usually exempted from paying income-tax because of low earning.)
  • Afterall those foreign workers are working for your country, your countrymen’s companies that your citizens owned at least 30% and for your citizens.
  • Where is “Justice” if the workers your citizens employed are forced to pay extra charges or sometimes denied medical treatment?

Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim  should be banned from claiming that he is from Justice Party if he continue to deny justice for all.

Using state Roads?

  • Foreigners also pay income-tax or levies.

  • Even if they use the taxis or busses, they paid the fees that is inclusive of all the Road Tax, Import Duty, Sales Tax, AP Fees, Toll fees etc.
  • If the Foreigners buy cars are they exempted from above? Then only there would be JUSTICE!

So don’t give lame excuses Tun and Tan Seri, this is your country and State. If you want to discriminate on poor foreign workers, just do whatever you like. But don’t give those lame silly excuses. Just Hit the Soft Spots!” It is safer than exploiting your own citizens of other races.

By the way, your “zero tolerance on squatters” is also targetting the poor. 

Please read the following news_

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim in the Star Online news 

BANTING: Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) should take a more national approach to foreign worker issues and not attack the state government, says Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.

Khalid said the state government’s proposal to collect RM9 monthly from all migrant workers in the state was aimed at setting up a fund to help provide re-training for local unemployed youths so they could land better jobs.

He said foreign workers living and working in Selangor enjoyed all the state’s infrastructure, like good schools, health facilities and roads and the state was just calling for them contribute something in return.

Well done: Khalid, you have darken your party and opposition.

“Suaram feels that bringing in foreign workers is one of the solutions to human rights problems but they should understand we have to help our own people, too.

“This is a democracy, so we can open up and discuss the matter,” he told reporters after officiating at the closing ceremony of the training for local authorities’ enforcement officers at the Selangor Enforcement Training Centre (Pulapes) in Jugra here yesterday.

On Monday, Suaram executive director Yap Swee Seng hit out at the state government’s proposal, calling it unjust as foreign workers received low wages and were often exploited by employers or recruitment agencies with non-payment, unjust deduction of salary, long working hours and unfair dismissals.

He added that migrant workers were barely surviving and probably in debt after paying exorbitant fees to come to work in Malaysia.

Khalid meanwhile said the RM4,000 in levy and agency charges migrant workers paid was too large a sum, and the state planned to call on the Federal Government to reduce the amount.

He also proposed that a centralised information system be set up to keep an accurate record of foreign workers in the state.

“I was among the people involved in the corporatisation of the system for foreign workers and I can show ways to keep tabs on even the illegal workers,” he said.

Khalid also said the Federal Government should not cast aside suggestions just because they came from opposition parties and should accept the good

“We want to show the federal government how to keep records on illegal workers (Have you use illegals in your old palmoil company?) by having the state levy. I will set up a centralised information system to keep correct records on those who come and work in the state,” he said.

Abdul Khalid said the RM3,000 to RM4,000 charged by migrant worker agencies was high and that for the Selangor government this was not reasonable.

(Then you have heart to extort extra RM 9.00, that will definitely pass onto the poor workers.)

(Have your old company pay the levies for your workers.  Afterall Tun said that levies were meant to made the employers expensive to hire foreigners but Tun and all of you close your eyes and look other way round when the poor foreign workers have to pay those money.)

If you are man enough demand part of the levies to be paid to state governments from the immigration or MOF.

He said millions of ringgit were paid by foreign workers to recruiting agencies that brought them to the country and the Malaysian government collected a levy but eventually the agents concerned did not know where the workers were and this “flood of foreign workers” created problems for society.

Although migrant workers, especially the illegal ones, were eventually repatriated by the government, the problem did not seem to end as they returned to the country and the ones who benefited were the travel agents and migrant workers recruitment agencies, Abdul Khalid said.

Selangor wants to exploit migrants?

From the Susan Loone’s blog, complete with comments there.






Khalid Ibrahim, the newly minted Selangor chief minister wants companies with migrant workers to pay RM9 each so that the money can fund training courses for unemployed persons.

It’s a silly policy, short-sighted and shows lack of human compassion for the workers involved. Khalid cannot just shoot off crap from his mouth as he likes. Suggestions like this involve policy changes. Policies should not be changed according to the whims and fancies of whoever is in power.

First of all, the companies involved are not going to pay this amount from their pocktes. They’ll deduct it from the migrants’ salaries, which is already chicken feed.  These employers spend more on food, accesories and health care for their pet dogs and cats, you can be sure. 

Khalid, in all his mightiness, as ex-Guthrie CEO or current menteri besar, I am afraid, can’t do a thing to stop towkays and bosses from exploiting their workers further in this way. And what does it say about Selangor, the new and riches Opposition state?


Secondly, what has the migrants got to do with unemployed persons? Why must they be made to pay for our unemployment problems?

The very fact that migrants are at work, though miserably paid, shows that we have job opportunities. But why are they still many, many unemployed people in Malaysia?

It’s not that locals do not want to do the kind of jobs that migrants currently do. Employers prefer migrants because they can be easily exploited, and abused. Everyone makes money when a migrant comes to work in this country. From agents to employers,  government official, airline companies, doctors, house owners, everyone! Except the migrant themselves.


It’s not that the migrants have deprived the locals of their jobs, that’s lazy thinking. But its the government policies, employers and agents, who work in cohorts, to make sure they make the most profits, leaving locals with less opportunity for jobs. It’s a vicious cycle, I know. But that’s the reality.

If unemployment is the main issue, there are other ways to takle it. Make Malaysia more conducive for investment, for one. Secondly, require employers to hire more locals, make it a policy. Improve the education system. These are long term policies, but worth investing in.

The education system sucks that students are not prepared for life skills when they finish school. All the education ministry wants to do is make sure that students dont get involved in politics. Well, do you think they can choose what’s best for their lives, if they can’t even be allowed to think about what kind of country they want, or which leaders to govern it?

Khalid’s putting his wrong foot into this. Has he met with migrant workers or those working on migrant issues yet or even the unemployed to know what the main problem is? Consultation is the key. Or else, you are no different from your BN/UMNO predecessors.

Perhaps, I am saying this too soon. To me, one thing has become crystal clear. It seems pointless to have so many social/ NGO activists in government, if none of them can influence policies.

20 Responses to “Selangor wants to exploit migrants?”

  1. tzarina Says:
    March 27, 2008 at 6:41 pm


    I also blogged on a related issue yday…on the fact that our private sector workers and plantation workers do not have a decent minimum wage…at this moment, a loose definition of min wage is applied…and its rm350! Companies like Guthrie, Sime Darby and most sweat shops that we call factories are blood suckers. We need to control immigration, have better labor laws and improve in our own local economy so that we become less dependent on foreign investments, who are currently holding our economy by its balls!

    My take:

  2. Well said Susan. It`s an idiotic idea.
    Khalid is basing it on his experience in the plantation sector where immigrant workers stay on the estates itself. It`s very different elsewhere – as you rightfully point out.

  3. The righteous man Says:
    March 27, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    It is a good move by Khalid. It’s not so much penalising the migrant workers but more so companies that have become hooked on cheap labour. Khalid must find a way to ensure the levy does not come from the pockets of the workers but rather from the companies.
    Something has to be done to raise salaries and get Malaysians interested in jobs that are now being incresingly taken over by foreign labour.

  4. silly mistake, Khalid!
    the Selangor new MB is stupid enuf for not realise that the labour issues fall under the Federal jurisdiction. unless, u have the majority in Parliament to be able to implement this policy. LoL!

  5. Right you are, Susan
    The new MB should not bring more miseries to migrant workers as thet are already harassed enough under BN laws and bad policies.
    He should institute a minimum wage for them instead.

