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.

 

 

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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.

And…

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

    Correct.

    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:
    http://orangewaves.blogspot.com/2008/03/minimum-wage-rm350-is-this-joke.html

  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

Malaysiakini

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

By MARINA MAHATHIR

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

JOANNE CHONG RODRIGUES,  Kuala Lumpur.  

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.

 

  

10 comments:

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…
Marina,
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.

Sofiairdina

 

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  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s up UNHCR?

What’s up UNHCR?

We could not blame Christian dominant UNHCR and the donor western Christian countries for failing to assist non – Christian people of Burma/Myanmar with full enthusiasm when all the Muslim countries and Buddhist countries failed to even lift a finger to help Burmese/Myanmar refugees and people.

One Rohingya named, Altaff is a handicapped person. He suffered from ?Motor Neurone disease while staying here in Malaysia. UNHCR/NGO white lady doctor told him mercilessly that he could not be cured for life and WRONGLY accused him as hereditary disease.

One of those white ladies refused to help a Burmese refugee with blood in the urine, but the worse part is, she shouted rudely that he is not going to die tomorrow, does not need the urgent help. But that poor refugee was admitted to a government hospital next day on his own and sadly passed away within few days.

And another Burmese Buddhist lady with Toxic Multinodular goitre, with the proof of blood and ultrasound results, was told by the RUDE WHITE LADY DOCTOR from UNHCR that she could not die the next day or next month. She could even wait for a year and given the medicines and sent back.

The patient throw away the UNHCR afflated NGO Clinic medicine, went to the private hospital, the specialist look at the obvious MNG, glanced at the blood, Ultrasound reports and decided immediately but correctly that she needed operation. But as the prices are high, she went to the government hospital, seen a professor/specialist, done further tests and given her date for operation.

We later heard the rumours that UNHCR and those doctors were taught by some refugees the ways of how to scold the refugees and how to use delaying tactics to get under-table “donations”.

For the Burmese Muslims, Christian and Buddhist friendships are superior to the Islamic-brotherhood

For the Burmese Muslims 

Christian and Buddhist friendships

are superior to the

 Islamic-brotherhood

Michael Jackson – They Dont Care About Us lyrics  

  • Sikinhead, deadhead
  • Everybody gone bad
  • Situation aggravation
  • Everybody allegation
  • in the suite, on the news
  • everybody dogfood
  • Bang bang shock dead
  • Everybodys gone bad
  • All I wann say is that
  • They dont really care about us
  • All I wann say is that
  • They dont really care about us
  • Beat me, hate me
  • You can never break me
  • Will me, thrill me
  • You can never kill me
  • Chew me, sue me
  • Everybody do me
  • Kick me hike me
  • Dont you black or
    white me!
  • All I wann say is that
  • They dont really care
    about us
  • All I wann say is that
  • They dont really care
    about us
  • Tell me what has
  • become of my life
  • I have a wife and two
  • childre who love me
  • I am the victim of police
  • brutality, now
  • Im tired of bein the
  • of hate, youre rapin
  • me of my pride
  • Oh for Gods sake
  • i look to heaven to ful-
  • fill its prophecy…
  • Set me free
  • Skinhead, deadhead
  • Everybody gone bad
  • Trepidation, speculation
  • Ecerybody allagation
  • In the suite on the news
  • Everyboda dogfood
  • Black man black male
  • Throw the brother
  • in jail
  • All I wann say is that
  • They dont really care about us
  • All I wann say is that
  • They dont really care about us
  • Tell me what has become
  • of my rights
  • Am I ivisible cause you
  • ignore me?
  • Your proclamation
  • promised me free liberty
  • Im tired of bein the victim
  • of shame
  • Theyre throwinme in a
  • clas with a bad name
  • I cant believe this is the
  • land from which I came
  • The government dont
  • wanna see, but if
  • Roosevelt was livin he
  • wouldt let this be, no,no
  • Skinhead, deadhead
  • Everybody gone bad
  • Situation, specultaion
  • Everybody litigarion
  • Beat me, bash me
  • You can never trash me
  • Hit me, kick me
  • You can never get me
  • All I wann say is that
  • They dont really care about us
  • All I wann say is that
  • They dont really care about us
  • Some things in life they
  • just dont wanna see
  • But if Martin Luther was
  • livin, he wouldnt let
  • this be no, no
  • Skinhead, deadhead
  • Everybodys gone bad
  • Situation Segregarion
  • Everybody allegation
  • In the suite an the news
  • Everybody dogfood
  • kick me Hike me
  • Dont you wrong or
  • right me
  • All I wann say is that
  • They dont really care about us
  • All I wann say is that
  • They dont really care about us
  • All I wann say is that
  • They dont really care about us
  • All I wann say is that
  • They dont really care about us
  • All I wann say is that
  • They dont really care about us
  • All I wann say is that
  • They dont really care about us

 Michael Jackson – They Dont Care About Us lyrics

Dear loving son,

Don’t cry for me dear son.

This is my fault that I wrongly refused to accept the sponsor of my relatives in US, UK and Australia and had decided to migrate to this Muslim country, about one quarter of the century ago. I am willing to pay for my wrong judgment.

Actually nowadays in this so called Muslim country,  discriminations on all the Burmese citizens, from the refugees up to the Muslim professionals is obviously practiced without caring for the numerous appeals and requests from NGOs, UNHCR and etc..

You should understand that we, Myanmars/Burmese are the 14th ++ Grade foreigners in this country and may be at the similar status in all the other Islamic Nations around the world. [Face of George Washington (USD) is practically more precious for these OIC Muslims than portrait-less Prophet. (pbuh)]

The rank of foreigners here_

  1. US,
  2. UK,
  3. EU,
  4. Australia
  5. Japan,
  6. Korea,
  7. Taiwan,
  8. Singapore,
  9. Saudi Arabia
  10. Indonesians (In some fields of getting citizenships, they stand far in front of all others.)
  11. Other ASEAN countries,
  12. Common Wealth countries
  13. Other rich countries
  14. Other Muslim countries
  15. +++++ may be Myanmar/Burmese

I wrote directly about this unfair, discriminations to the relevant authorities but there is no improvement in the treatment even on Myanmar Muslim professionals.

Dear son, I hope you had read my article about Islam Hadari. If not, read this_

Humble request to the Prime Minister of Malaysia

Dear son, there are a lot of BIG little Nepoleans, successfully introducing one RED TAPE after another on all the different type of Burmese Migrants.

