Media statements issued never do get media coverage, and if it does it often does not report all that is stated. Given the fact, there seem to be no real documentation of all these civil society voices, this Blog has been started hoping to capture and preserve the voices of civil society for all. Appreciate it if you could forward me ( statements that have not been picked up by this Blog.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Absurd Detention and Deportation of Australian Senator (Malaysian Bar)

Press Release: Absurd Detention and Deportation of Australian Senator
Saturday, 16 February 2013 02:28pm
ImageThe Malaysian Bar is astounded at the absurdity of the Malaysian authorities in detaining Australian Senator Nick Xenophon upon his arrival on Malaysian soil this morning.  He is currently in custody, having been reportedly refused entry into the country, and will be deported.

Such shameful action on the part of the authorities shows the sizeable gulf between the aspirational statements of the Prime Minister that Malaysia is a modern democracy, and the irrational actions of the people around him.

During the Senator’s visit to Malaysia, he was scheduled to meet representatives of the Government, the Opposition, civil society groups, as well as leaders of the Malaysian Bar.

The authorities are apparently relying on section 8(3) of the Immigration Act, which stipulates the classes of prohibited immigrants, as the legal basis for detention.  However, in the public mind the most natural inference is that the Malaysian Government opposes, and is fearful of, the Senator's views and comments, as he has been outspoken and critical of the Government regarding issues of democracy and human rights.1

Criticism of policy and governance must be respected and received without reprisal, even if they contain inconvenient and uncomfortable truths.  Any other reaction would be a sign of insecurity, and would disrespect the rule of law.

The Malaysian Bar reminds the Prime Minister that action must follow aspiration.  In this instance, the authorities owe an unreserved apology to Senator Nick Xenophon and must promise such an incident will not happen again, to him or any other visitor, merely on the basis of their views.

The Malaysian Bar also calls on the Government to allow the Senator entry into the country, and to assure his colleagues that they will be permitted entry as well.

Lim Chee Wee
Malaysian Bar
16 February 2013

1See “International Fact-Finding Mission on Elections in Malaysia, 25-29 April 2012: FINAL REPORT”, accessible here.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

44 Groups say Stop the Killings: Set up the IPCMC Now

Secretariat : Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)

Joint Press Statement: 15 February 2013
Stop the Killings: Set up the IPCMC Now
Civil society groups are outraged with the violation of human rights principles and the continued abuse of police powers by the officials of the Royal Malaysian Police. Almost every day there is some news on the abuse of power be it death in custody, police shooting, police abuse of suspects, unlawful arrests and many more.

There seems to be no ending to these events. The men in blue who are suppose to uphold the law continues to take the law in their hands. The culture of impunity of the Royal Malaysian Police needs to be arrested and stopped.

We call upon the government under Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib to stop being deaf to the voice of the people, affected communities and members from the civil society to implement the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC). The IPCMC will ensure that the reputation of the police will no longer be tainted by improper conduct or false accusations but move them to be effective in creating a safe environment for all.

The report done in 2005 is comprehensive, progressive and reformist in nature. To restore the public confidence in the police force and to end the violation of human rights by the police, we call upon the government to act with firmness, courage and commitment to implement the recommendations stated in the report for setting up of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC)

·         Implement Recommendation 12 in Chapter 6- Establishment of the IPCMC
·         Table the reading in Parliament at the next sitting
The killings and abuses by the men in blue are serious and never ending. If this persists, it will be a threat to the well being of our nation and the rule of law.

We, Stop State Violence Coalition urge the Government to have political will in establishing IPCMC and adhering to the report. It is high time for the government to implement its own findings initiated through the Royal Commission and make a stand in reforming its police force without any delay.

This statement endorsed by,
1. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
2. Malaysian for Beng Hock
3. Malaysian Physicians for Social Responsibility
4. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
5. Education and Research Association for Consumers (ERA Consumer)
6. Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
7. Tenaganita
8. Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET)
9. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)
10. Community Development Center (CDC)
11. Malaysia Youth & Students Democratic Movement (DEMA)
12. Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)
13. Community Action Network (CAN)
14. Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (KOMAS)
15. Women's Aid Organisation (WAO)
16. Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI)
17. Center for Orang Asli Concerns
18. Lawyers For LIberty (LFL)
19. Association of Women Lawyers
20. Amnesty International Malaysia
21. Johor Yellow Flame
22. Kill The Bill
23. Youth section of KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall
24. Persatuan Komuniti Prihatin Selangor dan KL
25. Youth Section of Serdang Bahru Alumni
26. Aliran
27. Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)
28. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
29. Johor Yellow Flame
30. Kill The Bill
31. Youth section of KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall
32. Persatuan Komuniti Prihatin Selangor dan KL
33. Youth Section of Serdang Bahru Alumni
34. Association of Women Lawyers
35. Mama Bersih
36. Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)
37. Persatuan Alumni PBTUSM KL & Selangor
38. LLG Cultural Development Centre (LLG)
39. Women's Centre for Change (WCC)
40. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
41. Persatuan Mahasiswa Islam UPM (PMI UPM)
42. Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM)
43. Youths for Justice and Peace Movement
44. Transparency International Malaysia