  6. sloone,u may have a point there,let me tell my story with foreign workers and the hassle i had to go throu with federal goverment.firstly i am running a small company specialising with elite group of customer.for many years i keep on trying to get locals to work for me,but the youngters just refuse to learn my trade.i have to anwser to my customer if the job not done according to specification and time frame.the last resort i had to get foreign workers.just to bring in 2 skill workers,i had begg kdn for approval,but fails.this business my rice bowl.backdoor approval cost me $4k.agent and levy for 2 workers 10k.the workers is paid monthly salary of $1500.00.No deduction on their levy.house rental for them 600.00.am i crazy to pay foreign worker all in 2500 amonth.THE PROBLEM IS A LOT OF HIDDEN COST INVOLVE IN HIRING FOREIGN WORKERS.If I PAY PEANUT I GET MONKEY,THE PROBLEM OF FEDERAL GOVERMENT THEY DONT SUPPORT HIGHLY SKILL FOREIGN WORKER FOR SMALL COMPANY LIKE ME,BUT THEY CAN ISSUE THOUSANDS OF PERMITS TO OUTSOURCE COMPANY AND ABUSE THE FOREIGN WORKERs AND SMALL COMPANY LIKE ME.INFACT THE LOCAL PR INDONESIAN I PAY $100.00 PERDAY BUT AFTER SOME TIMES THEY THINK THEY ARE THE BOS.THEY WANT SUB CONTRACT MY JOB TO THEM AND I BECOMES THEIR BROKER TO FIND JOB.BUT THE BIG COMPANY WILL PAY THEM PEANUT AND ABUSE THEM.WHY ARE THE ILLEGAL WORKERS AROUND?ITS DUE TO THE BIG COMPANY HIIRE THEM.SMALL COMPANY DARE NOT TO HIRE ILLEGAL WORKERS BECAUSE POLICE HARRASSMENT.MOST OF MY JOB IN GATED COMMUNITY.I NEED LEGAL WORKERS,BUT I PAY THROU MY ASS TO GET THEM.JUST LAST YEAR I TURN DOWN ALMOST 100K PROFIT JUST BECAUSE I CANT GET WORKERS WHO IS SKILL ENOUGH TO FOLLOWS MY INSTRUCTION.MOST OF MY WORK ON REFFERAL BASIS AND I NEED TO PERFORM.MY WAITING LIST LAST YEAR FOR PEOPLE TO EMPLOY ME IS 6MONTHS.VERY2 STRESSFULL .ITS LIKE A TAXI DRIVER,THEY DO THE HARD WORK BUT THE PERMITS OF TAXI HOLD BY CRONIES OF POLITICIAN.FINALLY THE COUNTRY PAYING THE HIDDEN COST.thanks sloone.raj raman.still dreaming become malaysiaputra or i think better become a politician to earn back door money.BELIEVE IT OR NOT my country is corrupt from private sector to goverment.JUST STUDY HOW THE SINGAPORE GOVERMENT ISSUE PERMITS TO FORREIGN WORKERS.AS LONG YOU CAN PROOF YOU NEED WORKERS AND YOU GOT JOB TO PAY THE LEVY,ITS DONE.NO HIDDEN COST.

  7. well said susan!

    the tan sri is starting to show the quality of our GLCs CEOs -)

  8. You are reacting too soon. The bringing in of foreign workers is big business and the middle man makes tons of money at the expense of the workers and the companies that employ them.

    Policies regarding foreign labour are made at federal and not at state level. All Khalid can do is work at state level and introduce measures that will discourage companies from employing foreign workers. If locals do not want to work at factory level then it is a sign that we must start moving away from labour intensive industries to up-market ones that require less labour. This is part of the change that must be made as we move to become a developed country.

    Unless one has a complete grasp of the situation it is immature and unjust to start spewing condemning criticisms.

  9. Erm yeah, Eli is on the EXCO yar….she should have wide experience dealing with the rights of foreigners.

  10. sloone,please give some times for the new mb.for the last 50 years bn rule this country and created a mess.this new mb might not have the grip on the running of goverment.just give him time.them if he fails,we attack him.have mercy for new comer.everybody must be given a chance,he didnt demolish,offend any races.he need some moral support.we just cant keep on attack a new mb.its takes time to be a politician.whether good mb or bad mb.time will decide.wait until then.A HUMBLE REQUEST FROM ME TO ALL BLOGGERS.i not is cronies or i know him personaly.all the new 4 state mb need some breathing space for them.alot of files missing,alot of hanky panky by previous bn.its will take some times for them to perform.meanwhile just watch them like hawk from above,dont attack.they will panic and create more blundered due to the pressure.

  11. Excellent piece Susan

    already the foreign worker’s salaries are normally reduced or chopped in some invisible and invincible ways by the ruthless employers where the Industrial Relations Department will take years to negotiate.The poor workers will either be stuck in the oppression or return home prior to their term and the pitiless brokers will care less for them.

    And now this. Khalid seriously needs to get to the ground before making wrong statements that the BN will start to be abusive before the new government gets a chance to prove itself

  12. Penang Exile Says:
    March 27, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    I wonder whether MB Khalid has been misquoted by the BN loyalist press?

  13. Well said Susan. Migrant workers are human too. They work hard and deserve every penny they earned. Why penalised them further?

    I was one of those overseas student in Australia in the 80s who worked the shit out of every summer vacation and during weekend of school terms just to save enough for my school fees plus living expenses. I put up at least 16 hours works every day during summer vacation like a migrant worker since my parent can’t afford and no helps from our Goverment. I have never regreted and managed to complete my degree with flying colours and within the shortest period of time in 5 years duration at the University of Melbourne.

    Why countries like America, Australia & Canada cherish their migrant workers, while we the racist Malaysian(including Tan Sri Khalid ibrahim) must take every oppurtunities to penalised our migrant workers. Eihter our Tan Sri has a loose mouth trying to score points or is he just ignorant to know that the mighty America, Australia & Canada were once built by migrant workers?

    Please stop this racist crap. Treat our migrant worker more humanely

  14. slone,i just need a favour,my email raj-raman@hotmail.com also being used by somebody.whenever i log in to kit or other bloggers,the message says somebody registered using my email.i not a computer savy.infact i hate paper work and computer.just 3 months ago i got registed my email due to hindraf factor.my business web site also doesnt have email due to i not bothered about replying to my customer.i communicate by phone.so how come someone can have the same email as mine?i only use my email for bloggers like u,anil and haris.others seldom or i cant register with them due to someone using my same email.is it possible?thanks.raj raman.hope you help me.u r the expect and someone have cloned your blogs.same boat,different problem.

  15. Khalib Ibrahim is just a liability to Malaysia! Khalib is using the out-of-date managing plantation system which is beneficial to the directors and not the plantation workers or staffs.

    Managing an ‘advanced state’ like Selangor is a different ball-game and therefore we need a different game plan. Kahlib was only an ‘estate player’ when he was in the plantation. Now he has promoted to a state player but still only qualified as an ‘estate player.’

    Can an estate player compete with a state player? Looking at the score-line:

    Selangor state : 6 Oil Palm Plantation : 1

    Therefore it’s a disaster for an ‘estate player’ to assume the role of a ’state player’.

    If you have in doubt on the above analogy, why not we have a match between the Selangor state team pitting against an Oil Palm Plantation team literally?

    If Khalib couldn’t even helm an estate plantation team profitably and effectively, do you think Khalib could helm a ’state team’ and maintain it at ’state level’, let alone at SEA/ Asia/ Olympic/ World level?

    Looking the the quality of the state councilors in the various states, we know that it’s a gone case for the various states.

    Have the Malaysians in Semenanjung had any confidence with the state or federal levels?

    Why did all these politicians get involved in politics in the first place? Are they like the late Mother Theresa who was really dedicated to humankind? Or like our dear Susan Loone who put service before self?

    The notion is that once a politician got into a plausible position in politics he/she would get whatever he/she could during their tenure ala Khir Toyo and clique.