Dear son, I hope you could remember a great towerring Muslim, Allahyarham Prof Dato’ Dr Syed Hussein Alatas (May Allah allow his soul to rest in peace). Because of my letter to him to tap the brain drain from Burma after 88 revolution, he circulated my letter to every head of department of UM and even invited me to work in UM. He decided to send a team to recruit the Burmese Specialists. It is now history! There are a lot of Myanmar doctors, MOs and Specialists working in University Malayia and UHKL.

Dear son, 

  1. Because of the newly implemented another RED TAPE requiring the police security clearance, some of the  police officers are unnecessarily delaying  the reply and some of the PR applicants need to wait for numerous months.
  2. As the saying goes, “Grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”
  3. I wrongly believed that grass in our neighbour Muslim country would be more halal and Islamic grass would be greener than the grass from the non-Islamic countries.
  4. When looked from the far, the blurred vision of the democracy was flawless and perfect.
  5. I wrongly believed in the so called Muslim brotherhood.
  6. Ha, Ha, brothers-in-Islam?
  7. How naived I was!
  8. I erroneously believed all these bullshits.
  9. For those rich Muslims, we are non-existent entity.
  10. For them, rich Arabs are their brothers-in-Islam.
  11. Blue blooded Bosnia orang puteh Muslims are their brothers.
  12. Only Malay blooded refugees like:
  • Indonesians
  • Pashus from Burma,
  • Thailand,
  • Vietnam,
  •  are their Brother-in-Islam to take care of and earmarked for first track citizenship.

All the OIC leaders will shout emptily for Palestinians and Iraqis as their mantras.

  • They all just used to condemn the US and Israel as a popular slogan to gain votes from their Muslim citizens.
  • And later paid the US middlemen lobbyists million of USD to arrange for the audience with US Presidents to apologize their public shoutings by giving lame excuses as if to trick their local radical Islamic voters.
  • Rohingyas are also in and out of detention camps.

When I read about_

  • The Thai King granting citizenships to Myanmar Ethnic Minority villages at the border
  • The issuing of Pink Cards to the Burmese Refugee Children which gives them the to get all the rights of the Thai Children.
  • Thai Chiang Mai’s  mayor and police chief’s attendance to the Mosque opening ceremony Burmese Muslim refugee from Taungoo. (But cruel Myanmar Tatmadaw government refused to allow local Muslims to repair the damaged Taungoo Mosques)
  • The Islamic school at the border is funded by Christian missionaries.
  • American Jew, Soros is also helping the Burmese Muslims.

When even the government servant Myanmar professionals’ children were refused admission to the government schools nowadays, all the Myanmar Illegals’ Children’s education is out of question.

But the government newspapers’ front page report with the photograph about 3000 schools built by the government for Indonesian Illegals shows the extent of unfairness and the lack of level playing field.

Although we were government servants, my children were blatently denied places even in our respective universities and mercilessly advised to send our children to private universities.

Even if we use all of our monthly pay for our children’s private university fees, it may not be enough. (Doctors’ salary here is lower than nurses’ salary in the west and almost equivalent to the ambulance drivers’ salaries. No wonder no Orang Puteh doctors accept to work here and they have to rely on third world doctors, South Asia and Myanmar doctors.)

So once we got the PR, I sadly left government service and my carrier for the sake of children’s education.

But I need to take the house refinancing for three times for your private education. Even that is not yet enough for your youngest sister.

Be patient my son, don’t angry, you are going to be a doctor soon. I hope you and your younger brother could chip in for this youngest one.

Sorry son, I tried my best, working more than twelve hours every day without any rest. I worked on public holidays and rest on two Eids only. (Sometimes give lame excuses as not getting Locum replacement doctor and tried to sneak back to the clinic on those Eid days!)

I know that you are angry and sad because even that is not enough for the repayment of your education loans.

And instead of helping the migrants, some people take our hard earned money by overcharging us. ( But they were generous with the Bosnia Muslims. Each family was given apartments free of charge. Water, electricity and health were free. They were given ID cards stating that they were not subject to Immigration laws, they were allowed to stay and work anywher without limits.) Their lame excuse was, those Bosnias suffered really from war and WRONGLY accused all of us that we are the economic migrants.

Dear son, why do you want to be one month older than me, as the Burmese saying goes. I know the Esoup fable you whisper to me. The wolf would accuse that if that if it was not that sheep it may be its father, who dirtied the water, last year. Whether the sheep explain that it was down stream or it was not born yet last year would be not accepted as the truth.

Yes son, I was wavering and almost miss the point!

Blue IC holders around the world got the privileges as the citizens except for the voting rights (In Ireland PR are even granted that chance) and right to be elected as people’s representative.

All of the  PR Students up to the Universities got the same rights as citizens, including loans and scholarships. Here only they even denied this humanitarian assistances and have the heart to further take our hard earned money at the PRIVATE HIGH PAYING UNIVERSITIES.

Burmese Muslims were still given places in International Islamic Universities but nowadays they are denied to be accepted in_

  1. Medical,
  2. Engineering and
  3. it is even quite difficult to get the Law

One Rohingya named, Altaff is a handicapped person. He suffered from ?Motor Neurone disease while staying here. For his daughter’s school admission, one Samaritan with the good connection sent him up to the MOE, director. Director told him that only if he has a Passport his daughter could get the special permission to go to government school.

That was the last straw that breaks the camel’s neck. Altaff retorted that even that cruel Myanmar Military Generals had allowed him to go to the government school and that the Director’s country Muslims are worse than the Kafir Generals!

Anti-Muslim, notorious Military Dictator Ne Win had allowed your father, me, to study in the Medical College

And the another Rohingya Medical doctor who had earned a MSc Computer  Science from the National Government University and worked here in two universities for 14 years was denied PR here. What a shame when this government could easily grant citizenship to Indonesian taxi-drivers, sweepers, toilet cleaners etc.

He was holding Bangladeshi Passport, and the another SO CALLED MUSLIM brother country, Bangladesh refused to renew his PP. So he has no choice but to join the tour group to Australia. He was granted refugee with PR status in less than three months. Next week, he got the letters from his children’s school his wife’s college and his University,  congratulating him for the PR and advising to collect back the refunds he had paid.

Here, although they CAN give numerous scholarships with different naming to the SPDC chosen students (read their children and military top generals’ relatives) they are denying us all the government help.

After-all almost all of the GLC or government linked companies had refused to grant our clinic as panel. Those companies who joined the Health Care Management companies that we are serving selected out our clinic. Even when the Income tax department, which collects tax on every person irrespective of race and origin, discriminated us and appointed their own race clinics.

My son, with God’s will, you are going to earn a Medical Degree at a reputed university soon. Be patient and you should be proud of. However, it was more sadness than pride that ruled the day when you are crying for me. Don’t worry dear son, I hope Allah would be on our side.