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

75 Groups:- MINIMUM WAGES FOR ALL WORKERS, INCLUDING MIGRANT WORKERS - No to Wage Deduction to recover Levy Payable By Employers -

Joint Statement- 5/2/2013 (now 75)

- No to Wage Deduction to recover Levy Payable By Employers -

We, the undersigned 75 civil society organizations, trade unions and groups are shocked with the recent decision of the Malaysian cabinet on 30/1/2013 to allow employers of migrant workers to recover levy that they paid the government to employ foreign workers from migrant workers through wage deductions. 

According to the law, workers in Malaysia were to receive minimum wages of RM900[USD291](for Peninsular Malaysia) and RM800[USD259] (for Sabah and Sarawak) as of 1/1/2013. Khalid Atan, the President of the Malaysian Trade Union Congress(MTUC) said, “…if workers were asked to pay the levy, the minimum wages policy would not benefit them at all, as whatever little increase in salary they enjoyed, would be wiped out with the levy payment…” [Star, 10/1/2013, MTUC: Don't give in to employers' demand on foreign workers levy]

Some employers have also been trying to avoid this obligation to pay minimum wages, which is basic wages not inclusive overtime, existing allowances and other benefits. Some do it by re-structuring worker remuneration by including all other allowances, incentives and benefits to make up the RM900, which is very wrong. Some employers are making employees to sign documents agreeing to these changes, whereby this is made easier when there are no worker unions. Workers generally have no avenue of complaint, or even choice in the matter especially when many now are employed based on short-term employment contract. A refusal by the worker means a non-renewal or no new employment contracts when their contracts expire.

To avoid paying workers minimum wages, the Malaysian government also allowed employers the right to apply for a delay in paying workers minimum wages, and vide Minimum Wages(Amendment) Order 2012 dated 28/12/2012, the government allowed more than 500 employers to delay paying workers minimum wages. What was blatantly wrong in this process was that the aggrieved workers and/or their unions were not given any right to be heard before the employer’s application to deny them their entitlement to minimum wages was approved.

The Malaysian government, in the past, on the application of certain employers, allowed them to make wage deductions and/or wage advances, contrary to the general provisions in law with the intention to allow employers to recover from migrant workers monies expended by employers to get migrant workers to Malaysia to work for them. This included sometimes not just a means to recover levy paid, but also all other costs incurred by employers to recruit and bring in migrant workers. Approvals were given by the government with no consultation or agreement of the worker or their unions. As of 1/4/2009, the Malaysian government stopped this practice, and made it clear that it is employers that have to pay the levy and they cannot recover the said sum from migrant workers.

Labour Director-General Datuk Ismail Abdul Rahim was reported saying that, “…The rationale behind getting employers to bear the levy was to discourage them from employing foreigners…” [Star, 16/4/2009, Employers can deduct levy from wages, again]. As such, this current move to make migrant workers pay the levy removes the very intention of levy, i.e. to discourage employers from employing foreign workers.

The reason for the new decision ‘… is to alleviate the hiring cost for employers, said Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah...’ [Star, 30/1/2013, Cabinet: Foreign workers to pay levy instead of employers with immediate effect]. If the Malaysian government now wants to reduce the financial burden of employers who hire migrant workers, then rightfully the government should reduce or remove the levy – not shift the burden to workers.

Migrant workers sacrifice a lot when they elect to come to Malaysia to work. They have to leave behind the spouses, children, family and friends for Malaysian law allows them to only come alone and work in Malaysia, and they also are barred from falling in love and getting married during their employment period  which is usually for at least 5 years. They also end up incurring substantial debt when they come, for they have to pay, amongst others recruitment agents, most times these payments include both legal and ‘illegal’ payments. Whilst in Malaysia, they are bound to just one employer – having no right to change employers.

When they claim rights, even through existing legal avenues, they generally are terminated and their employment pass/permits are also cancelled depriving them the right to stay (or work) legally in Malaysia until their claims are resolved. The termination of these passes/permits is done by the Malaysian government irrespective of whether there are outstanding claims or pending cases concerning the said worker’s rights.