    Why did the new state executive council refuse to declare their assets? What they have got to hide? Unless they have blended into a new corrupt team replacing the previous regime with another new rotten-to-the-core state system.

    The politicians are crook. Otherwise there will not be so many dynasties all over the parties all over the states.

    Can Theresa Kok be like the late Mother Theresa? For a few years perhaps. Then either she also corrupts or will be booted out by the warlords/ eunuchs in her parties! Why did Fong Poh Kuan resort to threatening to resign before the 12th GE? And that Ding Dong bell in Bahau? The previous three Musketeers and so on….? Politics is a filthy game (highest level) in Malaysia.

    Politicians in Malaysia are just thieves and robbers stealing/ plundering the assets of Malaysia/ Malaysians.

    They are real liabilities to the people of Malaysia. They make Malaysia bankrupt but paradoxically they make themselves super/ hyper rich.

    For example, a money making system for Khalib and clique:

    Levy on legal/ illegal migrant worker : RM 9 per head.

    Total amount of revenue collected from legal/ illegal migrant workers: 1.5 million x 9= RM 13.5 millions / month.

    Total amount accrued from the poor/ miserable legal/ illegal migrant workers per year = RM147 millions.

    Wow! Sure this Khalid knows how to make money for himself the crooked way. He is learning fast and is as good as Kill Toyo!

    Sure in due time Khalib and clique’s assets are catching up with the likes of Mahathir, Daim, Tengkuku Razali, Kill Toya, Ghafa Baba (destination not determined)”’ etc.

    No wonder Khalib has no ba** to reveal his assets!

  16. I think you guys just jump to conclusion too soon. I rather think the idea is worth looking into. Below is the extract of the interview by Malaysiakini with the MB. I don’t think he is been unfair.

    “M : What are your short-term and long term goals for Selangor?

    K: Selangor has got opportunities as much as challenges. One of the challenges is how to accommodate the growth in population. In Selangor and Federal Territory, the Malaysian population is around five million, while the total number of people is about eight million. At least 1.5 million of these people are foreign labourers.

    They bring in economic resources to the state as well as social issues. I thought that over the years, if Selangor is to progress, we have to find ways and means to reduce our dependence on foreign labour. That is one of our objectives.

    To solve that, I think we should also tackle the issue of employment among youth – those between the ages of 22 and 35. I want to make sure that all the youth in Selangor are eventually fully employed. What I want to do is to have a skills training programme to enhance the quality of the youth so that they can work in higher-income areas and be, for example, artisans such as specialised welders.

    Young ladies can train to become nurses, dental assistants, or work as assistants in surgery rooms, for example. Young men could become audio and computer specialists, and move from low-skilled jobs to higher skilled jobs.

    After two to three years in our programme, our target is for these youth to earn at least RM2,000 a month. If that happens, and say there were 500,000 youths in this programme, we would have reduced the income gap while at the same time create more consumer demand.

    How will I fund this project? If we have about 1.5 million foreign workers, I would like to propose that our employers in Selangor who hire foreign workers allocate RM9 a month per foreign worker. This money would go towards helping to train the youths. RM9 a month is equivalent to about RM100 a year. If there are 1.5 million foreign workers, I will be accumulating RM150 million which serves the purpose of funding for the training.

    I don’t think the employers will grumble too much, because they are investing in the future of the state. Due to the decreased dependence on foreign labour, there will be less crimes, less social problems, less dependency on facilities and medical, and so on. That is the tradeoff between the two. If I can do that, then I can move Selangor into the future.

    M : So you’re trying to reduce the dependency on foreign workers.

    K : We need to. It may not be so in the short-term, but it should work in the medium term. I do not think Malaysia can afford such dependency for long. Foreign labour imposes demands on our infrastructure and other facilities such as medical treatment, schooling for their children, and so on.

    M : Foreign labourers are causing these demands?

    K : Yeah. People would say I’m unfair and discriminatory in this regard. We like foreign labour to live and work with us, but we also want to develop our own home-grown capacity.”

  17. Chan Choon Kit Says:
    March 27, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    To start with, it’s Khalid Ibrahim, not Khalib!

    I believe many posters here are too premature in criticizing Khalid. His proposal of RM9 levy makes good economic sense, never mind if the humane bit of it is compromised a little. Ask any economist on how to control influx of goods, they will tell you to impose extraneous charges. It is then merely a question of how much, how soon, implementation strategy, pecuniary costs versus benefits accrued, etc.

    Furtherelse, I do see a lot of good signs from Khalid ever since he took charge. His take on the Councillors’ bungalows (prefering to rent out to high-flying CEOs and bring in revenue rather than demolishing them) and even his latest vision of a squatter-free Selangor albeit with a more humane approach (again this is implementation strategy) speaks volumes of the passion he has for Selangor. And now, Khalid has instructed Ronnie Liu to look into the hillside development of Bukit Antarabangsa more closely and perhaps stop such developments. Khalid truly has moved on since he took over, don’t the rest of you agree?

    He’s even made more sense as a leader than even the Cabinet Ministers since they took office. And look what stupid things those Ministers have come up with? One said the water agreement is valid although we know a caretaker government can’t be allowed to enter into contract. Another Minister (the one who likes to wield the keris) has ‘quietly’ issued an edict that no leader from those 5 states are welcome into any school functions. Imagine these are indeed the very first concrete words/actions from BN ministers!

    Here we have Khalid performing at a reasonably good speed that a leader should be instead of concentrating on petty stuff. I don’t see the other BN minsters proposing on how to solve the migrant workers issue — so far only talk and more talk! And I also don’t see how the other posters here who were quick to condemn Khalid are giving good recommendations on solving this issue as well. Instituting a minimum wage is perhaps the best suggestion I’ve read so far, but we know that is not something any state administration can act on. So, Susan and other posters, please hold your stance and let Khalid work out a solution. Perhaps some solutions may have leaky holes, but Khalid and Exco will stitch it back.

  18. RM$9 lecy isn’t that much, other countries higher than suggested by Khalid
    & THE RM$9 must be on employers not the workers

    There are solution to get the job done, think out of the box
    Don’t be too emotional

  19. Susan,

    Your concern seems to be that the foreign workers will be exploited by this proposed levy; rather than whether the proposed use of the proceeds will work.

    Well, what makes you so sure that the levy will be deducted from the workers? You seem to have made up your mind that this will happen. Because of this, you then claim “Why must they (ie the foreign workers) be made to pay for our unemployment problems?”

    You then claim, “Everyone makes money when a migrant comes to work in this country. From agents to employers, government official, airline companies, doctors, house owners, everyone! Except the migrant themselves.” How can this be true? As lowly paid as these migrant workers are – they must be better off than in their home country. Otherwise why would they come? It makes no sense !

  20. Maybe he can convince the federal government to implement policies that make employer pay for that? I think it is too soon to judge now. What he wanted to do may be good for the state, but their credibility requires transparency (like where the money is going to go). For sure, it will not be easy and there will be objections from a lot of businessmen.


See this great Malaysiakini news,

  1. Permas: New MB’s statements ‘chilling’ by Soon Li Tsin 

The community residents’ association of Selangor and Federal Territory (Permas) is disappointed with Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim’s decision to continue with the ‘zero squatters’ policy.   

Opposition leader Wan Azizah unveils bold agenda

The nation’s first female parliamentary opposition leader, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, today unveiled an ambitious agenda to boost economic growth and fight corruption.

Access to equal opportunities

Strengthening race relations

Withdraw Monthly Fee

on Migrant Workers

Wednesday, 26 March 2008 
Suaram is deeply disturbed with the plan of the Selangor state government to collect RM10 monthly fee from all migrant workers in the state of Selangor. The new policy was announced by the Chief Minister of the newly formed Selangor state government, Khalid Ibrahim recently during a press interview with Chinese press.