Dear son, I was like you, very sad and angry in 60’s.

Arabs shamefully lost the six day war and Mohamed Ali also lost his heavy weight title. This adds salt to my lost at the national level student completion. From that day onwards, when I perform my regular prayers (could only fullfil/perform about three times out of five) but I refrained to lift my hands and refused to pray/ask anything from God for about a year. (May Allah forgive me for that sin) But I think, all knowing, merciful Allah had forgiven a child’s misbehaviour and rewarded me with unimaginable rewards.

I hereby thanked Tun Dr M and family for their kind change of heart on our family members and the interview granted to us.

I hereby salute DSAI and friends for the helps extended to us when they were in office and for the brilliant lecture give in Hong Kong last week. We also thank Datin Seri for the kind interview and continuous support for our cause.

But dear children, I understand that although we are here for about a quarter of a century but still denied the right to even apply for the citizenship here.

The Rohingya doctor who had migrated to Australia one and a half year ago, telephoned me that his family is going to get the citizenship within six months.

So if you get a chance,

  • go son,
  • migrate to the non Muslim country
  • as Muslim Governments around the world are hopeless.
  • I had made a mistake not to accept my relatives’ invitation from UK, US and Australia.
  • For me it is too late as I am at the end of my carrier.

My youngest daughter was born here and never been to Burma, could not even read a Burmese word. But she is same as all of us, discriminated because of the creed.

In today’s increasingly common parlance, I wish to remind all of my children that even your children would be treated as a third generation ‘pendatang’. Although we all are Muslims, your children’s father’s name (that is you) has no bin and he could be denied his rights. You and I, i.e. all of the Myanmar migrants are not like the certain Chief Minister, whose father was an Indonesian migrant lorry driver.

As the DPM declared that illegal immigrant children would be rewarded with instant citizenship rewards. I wrote to the present PM to grant direct citizenships to our family because one of his deputies’ wife told me to stop complaining and ask what I want, when I wrote to Tun Dr M. She could not understand and even refused to accept the truth that I complaint only when our requests are denied. I wrote to the YAB PM whether we should tear off our Myanmar PPs to become illegals in order to qualify for that offer. We were replied to follow the procedure, that is waiting for another few years to be eligible to APPLY for that. It is a gross unfair practice as some of the people are giving short cut.

And Dr Kamal, Rohingya Myanmar Muslim they denied PR after 14 years was granted the same status within three months in a Christian Australia.

 He is sure going to get the Australian citizenship in six months but we need to wait more than that to be eligible to apply for the citizenship here. I would definitely die before getting it.

We could not sponsor our relatives; parents, brothers and sisters etc. My parents went for Umrah (small Haj) and on the way back home came and visit us here. We never meet for ten years, so they puasa (fasting) almost the whole month of Ramdam. Their visa finished few days before Eid or Hari Raya. The Malay Muslim Immigration officer refused to extend their visa regardless of our appeal.

Dear son, I know you were sad because your grandparents could not spend the Eid with us. You were puzzled because my grand uncle (my father’s elder brother, a Burmese Muslim, who was holding UK passport was allowed to stay here. You were very young son. For him there is a special Immigration counter, no need to queue and although we requested for one week extension, the Immigration officer smiled and stamed three months’ extension. That was free of charge and she advised my uncle to just take a round trip to Singapore, just pass the Singapore Immigration, turn round into the check-in countre to come back here. He could stay forever like this by doing this every six months! ASEAN membership and ASEAN Charter is just bull shit! Useless for Myanmar citizens!

My brother came here to invest and do a business in view of migrating later. Although he needs to show RM 300,000, he showed RM 500,000 and bought a company. Our Malay friend advised and pointed out that we need a local partner, PRINCE OF THE LAND with 30% investment. So we paid that 30% share, free of charge, to one of our trusted friend, who believed to be able to pull the cables, appointed him a Chairman. Of course we need to pay him the necessary service fees and salary. As that man was over confident and avoid to pay the necessary officials, our business application was rejected and the Malaysian Immigration refused to extend his visa. THE LAME EXCUSE WAS, BECAUSE OUR BUSINESS APPLICATION INVOLVED A LOCAL, Visa for the foreign partner could be approved or the extension of the social visa, the business must be started. Catch 22? I wrote to the PM about these unfair restrictions but sadly DSAI is the only person who dares to give a speech about this in Hong Kong, last week.

Dear son, if I had decided to migrate to the more HUMAINE Christian west, I would definitely allowed by their just laws to legally  sponsor my parents, brothers, sisters and relatives not only to stay there, but to migrate and get citizenships! Sorry dear Papa and Ar Mar and brothers. I migrated to the wrong place; I cannot help you all to be free from the KILLER THAN SHWE’S MILITARY.

After seeing the latest Rambo, many of my patients, especial teenagers asked me about my parents and relatives back home. They advised me to bring them here but I have to bluff with a smiling face, although my heart is crying, that they have business and properties and refused to migrate. But I could not pretend for long if the inquisitive kids probe more. My tears flow automatically and my voice trembled. Then only they understand that I am trying to cover the truth.

So what are we griping about in the land of blue skies and ‘ais kachang’?

Our land of blue skies could and should have been a land of milk, honey and plenty. Instead, we have increasingly Burmanization every where here.

Now I sadly know my dear son_

  1. “The grass may not be greener on the other side,
  2. but the skies are more blue.
  3. And even if the grass is not greener,
  4. it is grass you can stand on with your head held high.
  5. Don’t follow the footsteps of a fool like me
  6. To believe in the illusion of Islamic-brotherhood,
  7. Chasing the mirage Islamic Paradise
  8. Try to migrate to the Christian West
  9. There may be a glass ceiling above you
  10. But your status would not be 15++ foreigner like here
  11. And at least at the same status as Indonesians,
  12. not far below them like here.”

Khoda Hafiz

Your loving father

Dr San Oo Aung

 

Post Script

Islam is about values.

One of the most important values of Islam is to_

  1. ‘propagating good and
  2. forbidding evil’.

Propagating good and forbidding evil’ _

  1. is not optional.
  2. It is compulsory.
  3. Islam makes it mandatory that we oppose evil.

We are asked to oppose evil with our hands.

Our Prophet (pbuh) has been asked by God:

  1. “I have been ordered to dispense justice between you.”
  2. “Whenever you judge between people, you should judge with (a sense of) justice” (4:58).

The Prophet has said:

  1. “If any one of you comes across an evil,
  2. he should try to stop it with his hand (using force),
  3. if he is not in a position to stop it with his hand
  4. then he should try to stop it by means of his tongue
  5. (meaning he should speak against it).
  6. If he is not even able to use his tongue
  7. then he should at least condemn it in his heart.
  8. This is the weakest degree of faith”

(Muslim).