This precarious reality of migrant workers makes them vulnerable to exploitation by some employers, knowing that it is most easy to violate worker rights and then get off scot free. Until laws and policies are amended to protect migrant’s worker rights, naturally migrant workers become the preferred choice over local workers as they are certainly a more easily exploited class of workers.

We call on the Malaysian government to immediately rescind the decision made by the Malaysian cabinet on Wednesday(30/1/2013) to allow employers of migrant workers to recover the levy they pay the government by deduction of wages of migrant workers.

We take the position that all workers, including migrant workers, are entitled to receive minimum wages, whereby this is the basic wage and should not include allowances, benefits and other work incentives. Employers should not be permitted to remove pre-April 2012 worker entitlements and benefits, being the date the Minimum Wage Order 2012 came into force, from existing and subsequent employment contracts.

We call on the Malaysian government to end all forms of discrimination against workers, with regard to, amongst others, their nationality, gender, duration of their employment contracts.

Charles Hector
Pranom Somwong
Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud

For and on behalf the 75  groups listed:


Angkatan Rakyat Muda Parti Rakyat Malaysia (ARM-PRM)

Asian Migrant Centre (AMC), Hong Kong 

Asian Migrants Coordinating Body (AMCB) Hong Kong

Asia Monitor Resource Centre, Hong Kong

Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law And Development (APWLD)

Asia Pacific Mission For Migrants (APMM ), Hong Kong

Association of Indonesian Migrant Worker in Hong Kong (ATKI-HK)

Bangladeshi Ovibashi Mohila Sramik Association (BOMSA)

Burma Campaign Malaysia

BWI (Building and Wood Worker's International)

CAW (Committee for Asian Women)

Centre for Human Rights and Development-Sri Lanka

Center for Orang  Asli Concerns (COAC), Malaysia

CEREAL - Centro de Reflexión y Acción Laboral – Guadalajara, Mexico

Clean Clothes Campaign( CCC )

Community Action Network (CAN), Malaysia

Community Development Services, Sri Lanka

COVA (Confederation of Voluntary Associations), India

Electronic Industry Employees Union Western Region (EIEUWR), Malaysia

Far East Overseas Nepalese Association (FEONA), Hong Kong

Filipino Migrant Workers Union (FMWU)

GoodElectronics Network

Human Rights Ambassador for

IMA Research Foundation, Bangladesh

International Domestic Workers Network

Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Polyplastics Asia Pacific Sdn Bhd.

Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja MHS Aviation Berhad

Kesatuan Sekerja Industri Elektronik Wilayah Selatan (EIEUSR), Malaysia

LSCW (Legal Support for Children and Women), Cambodia

MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)

Malaysia Youth & Students Democratic Movement (DEMA)

MAP Foundation, Thailand

Migrant Domestic Workers Trust, India

Migrant Forum, India

Migrant Health Association in Korea

MIGRANTE International

Mindanao Migrants Center for Empowering Actions, Inc. (MMCEAI)

Mission For Migrant Workers - Hong Kong

MTUC (Malaysian Trade Union Congress)

Myanmar Ethnic Rohingyas Human Rights Organization Malaysia (MERHROM)

National Domestic Workers Movement, India

National Union of Transport Equipment & Allied Industries Workers (NUTEAIW)

Network of Action for Migrants in Malaysia (NAMM)

NLD-LA (National League for Democracy-Liberated Areas), Malaysia

NUBE (National Union of Banking Employees), Malaysia

OKUP (Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program) in Bangladesh

Parti Rakyat Malaysia(PRM)

Paper & Paper Products Manufacturing Employees' Union Of Malaysia (PPPMEU)

 Persatuan  Sahabat  Wanita, Selangor

Persatuan  Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)

Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)

PILAR (United Indonesians in Hong Kong against Overcharging) , Hong Kong


Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia {SABM}

SUARAM, Malaysia

Tamilnadu Domestic Workers Union, India

Tamilnadu Domestic Workers Welfare Trust, India

Tenaganita, Malaysia

Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2), Singapore

United for Foreign Domestic Workers' Rights (UFDWR )

WAC, Philippines

WARBE Development Foundation-Bangladesh

Women Workers Lead

WH4C – Workers Hub For Change

Yayasan LINTAS NUSA - Batam – Indonesia

Solidaritas Perempuan (SP) / Women's Solidarity for Human Rights, Indonesia

SEWA (Self Employed Women’s Association), India

Electronic Industry Employees Union Eastern  Region(EIEUER), Malaysia[KSIEWTSM]  


Nepal Labour Journalists' Association

Migrant  Care, Indonesia

CIMS (Centre for Indian Migrant's Studies)

United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK)

Kav LaOved – Protecting Workers' Rights