According to the Chief Minister, the money collected will be used for the purpose of setting up a re-training fund for unemployed youths. It aims to equip them with more skills and in a long run reduce the reliance on migrant workers. 

The migrant workers community is

  • one of the most exploited
  • and most marginalized groups in the society.
  • They work in conditions described as 3-Ds – dirty, demeaning and dangerous,
  • and theirs are jobs which the locals shun off.
  • They receive low wages
  • and are often exploited by employers
  • or recruitment agencies for non-payment,
  • unjust deduction of salary,
  • long working hours,
  • unfair dismissal etc.

By taxing the migrant workers

  • who are barely surviving
  • and probably in debt in order to pay the exorbitant fees to come to work in Malaysia ,
  • an extra heavy burden is added on the migrant workers and their families.

And to use the money collected from the migrant workers to re-train local unemployed youth and eventually replace the migrant workers, is scandalous, to say the least.

Even if the monthly fee is to be paid by the employer and not the migrant workers, we are concerned that eventually this fee will be deducted from the migrant worker’s wages one way or another.

The new policy reflects how unsensitized Malaysian political parties,

  • be they in the opposition

  • or the government,

are to the plight of migrant workers.

The Parti Rakyat Keadilan (PKR) has espoused the principle of justice and won a huge victory with the pledge to the people to fight against the widening income gap between the “have” and the “have-nots”.

Certainly, taxing the poor migrant workers to assist local unemployed youth, do not measure up to the principle and spirit of justice.

Suaram calls on Chief Minister Khalid Ibrahim to immediately withdraw this unjust policy. We also urge the Chief Minister to consult civil society organizations who are working on migrant workers issues before making any policy decisions in the future.

Yap Swee Seng
Executive Director

Kindly consider granting

amnesty or Royal Pardon for

the jailed three Burmese brothers

Dr Zafar Shah

Three Burmese brothers jailed but how about ASEAN leaders who always shield and protect those killer SPDC?

We are not condoning or supporting terrorism. Burning and assaulting of diplomatics are wrong. But what push those three Rohingyas to run amok. What is the root cause of of this problem.

We all have to accept that we could not yet indict SPDC Myanmar Generals for the Crimes against Humanity, Ethnic Cleansing and other crimes.

Then just for thought: how about Myanmar-Crime Collobrator ASEAN leaders who shilded the SPDC so that they could continue to rule Myanmar and continue committing those crimes.

I know it is difficult or impossible in this world but on the Judgement day, infront of GOD/ALLAH those ASEAN Leaders would be surely judged and punished.

So kindly consider granting amnesty or Royal Pardon for them.

Dr Zafar Shah

Read the present news and I hope the readers could remember that they had complaint to the judge about their jailors atrocities showing their wounds.

  • What happen to their reports and those criminal torturers?
  • Are declared cleared?
  • Where is the justice?

They were tortured in your crony SPDC in Burma.

  • Myanmar Ambassy discriminated them again.
  • They were denied asylum because they are not orang puteh Muslims nor from Indonesia or Philippine or Thai.
  • They were discriminated by UNHCR because they are not CHRISTIANS, not Chins but Muslims.

No wonder ASEAN countries are facing one disaster after another.

I hope Allah/God knows the truth and would dispend justice.

Three Burmese brothers jailed for embassy attack


Three brothers were each jailed for 36 years by a Malaysian court for an attack on the Burmese embassy in Kuala Lumpur, state media reported yesterday.

Abdul Fariyas Hardi, 46, Mohamad Salim, 42, and Muslim Salim, 39 – from Burma – were found guilty of the attempted murder of a Burmese envoy and committing mischief by causing damage to the embassy, Bernama said.

The men – who were arrested and detained after the attack in April 2004 – refused the judge’s advice to make a plea of mitigation and maintained their innocence, the report said.

“You have been detained for nearly four years but you have not shown any remorse over the crimes you have committed,” Judge Akhtar Tahir said, according to Bernama. They were sentenced to 18 years for each offence, to run consecutively from their day of arrest.


The worst National Registration Department in the world

Although the Malaysian National Registration Department got the best delivery award amongst all the Government Agencies, we found out a lot of delaying tactics and ever increasing RED TAPE RULES for us in this department. Shamefully may be one of the worst NRD department in the WHOLE WORLD.

The most inefficient delivery system for us but curiously the best for the YAB AAB’s Administration. For us they take few years just to issue or to change ICs. May be deliberate delaying tactics for us only because I had read in the Newspapers that they just take one hour to replace an IC, My Card during election times.

It takes a dozen of years to get a RED IC or PR and we need to wait exactly TWELVE YEARS from the date of getting PR, to be JUST eligible to APPLY for the citizenship. And it would take FEW DOZENS of years again to get the approval or to be accepted as the citizens. So, most of the NON INDON, NON THAI MALAY MUSLIM or NON PHILLIPINO MALAYS, first migrants would die before getting BLUE ICs. It is especially difficult for Myanmars even if one is the Muslim Professional.

This is clear case of discrimination on foreigners. Where is transparency? Where is Rule of Law? Where is Justice? Where are Human Rights? Where is the ASEAN spirit? Where is MUSLIM BROTHER HOOD?

 And except for allowed to stay and work in Malaysia, most of the other privileges of citizens are conveniently denied to the PR holders here, not like other countries around the world.


Please read my article_

Applying for Malaysian citizenship



MyPR card from July

PUTRAJAYA: The present permanent resident (PR) card will no longer be valid effective July, making way for the more technologically-sophisticated and highly secure MyPR, Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar announced.

He said permanent residents had been given ample time to make the change to MyPR, which was introduced in June 2006.

“I believe we have been fair by giving more than sufficient time for them to make the change. We have extended the deadline from 2006 till last year and we have even further stretched the grace period till June this year.

“We have no plans to extend the deadline. After June, the old PR card will automatically be invalid as identity card for Malaysia’s permanent residents,” he said.

Syed Hamid was speaking to reporters after visiting the National Registration Department together with his deputies, Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid and Datuk Chor Chee Heung yesterday.

To date, there are 376,245 PR card holders, of whom 204,901 have yet to change to MyPR.

Syed Hamid said it was for permanent residents to change to MyPR to avoid confusion as the old PR card was of the same colour as the identity card issued to Malaysian citizens.

“The only difference between the two is the card for PRs has a red-coloured star on it, which can easily be overlooked.

“MyPR has a red background, is equipped with high-security features and has the country of origin of the holder stated on it,” he added.

Syed Hamid said since Independence, the Government has awarded citizenship to two million foreigners based on many criteria.

On another matter, he said some 190,000 people had yet to change their identity card and another 195,000 had not collected their MyKad over the past two years.








Diplomat wounded


In the incident, diplomat Khin Maung Lynn was hospitalised with severe wounds to his head and hands and the embassy, in the capital’s Ampang diplomatic district, was gutted by fire.The men, of Muslim Rohingyas origin, were believed to have been disgruntled after trying for several days to have their documents verified by embassy staff as they sought refugee status with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

The UNHCR had appointed two lawyers to represent the brothers but they subsequently dismissed their counsel, Bernama said.

The Malaysian government says there are about 25,644 Burmese asylum-seekers – mostly Rohingya Muslims – in the country but refugee groups believe the real figure is more than double that.

Last of all let’s readDatuk Marina Mahathier’s wise, farsighted and KIND ARTICLES.

The bogeyman’s to blame


The Star



We see the constant blaming of foreign workers for all our ills, but none of it can really stand up to scrutiny. 

IT’S a tried and true political strategy that when things aren’t quite rosy, one should distract the people by focusing on something else or coming up with a bogeyman.  

The former diverts attention from what is really on peoples’ minds, while the latter seeks someone or something else to blame. Sometimes politicians even attempt a combination of both. 

A recent survey by the Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research polled people on several issues, including what they deemed most currently important. At the top of the list was price increases and inflation.  