  1. “Co-operate with one another for virtue and heedfulness

  2. and do not co-operate with one another

  3. for the purpose of vice and aggression” (5:2).

This means that_

  1. who perpetrates deeds of vice and aggression,

  2. even if he is our closest relation or neighbour,

  3. does not have the right to win our support

  4. and help in the name of race, country, language or nationality.

This is what Islam says. 

Folowing Rituals are not values.

  1. accepting Allah as the one and only God and
  2. Muhammad as the final Prophet of God,
  3. performing the five times a day ritual prayers,
  4. fasting for 30 days or so during the month of Ramadhan,  
  5. paying the zakat and fitrah tithes, and
  6. performing the Haj pilgrimage in the Holy Land of Mekah at least once in your life.

Above Rituals are merely a demonstration that you have values.

  1. It is pointless performing rituals if you lack values.
  2. Rituals are not important if you lack faith or values.
  3. Rituals are the end result of the values you hold.
  4. Your prayers are between you and God. Whether you perform them or not is between you and God. It does not concern anyone else. The same goes for all those other rituals as well.  

But if you do not stand up for justice and fight against evil, oppression, persecution, etc., then it is no longer between you and God.

  1. God can forgive you for not praying.
  2. God can forgive you for the beer you drink every night.
  3. But God will never forgive you for your sins against society.

By not opposing evil you have not sinned against God.

  1. You have sinned against  millions of fellow-Muslims and other humans.
  2. And you will have to seek forgiveness from all of them.
  3. God can’t forgive you.
  4. Muslims and other humans will have to do that.
  1. In Islam if we have no power to fight back the tyrant unjust ruler,
  2. it is compulsory for us to migrate (or Hijrat).
  3. If we stay put, suffer and die under the oppressive ruler,
  4. Allah will not give us any rewards, but will condemn us.
  5. 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.

  1. Islam lays down rights for man as a human being.
  2. In the Holy Quran, God has said:
  3. “And whoever saves a life it is as though he had saved the lives of all mankind” (5:32).
  4. There can be several forms of saving man from death.
  5.  A man may be ill or wounded, irrespective of his nationality, race or colour.
  6. 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.
  7. If he is dying of starvation, then it is your duty to feed him so that he can ward off death.
  8. 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:

  1. And in their wealth there is acknowledged right for the needy and destitute. (51:19)
  2. Anyone who needs help, irrespective of the race, religion or citizenship has a right in the property and wealth of the Muslims.
  3. 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.
  4. “Indeed, the noblest among you before God are the most heedful of you” (49:13).

  

See also_

  1. Exploiting Human Beings…A Global Disease? Marina Tun Mahathir Mohamad, daughter of former Malaysia PM
  2. Common virtues of Buddhism and Islam 

  3.           

    Listen/read first, Pak Lah

    Peter Ooi‘s letter in Malaysiakini (extracts)

    Rather than trying to find ways and means to penalize them,

    Instead should find the causes of their deeds.

    On the surface, I gather that such actions would not have taken place if Pak Lah really has big ears for the rakyat.

    They have cried loud and clear, you chose not to listen.

    Should in the first place lend his big ears to those – – – .

    Discuss frankly what really needs to be done.

    Life is a mirror of your actions. If you want people to be patient and respectful to you, show them first patience and respect. 

In Sabah: What Election?

I Just Want My MyKad 

    Posted by Raja Petra, Wednesday, 27 February 2008

    (By KARIM RASLAN/ The Straits Times/ ANN)

    Active Image

    The skies are overcast and there’s a light drizzle. The Barisan Nasional ranks are well-composed and orderly – a sea of blue waiting patiently for their rivals, the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Parti Keadilan Rakyat, to arrive.

    However, if you wander away from the nomination venue through the streets of this palm oil boom town, it’s easy to forget you’re in Malaysia. Step closer to the seafront and the language changes subtly – the vowels become shorter and more pronounced. One hears unrecognisable words and dialects – Bugis, Toraja and Banjarese – and smells the ever-present sweet scent of kretek (clove cigarettes).

    In a town of well over 350,000, no one has any idea what percentage of the population is actually Malaysian. The streams of people coming in have blurred the boundary between Malaysia and Indonesia.

    For Fizah, 26, a divorced mother of one who has lived in Tawau for the past five years, the top concern is getting her documents in order. As a Bugis from South Sulawesi, she doesn’t care who wins the elections. In fact she barely comprehends it. She just wants a MyKad, the Malaysian identity card.

    Long-term residents aren’t so sanguine. Robert Wong, a Sino- Kadazan, feels resentful at the way the Indonesian Bugis, in particular, have gone from being foreigners to bumiputeras, leapfrogging people such as himself.

    For the big corporate players, the surge in palm oil prices, coupled with cheap labour, has been a huge boon. There’s a BMW Z4 for sale in one of the town’s car showrooms.

    Given the money involved, access to land has become a major source of controversy here. DAP candidate Jimmy Wong explains: ‘Agriculture is the foundation of our economy. Give people land and they’ll be able to lift themselves out of poverty. Former chief minister Datuk Harris Salleh understood that and he gave out land grants to everyone – regardless of race.’

    But Wong’s middle-class concerns – good jobs, opportunities, investment, infrastructure development and a transparent government – have been drowned by the sea of workers who have poured through the cramped and dirty arrival jetty next to Tawau’s fish market.

    No work is too demeaning or poorly paid for the immigrants. They toil either in the oil palm estates or the vast timber processing plants in Kampung Tanjung Batu.

    Alban Lompor, a Bugis, arrived in 1970 at the age of 37. Taking a drag on his kretek, he recalls life then: “I worked at everything – clearing land for oil palm, logging, even rubber-tapping. I earned enough money to support my family – all seven kids. I went home to South Sulawesi only once. My sons can hardly speak Bugis – they’re Malaysians now. And my 37 grandchildren? None of them understands a word of Bugis!”

    Over the decades, hundreds of thousands of Filipinos and Indonesians have become Malaysians. In the past naturalisation was relatively easy but that has changed as the process has been subjected to greater scrutiny and supervision.

    Still the reality of their presence remains, realigning Sabah’s previous racial and religious balance and making life tougher for those who are beginning to feel overwhelmed.

    Here on the edge of Malaysia, with new Malaysians being ‘minted’, the elections barely register among the vast majority for whom a treasured MyKad is all that matters.

    As I watched the proceedings on Nomination Day, one of Wong’s DAP activist friends approached me and asked: “Well, do you think the democratic process works?”

    Sensing my hesitation, he quickly added: “But we have to hold onto it, we have to hold on.”

    (By KARIM RASLAN/ The Straits Times/ ANN)

    The writer is a Malaysian columnist.

     

    

Disheartening views of Mr Paolo Sergio Pinheiro

Disheartening views of Mr Paolo Sergio Pinheiro

In Burma, UN Envoy Sees Saffron But

No Revolution, No Kiev in Myanmar

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, October 24 — “It’s saffron, but not a revolution,” the UN human rights envoy to Burma, Paolo Sergio Pinheiro, told Inner City Press on Wednesday. Mr. Pinheiro said Yangon “is not Kiev, and its not East Berlin… there will be no Orange Revolution.” Triggering Pinheiro’s six-minute explanation was Inner City Press’ request for clarification of Pinheiro’s quote to Portuguese news agency Lusa, that “I would not qualify the protests as a popular uprising and I see no possibility that they will precipitate a change of regime.” Video here, (note: if cannot get a redirection to the UN webcast, please click below at Read more place and or go to http://www.innercitypress.com/pinheiro102407.html to see the video)  from Minute 11:28.

Other reporters reviewed Pinheiro’s candor as rare at the UN; some thought it inappropriate that a UN expert would say that protesters being clubbed in the street then arrested have no chance of bringing about change.

 

Read more

 

 

 

Advising OIC to re-brand and repackage the image of Islam

Advising OIC

to re-brand and repackage

the image of Islam

 

_ by Dr Zafar Shah

Dear OIC leaders,                           

Please may you kindly allow me to advise the Organization of the Islamic Conference to try to change the present image of Islam by the non-Muslim world. Because of the extremists’ action of violence especially on-unarmed civilians, nowadays quite a lot of non-Muslims are looking with the suspected eyes on all the Muslims.  

I am not here to argue anything about Jihad. However, we all must acknowledge that some people against Islam had successfully re-branded all of us after the end of cold war. As there is no more evil group against them, weapon producers need to create a new enemy. So they re-package us, Muslims as a new enemy and successfully re-branded as Terrorists. With peace after cold war, they are going to lose every thing. With the creating of a new enemy, re-branded, Terrorist Islam, they could keep on getting profits by selling weapons to both sides.  

Continue reading

Wake up call for UNHCR

Wake up call for UNHCR

_ By Dr Zafar Shah

In the March 15 Malaysiakini, A Burmese refugee who served as an interpreter with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in Kuala Lumpur accused his former colleagues of discrimination. He claimed that the Rohingyas were sidelined and he requested to give an equal treatment. UNCHR denied the allegation because it cannot reveal the truth behind this episode. Before that, there were posters condemning UNHCR in downtown Kuala Lumpur and some refugees protested in front of UNHCR head office. Previously there were also protests against UNHCR in Thailand, India and Bangladesh by the Myanmar refugees. There were also strong exchanges of words between UNHCR and Malaysian authorities off and on.

Myanmar refugees accused UNHCR officers that they are sleeping on the job after taking five figure salaries. Actually, UNHCR’s hands were virtually tied because they have to search for the volunteer third party countries that would accept and allow settling of refugees.  Nowadays these countries told unofficially but firmly to the UNHCR that they are only willing to accept the non-Muslim refugees only. 

(Muslims could not blame them because that is the result of the acts of our fellow Muslim Refugees settled in Denmark, UK, French and Australia and because of the 9-11 incident in US.)

It is time to wake up and face the reality, UNHCR officers. You need to think out of the box to free the refugees out of this dilemma. Let’s see what is beyond UNHCR’s capacity and later search for what they could do. 

A.      UNHCR could not do the followings_

1.      UNHCR have to accept that they cannot do anything to improve the socio-political conditions back in the source country, Myanmar. (They cold not force the regime change of Myanmar nor even force the Myanmar to change the policy on its minorities. Even at the UNSC the western countries’ resolution on Myanmar was blocked.)

2.      UNHCR could not force the present third countries accepting refugees to accept more refugees or to take Muslim refugees.

3.      UNHCR’s present blaming and pressuring of Malaysian Home Ministry or other host countries could not generate any fruitful results.

4.      As the democratic countries, host countries have to consider the sensitivities of their voters and their countries’ politico-religious conditions. (The western countries would never reveal officially that they do not want the Muslim refugees and Malaysia would never tell that they prefer Malay-Indonesian blooded Refugees only.)

B.      UNHCR should  try to do the followings_

1.      Persuade OIC member Muslim countries with the help of Malaysian Government and UNSG’s office to start to accept Myanmar Refugees.

2.      Actually, refugees are like unpolished gemstones. Most of the countries do not know the true value of the refugees. UNHCR should shine them so that other countries would appreciate them.

(a)     UNHCR should polish the refugees of their basic skills to turn them into a good workforce. UNHCR should open vocational training and language training centres according to the demand.

(b)     UNHCR should form a work force training, management and supply company.

(c)      UNHCR should negotiate with multinational companies and countries around the world to accept them on contract basis.

(d)     UNHCR should issue Certificate of Identity in lieu of International Passports for all the refugees, political or economic migrants in Malaysia.

3.      Then only UNHCR could do away with the present prolonged period for the interviews and investigations. In Burma, there is a widespread socio-economic problem which is difficult to resolve. As almost the whole population of Burma is suffering under the autocratic Junta, we hope it is not necessary to differentiate between these two categories. If we do away with this differentiation, the resettlement process will be faster. 

4.      Once UNHCR issued the Certificate of Identity in lieu of International Passports (C of I or PP) to all the Burmese refugees, illegal immigrants, all of them can freely apply for visas and search for jobs around the world.

5.      UNHCR has to work with its parent United Nations, ILO, WTO, WHO, UNDP, UNICEF, international and local NGOs, World Bank, Interpol and the countries around the world so that they could successfully implement this project.

6.      With the GLOBLISATION, UNHCR and UN should initiate, persuade, negotiate, and press for the free manpower mobilization to balance the socio-economic imbalances around the world.

7.      To fund this project, UNHCR could start with its budget but could re quest funds from the donor countries that used to accept the refugees.  UNDP, UNICEF, WHO, World Bank, EU, ASEAN countries and host countries could also chip in.

8.      UNHCR could strike deals as a Manpower Management Company and charge the employers, request rebates from the income tax departments and other levies charged by the employer countries. 

9.      UNHCR could even charge some fees from the refugees who become high-income earners. 

10. UNHCR could arrange with some international insurance companies for the refugees’ social security, future health and financial needs, and the education needs of their children.  They should be made to pay a portion of their monthly salary as instalments via a monthly deduction from their salary.  Their employers and the related governments should arrange for rebates, contributions or income tax exemptions e.t.c. into this fund.