Second, they are concerned about ethnic inequalities; and third, about crime and public safety. Everything else, including politics, corruption, drug abuse and illegal immigrants rank much further down the list. 

What we think people should be concerned with, and what they actually are, can sometimes be very different. But anyone with a modicum of insight will already know that the issues highlighted in the survey are what people talk about all the time.  

People are concerned about how they may go about their daily lives at a reasonable level of comfort and safety.  

Can their lives carry on as before, or even improve? And can they and their families walk about without fear for their personal safety? 

They obviously also see ethnic inequalities as a contributing threat to the peaceful environment in which they can earn a living, work and play securely. 

But are these what matters to those up there? Instead, we have old stories regurgitated to distract from what is new.  

For instance, the old story that in an opposition-held state supermarket lines are gender-segregated came immediately after an uproar over similarly-segregated schools in government-held states.  

At least, in the first instance, this was a policy that was announced by the government in power, but in the second it was happening in defiance of regulations.  

Both cases are of course “Band-Aid policies”, where male bad behaviour is accepted as normal while females are inconvenienced, rather than (shock, horror) empowered to deal with it. 

The bogeyman tactic is rather like Margaret Thatcher starting a war over some distant islands in order to distract the populace from local economic issues.  

Here, we see the constant blaming of foreign workers for everything, from lack of jobs, to crime and violence, and to the spread of diseases. None of it can really stand up to scrutiny.  

It may be politically correct to complain about foreign workers taking jobs from locals, but these are not jobs that locals want.  

Who exactly wants to work in plantations, clean toilets or care for other people’s babies?  

If it were true that locals want these jobs, then we should set up job agencies specialising in filling up these vacancies with only locals. 

It is disingenuous to say that foreigners keep “pouring in” to take up employment here when we know that many of these foreigners are being duped into selling everything they have to pay unscrupulous agents, and then finding that no jobs await them here.  

If these jobs do not exist for them, then obviously they don’t exist for locals either. 

Neither is it honest to say that foreigners are contributing to the rise in crime in this country. The police statistics themselves dispute these.  

According to a fascinating paper by the Royal Malaysian Police, in 2004, the proportion of crimes committed by foreigners was only 2% of the total crime index, and on a per capita basis Malaysians commit more crimes than foreigners.  

Incidentally, the police statistics do not really support the perception that there is a huge rise in violent crime. Most crimes in the country are in fact property crimes such as car theft. 

But it serves political purposes to fuel this negative perception of foreigners with racist and stereotyped “facts”. For instance, it is not true that foreigners are running around full of disease and infecting locals.  

Malaysians still make up the vast majority of people infected with HIV, and they are certainly infecting each other and not foreigners.  

To imply that we should bar foreigners from coming in because of their alleged criminal intent and diseases is actually not going to contribute much to any sustainable solution.  

Incidentally, the same police paper puts the blame on economic inequalities and unemployment as the reasons for crime, a situation not unlike many countries in the world. 

Ahead of elections, we need to keep focused on the real issues, even while politicians try to distract us with fairytales.

Kudos to honest foreign worker at food court


I AGREE with Marina Mahathir’s “The bogeyman’s to blame,” (The Star, Jan 30). She provided examples and statistics to clear the misconception that the influx of foreign workers is the reason behind the increasing crime rate. 

I attest to the fact that foreigners cannot be blamed for the rising crime rates.  

We are expatriates from Singapore living in KL for the past year. On Jan 19, my family and I were dining at the MidValley Food Junction. Due to my carelessness, I left my wallet there. 

I lodged a police report with the hope of retrieving the wallet with important documents intact.  

The next day, my bank contacted me to say that someone had found my wallet and called them as the telephone number was on my bankcard.  

When I went to collect my wallet, I was amazed to note that it was a staff of the Food Junction who found my wallet on the table.  

The money was still in it and no documents were missing. 

I would like to thank Omar Faruk who took the effort to report the matter to his branch manager Kassim Lakana. 

It was the latter that took the initiative to contact my bank. 

My heartfelt gratitude goes out to Omar for his integrity. 

Your actions have definitely changed our perception of foreign workers in KL. 


Exploiting Human Beings…

A Global Disease?

Not too long ago, at one corner of the Lucky Gardens roundabout, a ship container was suddenly placed there. At about the same time, large pipes appeared in the roundabout itself indicating some work needed to be done there.


The container, it turned out, was meant to house workers. In full view of passing motorists, these foreign workers lived, ate and slept in this small container. They hung their clothes up to dry outside their little home and in the evenings, sat around the tiny triangular plot of land that bordered that roundabout chatting and relaxing. How they relaxed was a mystery since they were continually stared at by everyone passing by………………

From the Blog of Marina Mahathier, the daughter of Tun Dr Mahathier Mohamad. She is a newspaper columnist, blogger, occasional TV and film producer and an activist.

Read more





Some Islamic values that rich muslim leaders try to ignore






After the end of the War, Niemoller became an important figure in the World Council of Churches, and traveled all over the world, including the United States to share his sorrows and joys, as well as wisdom. In one occasion, Niemoller recalled:

“In Germany they (the Nazis) came first for the Communists and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

“Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up for me”.

Martin Niemoller well in his masterpiece on the history of the Nazi Germany, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich – A history of Nazi Germany (New York, Touchstone, 1990; first published in 1959)

“The Reverend Martin Niemoller had personally welcomed the coming to power of the Nazis in 1933. In that year his autobiography, From U-Boat to Pulpit, had been published.

In Chapter 5 of Book IV of his magnum opus, City of God, St Augustine draws the attention of his readers to the similarities and difference between a government (“kingdom”) and a criminal gang, by posing the following question:

“Remove justice, and what are kingdoms but gangs of criminals on a large scale? What are criminal gangs but petty kingdoms?

“For it was a witty and a truthful rejoinder which was given by a captured pirate to Alexander the Great.

The king asked the fellow, “What is your idea, in infesting the sea?”

And the pirate answered, with uninhibited insolence,

“The same as yours, in infesting the earth! But because I do it with a tiny craft, I’m called a pirate; because you have a mighty navy, you’re called an emperor.” (St Augustine, City of God, London, Penguin, 1984, p139)

It is the value of justice that self-evidently distinguishes a government from a gang of criminals or pirates.

In Islam if we have no power to fight back the tyrant unjust ruler,

it is compulsory for us to migrate (or Hijrat).

If we stay put, suffer and die under the oppressive ruler,

Allah will not give us any rewards, but will condemn us.

After all, Allah had given the whole world to the victims to escape and start a new life.

Our Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) had ordered his followers to migrate from Mecca to Medina for the same reason. Prophet Musa or Moses had also led the Jews to migrate from the tyrant, cruel Pharos of Egypt.


Islam lays down rights for man as a human being.

Inthe Holy Quran, God has said:

“And whoever saves a life it is as though he had saved the lives of all mankind” (5:32).

There can be several forms of saving man from death.

 A man may be ill or wounded, irrespective of his nationality, race or colour. If you know that he is in need of your help, then it is your duty that you should arrange for his treatment for disease or wound.

If he is dying of starvation, then it is your duty to feed him so that he can ward off death.

If he is drowning or his life is at stake, then it is your duty to save him.

Regarding the economic rights, the Holy Quran says:

And in their wealth there is acknowledged right for the needy and destitute. (51:19)

Anyone who needs help, irrespective of the race, religion or citizenship has a right in the property and wealth of the Muslims.

If you are in a position to help and a needy person asks you for help or if you come to know that he is in need, then it is your duty to help him.

“Indeed, the noblest among you before God are the most heedful of you” (49:13).


Monday, August 6, 2007 Rantings by Marina Mahathier


Exploiting Human Beings…A Global Disease?

Not too long ago, at one corner of the Lucky Gardens roundabout, a ship container was suddenly placed there. At about the same time, large pipes appeared in the roundabout itself indicating some work needed to be done there.