11. UNHCR could arrange for or coordinate with some multinational companies and some host countries or neighbours of Burma/Myanmar to form joint venture industrial towns.  The local government’s investment would be land and some infrastructure necessities, UNHCR could manage the work force, and multinational companies could provide the financing and technology.

12. UNHCR could use this manpower pool for the UN’s various development projects around the world and for its HQ.  UNHCR could even use some suitable persons as security personnel in UN related offices and projects worldwide, and could recruit some of the suitable persons to help the UN peacekeepers around the world.

C.      UNHCR should guarantee that_

1.        Those refugee workers who hold the UNHCR Certificate of Identity Card (PP) would be working only on normal temporary contract basis.

2.        If there are any problems, UNHCR must take the undertaking to repatriate the workers, to the UNCHR controlled camps near the Burmese border.

3.        Promise that there are no obligations on the host countries to accept these workers permanently as citizens.

4.        If a refugee finished his contract with an unblemished record, UNHCR could search a job for him in other countries or temporarily repatriate him to the UNHCR camps at the border.

5.        If a refugee committed any crime, or has a disciplinary problem, he should be blacklisted and may be permanently sent back to the UNHCR camps at the Burmese border. 

6.        If UNHCR could guarantee that kind of undertaking or repatriation only, many countries would dare to issue work visas to the refugees. 

7.        To repatriate the sailors, there are fixed airfares from anywhere back to the country of origin.  UNHCR could negotiate that kind of repatriation fares.

It is the time to reform and revamp UNHCR. Even if it is difficult to issue the Certificate of Identity in lieu of International Passports (C of I or PP) to all the Burmese refugees, UNHCR must persuade OIC member Muslim countries with the help of Malaysian Government and UNSG’s office to start to accept Myanmar Refugees.

.

Read this author’s other articles.

Comments:

Aung Zaw said _

Its is really nice and constructive for the sake of humanity. The UNHCR would do everything for the welfare of refugees, rather than doing for a single group.

Actually, Dr. Volker Turk is not only a professonalist but also a racist on refugee issues.

Dr. Volker Turk created a conflict among the refugee communities in Malaysia as he closed registration for all nationals on May 15, 2007 but hiddenly registered more than 3000 Chin Christians.

In my opinion, all the staff of the UNHCR in Kuala Lumpur would change as early as possible. Because they are directly or indirectly involved in corruption.

On behalf of all Burmese non-Chin appeal to the International community to form an immediate investigation team for UNHCR office in Kuala Lumpur, in order to find a permanent solution for every one, rather than marginalizing with temporary stay permit that is not fall under the UN Convention.

Maung Soe said _

Volker Turk is destroying our national solidarity among the Burmese refugee community. So, we call upon the International Community to form an international investigation team to find out the reality of corruption and discrimination that has been exercising in the UNHCR local office in Kuala Lumpur under the patronization of criminal Volker Turk. I also strongly support the writer and commenter in this regards for the sake of humanity.
I also want to say the contributors to write more about stateless Muslims from Burma to find a permanent solution.

Myanmar Refugee/Migrant pilot Project Proposal II

Proposal to set up

 Myanmar Refugee/Migrant pilot Project

as A test case to settle

 This is Part 2; you can read part1

 

F.  Our Proposal

Our prop osal is quite simple but may prove to be a very big burden and responsibility on UNHCR and its parent, the UN.

1.     Please just consider to start to issue UNHCR Certificate of Identity in lieu of International Passports (C of I or PP) to all the Burmese refugees, illegal immigrants or any Burmese/Myanmar citizens so that all of them can freely apply for visas and search for jobs around the world.

2.   UNHCR has to work with its parent United Nations, ILO, WTO, WHO, UNDP, UNICEF, international and local NGO s, World Bank, Interpol and the countries around the world in order to successfully implement this pilot project.

3.     UNHCR and UN should talk to the countries that are pushing for free trade agreements through WTO, negotiating individually or in groups for various forms of mutual treaties of Free Trade Area (FTA) just to get permission to increase the free flow of their goods and products w ith GLOBLISATION. Why should there be a desire to keep out the people, professionals, skilled and unskilled labour?  UNHCR and UN should initiate, persuade, negotiate, and press for free manpower mobilization to balance the socio-economic imbalances around the world.

        In reality, USA and EU countries do not have bad records in allowing the import of manpower import in different forms.  However, some countries such as Japan, Korea, and Taiwan dominate the export market around the world, but fail to accept the manpower import satisfactorily.  Although there are a lot of illegals and unrecognised refugees working in their countries, they fail to legalise nor allow adequate numbers of them to work legally in their countries.  There is a definite imbalance of flow between free movement of goods and manpower.

4.     UNHCR should form a manpower training, management and Supply Company.  UNHCR has to negotiate with the multinational companies and countries around the world to which to eventually export the trained manpower.  The fear of the migrants pulling down the salary scale reducing the bargaining power of the trade unions is unfounded.  It is unavoidable since with globalisation, outsourcing and shifting of factories to countries offering cheap labour is a trend nowadays.  In addition, there is a trend of regional countries’ groupings slowly following the EU policy of freer manpower mobility.

5.     UNHCR has to open vocational training and language training centres according to the demand for manpower, or order, make commitments or contract with countries all over the world.  They should include a briefing on the host countries’ customs, culture, laws, rules and regulations.  Do and don’ts are just as important to be learnt.  A briefing on the host country’s geography, climate and history may also help to prepare the refugees to face their future in their new country.

6.     To fund this project, UNHCR could start with its budget but could re quest funds from the donor countries which are used to accepting refugees and spending on the support of refugees.  UNDP, UNICEF, WHO, World Bank, EU, ASEAN countries and host countries could also chip in.

        In the long run, UNHCR could strike deals as a Manpower Management Company and charge the employers as well as request rebates from the income tax department and other levies charged by the employer countries.  UNHCR could even charge some fees from the refugees who become high income earners.  UNHCR could get back the money it expended on the refugees by a special arrangement with the employers to cut a small percentage of the pay as the pay-back fees for their expenses.

7.     UNHCR could arrange with some international insurance companies for the refugees’ social security, future health and financial needs, and the education needs of their children.  They should be made to pay a portion of their monthly salary as instalments via a monthly deduction from their salary.  Their employers and the government should make some arrangement for rebates, contributions or income tax exemptions.

8.     UNHCR could arrange for or coordinate with some multinational companies and some host countries or neighbours of Burma/Myanmar to form joint venture industrial towns.  The local government’s investment would be land and some infrastructure necessities, UNHCR could manage the manpower, and multinational companies could provide the financing and technology.

     &nbs p;  UNHCR could use this manpower pool for the UN’s various development projects around the world and for its HQ.  UNHCR could even use some suitable persons as security personnel in UN related offices and projects worldwide, and as reinforcement units to help the UN peace keepers around the world.

9.     If UNHCR could guarantee that

(i)                  those refugee workers who hold the UNHCR Certificate of Identity Card (PP) would be working only on normal contract basis:

(ii)               that in the event of any problems arising, UNHCR would re-accept the workers and return them, under strict conditions, to the UNCHR controlled camps near the Burmese border; and

(iii)               that there are no obligations on the host countries to accept these workers permanently as citizens, we hope many countries would be willing to contact UNHCR for manpower supply.

(a)   If a refugee finished his contract with an unblemished record, UNHCR could search for a job for him in other countries or temporarily repatriate him to the UNHCR camps at the border.

(b)   If a refugee is associated with any criminal activities, he should be blacklisted and permanently sent back to the UNHCR camps at the Burmese border.  If UNHCR could guarantee that kind of taking back or repatriation, there would be many countries which would dare to issue work visas to the refugees.  Most of the countries fear that the refugees or migrant workers would be stuck in their country and that country would become permanently responsible for them, and that would form a really very big burden for them.  If there is no guarantee of repatriation, even if the authorities are sympathetic and wish to grant Work Permits or Employment Passes, workers’ unions or organizations and ordinary people would oppose their governments’ actions.

(c)    To repatriate the sailors, there are fixed airfares from anywhere to t he country of origin.  UNHCR could negotiate that kind of repatriation fares.

   

10.   Actually many countries need various foreign workers, professionals, skilled, semiskilled and ordinary workers.  UNHCR should negotiate to fulfil the demand from its pool of manpower.  Even host countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and developed countries like USA, EU, Australia , Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and many other countries, are short of manpower to fill different positions.

11.   UNHCR must check the backgrounds of criminal elements only and verify their certificates.  UNHCR has to work with the host country’s police.  The police and security agencies of the country are engaged with Interpol to weed out criminal elements and the terrorism threat.

12.   UNHCR C of I (PP) holders should not be allowed to use the accepted countries as platforms to attack the country of origin and should abide by the laws of their new countries. Even if the new country’s laws are liberal and allow political movements, PP holders should not be allowed to start the armed struggle or any form of military aggression.

13. (a) Even before repatriation to the third country, host countries could easily persuade UNHCR to employ PP holders on a short term or temporary basis.

      (b) Monitoring the criminal elements found among the former illegal migrants would be an easier task for the security and law and order authorities in the host countries.

      (c) The host countries could charge levies and income taxes.

      (d) Even the burden on the countries’ health and educational system would be reduced the host countries could negotiate with the UNHCR and other related agencies and multinational companies or employers to chip in or take care of all the needs of those refugees. There may even be increased demands for of UNHCR C of I holders as they may wish to work in more developed countries where they could earn more.

14.   UNHCR should seriously consider this idea or proposal, brainstorm on it, modify, fine-tune and use it to promote and create a better, peaceful and prosperous world.

15.   The greatest fear of host countries and UNHCR would be more people coming out of Burma/Myanmar. However, if we read and consider the following facts, our proposal is at least worth some consideration:

  • If the project is a failure, we all could stop this pilot project at any time.

  • If successful, this may be the best help the world could offer to all the Burmese/Myanmar citizens.

  • Let the Junta rot inside the country alone.  The people would gain knowledge, skill, experience and wealth.  Once there are changes, most of them will go back to their hometown and contribute to the rapid   development of our country.

  • It is clear that we cannot successfully do anything for the regime change in Burma/Myanmar now.

  • The present system being practised by UNHCR’s refugee system is almost a failure especially because of its slow pace. This proposal, if implemented, would be the best gift to all the people of Burma/Myanmar.

·It is also obvious that if successful, this pilot project could be extended to benefit the millions of refugees all over the world.

G.  Possible benefits to ALL parties.

1.     It is obvious and self-explanatory that all of the refugees and illegal immigrants will benefit from this project.

2.     Legal migrants such as professionals, semi-skilled labourers, skilled and unskilled labourers would get similar benefits.

3.     Host countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Bangladesh and India, could reap the fruits of this project instead of having to feed and tolerate the problem of the refugees.  (For explanation, see below.)

4.     Third party or recipient countries.  (For explanation, see below.)

5.     UNHCR and parent United Nations.  (For explanation, see below.)

6.     If this pilot project is successful, it can be used to benefit all t he refugees all over the world.

7.     Correct the imbalance or lopsided wealth in the world.  Globalisation, WTO and FTA encourage trade, and this project would reciprocally encourage and facilitate Manpower Mobilization and distribution of wealth.

8.     We should seriously consider this idea or proposal, brainstorm on it, modify, fine-tune and use it to promote and create a better, peaceful and prosperous world.  If UNHCR could issue Certificate of Identity as International Passports for all the refugees, it should start the pilot project with Burmese refugees and Burmese illegal immigrants without much differentiation because it could be a very good test pilot project.

9.     The fear that host countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh, India and others, have of these unwanted people, asylum seeker refugees and undocumented workers being present in their country on a permanent basis, could be reduced.  Actually if they could travel and search for work in other parts of the world, these people would prefer to go out and work rather than to stay back in the present host countries.  Because the salary scales of these host countries are so low, the professionals here are being paid the same salaries as  the unskilled workers in developed countries.  If our proposal is put into practice, the situation would be reversed and the host countries would have to find ways to attract these formerly unwanted people.  Employers could save the time and money to import labour.  Instead of the usual practice of just accepting the foreign workers supplied by the agents, they could interview in advance.  There would be no need to pay the middleman.  Most of the displaced persons are already in the country, can communicate in the language, and already know the culture of the host country.  In addition, some of them are already in possession of the necessary work-experience.

10.   Third countries are also less burdened with having to accept these UNHCR C of I (Passport) holders as the countries no longer need to offer asylum on a permanent basis to the displaced persons, initially giving them support as refugees and later having to accept them as citizens.  These third countries are released from that permanent burden, by stopping the issuance of work visas for the displaced persons and by arranging with UNCHR to relocate them to other countries.  With the same limited budget for refugees now, third countries could take on more manpower, even on a temporary basis.

(a)   UNHCR C of I (Passport) holders could be accepted on contract basis according to the needs of the countries and their demand for labour.  If they commit any crime, or if their job perform ance is unsatisfactory, or if they breach the work contract, they could be sacked.   Unlike the refugees whom the countries had already committed to permanently accept, the third countries could request UNHCR to relocate these unwanted persons and foreigners to other countries.  Now the conditions would be more flexible.