The container, it turned out, was meant to house workers. In full view of passing motorists, these foreign workers lived, ate and slept in this small container. They hung their clothes up to dry outside their little home and in the evenings, sat around the tiny triangular plot of land that bordered that roundabout chatting and relaxing. How they relaxed was a mystery since they were continually stared at by everyone passing by. The big question for me however was, where do they go to the bathroom? There were no visible waterbearing pipes, no signs of toilets nor power cables.

One night the entire cabin and its inhabitants disappeared. The neighbourhood must have complained. Whatever work they were supposed to have done was never even started.

It begged the question: who would do such a thing, house workers in a box with no amenities for decent human living. What sort of employer could be so inhumane? What made them move in the end?

It made me wonder what sorts of deprivations migrant workers everywhere are forced to endure and what could they do about it? Then I found this story below about Dubai which actually has more foreign workers than their own people. I don’t know if we’ll ever get to that situation but there have been predictions that there will be 5 million migrant workers in Malaysia by 2015. Large numbers of workers who have to suffer inhumane conditions will surely lead to restiveness. The only way to avoid that is to look at the experience of other countries and institute protective measures and better conditions for them now.(And of course ensure that our own workers also enjoyed good working conditions.)

My husband sat next to an Indonesian worker returning home on the plane once. When he asked him what was his experience working in Malaysia like, the man answered, shaking his head “Kejam banget, Pak, orang Malaysia.”

Having seen that dismal cabin that served as housing for those workers, I am inclined to believe him.

Fearful of Restive Foreign Labor, Dubai Eyes Reforms


Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

Foreign workers in Dubai are bused to work sites and live in labor camps.

Published: August 6, 2007

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — They still wake before dawn in desert dormitories that pack a dozen men or more to a room. They still pour concrete and tie steel rods in temperatures that top 110 degrees. They still spend years away from families in India and Pakistan to earn about $1 an hour. They remain bonded to employers under terms that critics liken to indentured servitude.


Foreign Workers and the Building Boom

Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

Workers live in labor camps far from the prosperous, cosmopolitan world of Dubai. They spend years away from their families, work in extreme heat and earn only about $1 an hour.


Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

Meal tickets are distributed at labor camps.


Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

Workers rise before dawn, work six days a week and return to camps, where they have time to do little but eat or sleep. They are under close watch, with no right to unionize and no chance at citizenship.

But construction workers, a million strong here and famously mistreated, have won some humble victories.

After several years of unprecedented labor unrest, the government is seeking peace with this army of sweat-stained migrants who make local citizens a minority in their own country and sustain one of the world’s great building booms. Regulators here have enforced midday sun breaks, improved health benefits, upgraded living conditions and cracked down on employers brazen enough to stop paying workers at all.

The results form a portrait of halting change in a region synonymous with foreign labor and, for many years, labor abuse.

Many rich countries, including the United States, rely on cheap foreign workers. But no country is as dependent as the United Arab Emirates, where foreigners make up about 85 percent of the population and 99 percent of the private work force. From bankers to barbers, there are 4.5 million foreigners here, compared with 800,000 Emirati citizens, according to the Ministry of Labor. About two-thirds of the foreigners are South Asians, including most of the 1.2 million construction workers.

The labor agitation came as a surprise in this city of glass towers and marble-tiled malls where social harmony is part of the marketing plan and political action can seem all but extinct. But when thousands of migrant construction workers walked off the job last year, blocking traffic and smashing parked cars, it became clear that the nonnatives were restless.

“I’m not saying we don’t have a problem,” said Ali bin Abdulla Al Kaabi, the Emirates’ labor minister, who was appointed by the ruling sheiks to upgrade standards and restore stability. “There is a problem. We’re working to fix it.”

Change here is constrained by rival concerns of the sort that shape the prospects of workers worldwide. Like many countries, only more so, the United Arab Emirates needs the foreign laborers but fears their numbers. The recent focus on the workers’ conditions still leaves them under close watch, segregated from the general population, with no right to unionize and no chance at citizenship.

We want to protect the minority, which is us,” Mr. Kaabi said.

Among those buffeted by recent events is Sami Yullah, a 24-year-old pipe fitter from Pakistan, who arrived four years ago. Like many workers, he paid nearly a year’s salary in illegal recruiter’s fees, despite laws here that require employers to bear all the hiring costs. In exchange, he was promised a job building sewer systems at a monthly salary of about $225, nearly twice what he earned at home.

Mr. Yullah found the work harder and more hazardous than he had expected. Two co-workers were killed on the job, he said, and two others injured, when they fell through a manhole. Conditions at the workers’ camp where he lived, rudimentary at best, disintegrated when his employer let the water and electricity lapse. Then a problem even more basic arose: the company stopped paying the workers.

The owner kept saying, ‘Wait a minute, I will get some money,’ ” said Mr. Yullah, who joined about 400 co-workers last year in walking off the job. “He was taking advantage of us.”

In a break with past practice, Mr. Kaabi’s Labor Ministry backed the workers. Tapping a company bank guarantee, it restored the camp utilities and paid some of the back wages. It barred the company, Industrial and Engineering Enterprises, from hiring more workers, leading it to close its Emirates operation. And it helped workers like Mr. Yullah, who is still owed nearly six months’ back pay, find new jobs.

By global standards, punishing a company that does not pay its workers may seem modest, but Mr. Yullah recognized it as something new.

“The company cheated me,” he said. “But the labor office is standing with the laborers.”

The United Arab Emirates is a rags-to-riches story on a nation-state scale. Until the discovery of oil in the late 1950s, there was little here but Bedouins and sand. To extract the oil and build a modern economy, the rulers imported a multinational labor force that quickly outnumbered native Arabs.

An ethos of tolerance has prevailed, with churches, bars and miniskirts co-existing with burqas. But the construction workers who build hotel rooms that rent for $1,000 a night and malls that sell shoes for $1,000 a pair live segregated lives outside of this prosperous, cosmopolitan world.

They rise before dawn in distant camps, work six days a week at guarded sites and return by bus with time to do little but eat or sleep. Their sheer numbers inspire unease. When the film “Syriana” was released here, the government cut a scene of violent labor protest.

Sonapur, a camp a half-hour’s drive into the desert from Dubai, houses 50,000 workers and feels like an army base. Two- and three-story concrete-block buildings stretch across the horizon, throngs of South Asian laborers fill the streets and desert dust fills the air. Even at midnight the camp roars. Buses ferry workers to third-shift jobs. Earthmovers work the perimeter, breaking ground for more dorms.

Building skyscrapers is inherently dangerous, especially in the heat. Until the government recently began insisting on summer sun breaks, one Dubai emergency room alone was reporting thousands of heat exhaustion cases each month. In a rare count, Construction Week, a local trade publication, canvassed foreign embassies and estimated that nearly 900 foreign construction workers died in 2004, though it could not say what percentage of the deaths were work-related.

The government does not track job-related injuries and deaths, though it is required by law to do so.

Standing on Sonapur’s sand-blown streets, some workers count their blessings. “The work here is no problem,” said Dinesh Bihar, 30, whose $150 salary is four times what he made when he left India.

Some workers count their debts. “I was so eager to come to Dubai, I didn’t ask questions,” said Rajash Manata, who paid placement fees of nearly $3,800, thinking his salary would be six times higher than it is. “I blame myself.”

Some workers simply count the days until they see their families again.

“Three years, four months,” said Cipathea Raghu, 37, when asked how long it had been since he had seen his 10-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son. “They’re always saying, ‘Daddy please, come, when will you come?’ ” he said.

“Tension, tension,” he added, pointing to his heart.

Several years of quickening protests, mostly over unpaid wages, peaked in March 2006, when hundreds of workers went on a rampage near the unfinished Burj Dubai, which is being built as the world’s tallest building. Eight months later, Human Rights Watch, a New York-based advocacy group, accused the Emirates of “cheating workers.”