(b)   < B style=”mso-bidi-font-weight: normal”>Should the third countries be satisfied with the job performance, skills, and character of those UNHCR C of I (Passport) holders the countries could offer Permanent Residency Status (e.g. Green Card in US, Red IC in Malaysia, etc.) to the Passport holders, and even later offer them  citizenship according to the individual country’s rules and regulations.  It would be an option, not an obligation like the present system.  Host and third countries would be free to decide on their own rules and regulations.

 

 

 

 

H.  APPENDIX

From “Brain Drain” to “Brain Gain”

 

Almost every country complains about “Brain drain”

but most of them fail to tap it to get “Brain gain”.

 

Nowadays, with the process of globalisation process, it is almost futile to complain about brain drain but governments should try to gain from this phenomenon.  Why not tap the other countries’ brains as your “Brain Gain”?  We all know that not only the poor countries but developing countries of ASEAN like Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines, are losing their professionals, well-trained scientists, doctors, nurses, and other skilled workers to developed countries.  But even the USA, UK and EU countries are experiencing this dilemma nowadays.  Brain drain affects almost all countries.  The Europeans have had a brain d rain to North America for centuries and even today the best and brightest continue to migrate there. In addition, some of the brains from the West, including Australia, are now migrating to oil-rich Arab countries and also to the countries in the East again.

 

There is a great demand for professionals and all types of skilled workers around the world.  Some countries recognised the demand and are accepting limited n umbers of skilled workers through proper channels and of course abiding with strict rules and regulations. However, a lot of countries around the world depend on illegal cheap labour, sometimes because governments could not control the practice but also sometimes because the authorities unofficially closed their eyes as long as the illegals posed no problems.

 

All the countries around the world wish to participate in the WTO and some of the countries are negotiating individually or in groups to get Free Trade Agreements.  All the countries just want to get permission to export their products via GLOBLISATION.  Why should a country want to keep out the people, professionals, skilled and unskilled labourers from free mobilization by imposing barriers, strict rules and regulations?

 

The United States of America was known to be one of the most generous, kind, tolerant and respective countries in the whole world before September 11, 2001.  Its arms were always open to accept freedom seekers and legitimate migrants.  No wonder the USA is known to be the melting pot of migrants.  The country was proud of this reputation and had also reciprocally gained a lot from that farsighted basic policy based on humanitarian grounds.  USA gains profits because it values the widening of an assortment of gene pools, w hich leads to increased talents.

 

Migrants usually never enter with empty hands or brains.  They bring along their capital, talents, intelligence, knowledge, skills and contacts.  Trade networks widen and trade ties establish among various migrants and also with their old motherlands. For example, US had gained a lot from the migration of Jews.  The Nazi era Jews not only brought in the above-mentioned benefits but also included some rocket and nuclear technologies.

 

Former Secretary of States Henery Kissinger and Madeleine Albright are Jews. Albright is a first generation migrant who had arrived in USA during her teenage years.  Arnold Schwarzenegger is also a famous immigrant.

 

Even all the previous and present Prime Ministers of Malaysia have immigrant blood.  They have done a lot for Malaysia’s present progress and prosperity.< /div>

 

Thailand’s Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra also has Yunan Chinese migrant blood.

 

The first generatio n of migrants knew and accepted what they were.  They knew that they were just foreigners and were grateful to the host country.  They were happy because they were accepted and allowed to settle in the new paradise.  The hardships and numerous problems in their old countries were still fresh in their memories and were sometimes refreshed by the nightmares which replayed their sufferings.  They were willing to accept all the preconditions, restrictions, rules and regulations even if these were unfair or unfavourable to them, just to be allowed to stay in the host country.  They were glad to struggle and overcome all the hardships they encountered, sometimes even with a spirit of ecstasy.  They had a fighting, never-say-di e  spirit and almost always worked hard for long hours.  They did not mind even if they had to work with lower wages and without much dignity.

 

Migrant workers are well known to face ‘three D’ work, i.e. Dangerous, Dirty and Difficult jobs or demeaning jobs.

 

3.  Another testimony of benefit to host country

 

I want here to quote an article from the 27.01.1999 issue of The Sydney Morning Herald entitled “A migrant nation still” to offer a rare view on the issue of migrants.

 

“One of the recurring themes of Australia Day speeches has been recognition of the valuable contribution migrants have made to this country.  Anyone who has lived in Australia through 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s would appreciate this. 

 

The waves of mainly British and Irish migrants in the 19th and early 20th centuries built this country’s economic infrastructure, wrote its fundamental laws, erected its political institutions and gave it its distinctive identity. 

 

Postwar migrants, first from southern and eastern Europe, and then from the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific, brought skills in short supply, enriched the culture and infused a certain vitality into Australia’s national character. 

 

Australia, in short, is a migrant country and will remain a migrant country for the foreseeable future.  Its immigration policy should reflect this by remaining generous and non-discriminatory.

 

Various arguments have been advanced against this proposition.  One of the intellectually more appealing is that this is a dry and largely barren continent that cannot support an ever-increasing population.  Proponents of zero population growth contend that Australia is already overpopulated – or close to it – in terms of available essential resources, including clean water and arable land.  But this is an argument that judges a country’s capacity to carry a population on the basis of existing technologies, patterns of land use and lifestyles.  It ignores the creative relationship between a people and their natural environment.  In fact the colony almost perished for lack of food in its first 10 years.

 

But Australia now supports almost 20 million inhabitants and while the possibilities aren’t limitless, they are nowhere near exhausted.

 

Other arguments raised against continuing high immigration levels reflect unsubstantiated fears and unacceptable prejudices:

 

It is often claimed, for example, that migrants compete for jobs with native-born Australians and that they often win the contest because they are prepared to work for less money or reduced working conditions.  That may be true in some cases, but it is not the rule. 

 

Furthermore, migrants also generate jobs by enlarging the market for locally produced goods and by creating new markets for goods and services that were not produced before they arrived.

 

It is also said that the more migrants there are, the less likely they will be to assimilate to the host society’s laws, conventions and customs.  That may be so, but the result is not necessarily social division or cultural subversion.  Typically it is change for the better.  If migrants didn’t challenge the accepted ways of doing things or try to alter the social situations they encounter, Australia would have lost a vital part of the energy, which makes it what it is today.

 

Australia would be a poorer place to live in in every sense of the word.  To believe otherwise is to be deluded by nostalgia. 

 

There will always be problems of resettlement and adjustment – many of which ethnic communities at times foolishly choose to ignore or disown.  But these problems should not be exaggerated or allowed to detract from the overall good sense of the existing immigration program when the bunting has been swept up from Australia Day.”

 

SHWE BA