For a country courting tourists and investors — and a free trade pact with the United States — the report stung. “If the U.A.E. wants to be a first-class global player, it can’t just do it with gold faucets and Rolls-Royces,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, the Middle East director for Human Rights Watch. “It needs to bring up its labor standards.”

Mr. Kaabi, 39, took office in late 2004, with what he describes as a mandate to do just that, for ethical and practical purposes, a departure from the Labor Ministry’s earlier focus on processing employer requests for more foreign hires. “A healthy worker will provide more effective labor — period,” he said in an interview.

He created the summer sun breaks, from 12:30 to 3 p.m. He pledged to increase the number of inspectors to 1,000, from roughly 100, though progress has been slow. And he publicly punished companies caught failing to pay their workers.

The most notable action involved the Al Hamed Development and Construction Company, which was run by a well-connected sheik. After hundreds of workers blocked traffic in Dubai, Mr. Kaabi ordered the company to pay nearly $2 million in fines and temporarily froze the company’s ability to hire new workers.

“A beautiful message was sent: everybody follows the rules,” Mr. Kaabi said.

Acting separately, the emirate of Abu Dhabi has strengthened health benefits and subsidized what is meant to be a model labor camp. Still much about the workers’ lives remains unchanged, including the frequent need to pay high recruiting fees. Mr. Kaabi said that practice was hard to police, since it often occurred in the workers’ home countries. Workers remain tied to specific employers and cannot, without permission, change jobs. And unions remain off limits. Mr. Kaabi said allowing unions would give foreign labor bosses a chokehold on the economy.

“God forbid something happens between us and India and they say, ‘Please, we want all our Indians to go home,’ ” he said. “Our airports would shut down, our streets, construction. No. I won’t do this.”

In July, the government ended a four-day strike at a gas processing plant by sending in the armed forces. There continue to be press accounts of worker suicides.

Faced with complaints about low wages and difficult work, Mr. Kaabi repeats a point often made here: Many workers face greater hardships at home for less pay. “We don’t force people to come to this country,” Mr. Kaabi said. “They’re building a whole new life for their families.” Some come from backgrounds so impoverished, he said, “they don’t know how to use the toilet; they will sit and do it on the ground.”

But Ms. Whitson of Human Rights Watch said, “That’s what exploitation is — you take advantage of someone’s desperation.”

Perched bare-chested on his bunk after a day in the sun, Sadiq Batcha, an 18-year veteran of labor camp life, was of two minds about the recent militancy. “People who did strikes were justified to a certain extent,” he said.

At the same time, Mr. Batcha, 40, said his monthly salary of $250 was more than twice what he could make back home in an Indian fishing village. He had built a house, given his sister a dowry of $2,500, allowing her to marry, and sent his children to a private, English-speaking school. “If strikes are made legal, the company will lose money, and eventually we’ll lose our jobs,” he said.

Then with his eyes heavy at 9:30 p.m., Mr. Batcha excused himself. An alarm would sound in six hours and he was eager for sleep.




zewt said…
Like it or not, a growing economy will continue to rely heavily on foreign workers. Imagine how much our houses will cost if not becos of them. A lot of ppl will not be able to afford a lot of things.  

capitalism is the way forward, all in the name of survival. of course, the line between survival and greed is very thin.

anyway, those workers need to survive… while it is the ‘kejam’ treatment they are getting here, they are also being compensated in what will be a huge salary to them.

pity those who work hard and never get compensated.


August 6, 2007 11:33 PM  
the Razzler said…
Dear Marina ..  

Sometimes its sad to read about how some foreign workers are being exploited & having no room for recourse .. until their plight are being highlighted in the press!!

I dread to even think how many more cases which were not known to us .. They were here to earn a decent living for their love ones at home & became a victim themselves instead!!

It’s sad!! :( :(


August 7, 2007 10:30 AM  
Mr. Smith said…
I strongly believe in the ” action-reaction” theory.
I too have seen and heard of how migrant workers are exploited, ill treated and even cheated of their hard earned money.
Nature has a way of punishing the wicket and this country will have to pay for all these sins against humanity.

August 7, 2007 10:40 AM  
MarinaM said…
Zewt, I’m sure you would never put up with bad treatment if you were working overseas even if the pay was good. We may be paying these migrant workers more than they’ll ever get at home, but it is still a lot less than what we would pay our own people. Plus why should low pay be an excuse to treat people as if they are not humans? It only reflects back on ourselves.  

August 7, 2007 11:05 AM  
Sri said…
This is why i always get very angry with Malaysians who abuse their foreign maids.  

When there is a theft in our neighborhood, immediately some smart person will open his/her mouth and say that Indonesians are involved.

Please treat our foreign workers with respect. They are human beings. They are a father or a mother to someone back home. How can people not have sympathy towards such people!!!

Remember….history repeats!! In some unforseen circumstances, should your great great great grandchildren become foreign labor in some country, how should they be treated?


August 7, 2007 1:04 PM  
Anonymous said…
My parent came from indonesia and I am the first generation of actual “malaysian.” We have the tendency to look down on these forein workers as if they are from the lower caste. They are actually just like our forefathers years ago who came here in search of something better. Some of them did turned to crime but sometimes what do we expect when they were not paid accordingly, abused and exploited.  

I would not be able to look down on those foreign labors who sold everything they have to come here. They are human too. Just like my parent.



August 7, 2007 2:58 PM  
Daphne Ling said…
Hi Aunty Marina,
I guess that’s why they say that: The measure of a human being is not how he treats his equals or those above him, but how he treats those inferior to him…
True huh?  

Note: I of course in no way mean Indonesians are ‘below’ us or inferior…Just refering to the ‘level’ of their job in our country (migrant workers who work as maids, labourers, cooks, nannies etc) in the context of this post…


August 7, 2007 9:47 PM  
Najah said…
I’d have to applaud what the Singaporean govt has been doing for their foreign workers (the legal ones that is… I’ve read about foreign workers having to sleep on the street to guard cables, but that’s another story altogether).  

My husband and I took a drive one night, and I noticed a well-lit dormitory with bustling shops below. At one glance, it looked like your typical HDB block, except that the ppl mulling about were all males. My husband told me that this was one of the many centralised dorms for foreign workers – complete with a wartel, teh tarik place, canteen etc. I told him that this was a whole lot better than some of the boarding schools in Malaysia. Needless to say, I was impressed.

I guess it all boils down to this – we as human beings are in some ways, a product of our environment. Cage us, treat us like animals, force us to live under trees (not uncommon in construction sites outside the KL/Selangor area), and we fall back to our primal survival instincts.


August 10, 2007 12:38 AM  
zewt said…
well, i guess that’s the direction the world is heading… capitalism. while the age of wars and colonisation is over… capitalism will be the next enemy of mankind.  

August 10, 2007 1:33 AM  
Anonymous said…
Tun Dr Mahathir mentioned recently something about the West taking away smart people from Malaysia to work there. I would not blame the West. The reason is very obvious and everybody has been complaining since years ago. It is not that smart people do not want to stay. It is because they are not wanted at home. I am personally going through almost the same situation except the situation is at home in Malaysia and in the government service. Whether it is courses or work outside the office, somehow others have the chance to go. Others have more experiences in work than me. All the talk about human capital and human assets is something I find it hard to believe. Then when somebody mentioned about VSS, I think that is very unfair. I do agree that there are some useless officers in the government service. These are the ones who need to think twice whether they want to stay on. But for those who are genuine, who work hard, who do the best they can even in small little works, this VSS will be something very cruel. On one hand, you hear people saying no enough staff. On another hand, somebody is saying there are too many officers. Or on one hand, somebody is complaining about too much work. On the other hand, somebody is complaining not given the opportunity to perform the piece of job, especially the job which she should do in her present position and capacity.
I touched on this topic because I see that this part of the blog is about foreign workers and so I take the opportunity to express myself regarding what politicians have been threatening lately. Thank you.

August 10, 2007 11:14 PM  































SPDC’s Knowledge ignorance

SPDC’s Knowledge ignorance


Modified and edited the Malaysiakini Column, Knowledge ignorance” by KJ John.

I have edited and adapted to the Myanmar context from the original news article. I hope that KJ John.and Malaysiakini could understand and forgive us for this. They should even be proud that they could contribute a very good article for the fellow Myanmar/Burmese citizens.

Is the title of this column an oxymoron? According to Wikipedia, an oxymoron is a figure of speech that combines two normally contradictory terms. I would like to argue that my title is not an oxymoron.
In the field of the science or study of knowledge or epistemology, there is a concept in perennial knowledge philosophy called ‘the hierarchy of knowledge’.

By this, in very simple terms and as applied in the field of information science, we mean the hierarchy of data, information, knowledge and then wisdom. Often pictured as a wisdom triangle the peak is labelled ‘wisdom’.

Now what is this hierarchy and what are the nuances of this hierarchy for life and living? We do not have to go far to learn. Myanmar Military SPDC’s life is colourful enough to allow us to learn, unlearn and relearn this hierarchy if we have the head and the heart to learn.  

In a previous column, I wrote that the Myanmar Senior General needs wisdom to govern this nation under our coming system of constitutional and parliamentary democracy, and also if he is aware of the nuances and differences between leadership and mere management.


The problem was that much of this Constitution was written with a so-called Tatmadaw or Myanmar Military’s permanent dominence syndrome. A syndrome is any ‘theological-type belief in a personal and experiential truth which may not be a total or complete truth’.

As much as the current SPDC leader needs wisdom to govern Myanmar and his Generals and supporters from Kyant  Phut and Swan Arrshin need equal wisdom to understand and govern all the people who voted for NLD with wisdom in the 1990  general election to – unless of course, one believes that all the people are stupid all the time.
There are some very bright people out there who are still in denial about what happened in the elections. Wisdom may elude even the best of people in Myanmar – wisdom, like the Lady Wisdom found in the proverbial literature of sacred texts, needs to be sought after and can only be found when God gifts it to individuals.

Knowledge is different; one can develop knowledge in any subject matter if we take an interest in learning. For example, a good friend of mine has such a technical interest in any subject that once he starts learning, he is sure to end up fully knowledgeable about that subject. He will both study and do it.

Therefore, one can have a positive attitude to learning and can master any subject matter until one acquires knowledge or at least complete information. But, there is a more important question: is knowledge the same as having ‘information in the head’ about a subject? Put another way, is almost total or complete information about a subject equal to knowledge?

It is here that I have to introduce the word, ‘gnosis’ or the root word for ‘knowledge’ in Greek. In the Greek understanding of the world, to have gnosis is to not only have information and knowledge of the subject but also the ability to do something with it.

Therefore knowledge must lead to action, presumably for problem-solving related to issues of life and living. Information without knowledge is puffed-up pride which cannot solve any real problems in life, but may only enable us to talk about things.

Lack of knowledge



Ignorance, or ignosis is the lack of knowledge. Therefore, one could argue that ‘knowledge ignorance’ is about knowledge that recognises what one knows and equally, what one does not know. For it is said, ‘he who knows not and knows not he knows not is a fool’.
We have many fools trying to run this country. When I was working for an organisation some time ago I was forced to write a paper on ‘uninformed ignorance’ to inform and educate those who did not know about life and living and how to solve problems with an attitude of decency and courtesy. 


In life, sometimes and maybe always, fools get to rule. Therefore, the challenge of every Burmese/Myanmar who voted for change in 1990 is to ensure that fools do not ever rule again by voting NO in the coming referendum. Or at least to ensure arrogance in ruler-ship does not rear its ugly head again! Ever.
No need to consider about the Military Guided or disciplined Democracy, even the true Democracy is never the best model for godly or wise governance but frankly, I do not think we have a better model of governance on earth. We just need to find the wisdom and knowledge to govern wisely. And, if we know that we do not have the wisdom and knowledge to govern with responsibility and ability, we need equal wisdom to find the right people to become the advisers.

It always takes humility to admit the need for advisers and, more often than not, all governance systems assume that leaders need such assistance. But it is not a good manager who lacks wisdom, and yet relies on weak or poor advisers!

As I have written before, my university professor of Emeritus rank who studied the psychological and social profile of disabled leaders found that ‘disability sets in’ when advisers start giving poor or inaccurate advice.

Who were the SPDC’s advisers on the calling of the Sham Referendum? I doubt they had consulted any wise Lawyers in International Laws and Contemporary International Constitutional experts.


This implies that the technology-related factors in the legality of Referendum and elections were unknown to the SPDC Junta leaders. Really? I have to say that the SPDC Junta has ‘knowledge ignorance’ and does not know what they are doing.
Rather unfortunately though, ‘knowledge ignorance’ in not limited to SPDC Generals, but also among those who appear to be very smart. It is said that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I would argue otherwise: that power is made perfect in weakness of humility and not in the power of arrogance.

Dear SPDC Generals, you can still become the government of all the Myanmar citizens. Just do what you have promised and what is right, good and true. After you allowed the Myanmar oppositions to form a Government with Daw Suu as PM and appointed all the oppositions as the Government Ministers and let  them do what ever they like, except for the allowing of States to cut their umbilical cords from the Union or trying to harm the Myanmar Military its generals, families and cronies. Yoy just maintain and watch from the present SPDC position. After one term Myanmar People would definitely understand the value of your Military apparatus and there is a great possibility that one of the Generals would become a PM. Just see Indonesia, Phillipines and Thailand.


Please take me seriously and do not believe your advisers who have ‘knowledge ignorance’.  Make your ‘Gettysburg Address’ at the opening session of Parliament. If you get a standing ovation, you would on the hearts of all our representatives and will be on the journey of wise leadership. May God Bless Myanmar.

Foot Note:



A rhetorical figure in which incongruous or contradictory terms are combined, as in a deafening silence and a mournful optimist.

[Greek oxumōron, from neuter of oxumōros, pointedly foolish : oxus, sharp; see oxygen + mōros, foolish, dull.]


Gettysburg Address

On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln gave a short speech in Gettysburg

, Pennsylvania, commemorating the Battle of Gettysburg and dedicating a national cemetery for fallen Union soldiers. Lincoln’s speech is the most famous address ever given by an American President, and it is one of the most eloquent expressions of democratic ideals ever uttered. He wrote it in the White House, though he made a few changes on the train ride to Gettysburg.
He was preceded at the podium by the noted orator Edward Everett, who had spoken for nearly two hours. Lincoln’s speech, by contrast, took only a few minutes. Lincoln observed, “The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.” Although the crowd gave Lincoln only perfunctory applause, Everett

was more appreciative. He told Lincoln, “My speech will soon be forgotten; yours never will be. How gladly would I exchange my hundred pages for your twenty lines.”
“Now we are engaged in a great civil war,” Lincoln said, testing whether “any nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, can long endure.” He urged Americans to resolve “that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” By emphasizing the equality of Americans, a value not mentioned even in the Constitution, Lincoln had provided a vision of the United States that could justify the carnage of the Civil War and would reshape the meaning of American politics for generations to follow.


Lady Wisdom

Lady Wisdom and Mistress Folly. Throughout the prologue wisdom and its opposite are made to look like real people using a literary device called personification. Wisdom is portrayed as a respectable and proper woman (1:20-33; 8:1-36; 9:1-6).

Folly is pictured as a loose woman, ready to deceive the young man with sensuous pleasures and lead him to his death (7:6-27; 9:13-18). The description of Mistress Folly is so sexually explicit that it no doubt held fascination for the young man under instruction. Perhaps the literary device of sensual personification was used to snare the young man’s attention, just as modern advertising uses voluptuous women to sell everything from toothpaste to fast cars.