LETTER | PSM would like to congratulate the appointment of the eight new members of the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam). We are especially pleased with the appointment of Mohd Hishamudin Md Yunus, the outstanding former Appeal’s Court judge. In fact, we think someone like Hishamudin’s standing should have been made the chairperson of Suhakam.
However, PSM and many others are still waiting for the report of the Special Committee on Foreign Worker Management led by no other than Hishamudin himself. Why hasn’t this report been made public? This independent committee was set up by the cabinet in August 2018 to streamline policies on foreign workers. Many people including PSM participated in the townhall discussion organised by this committee and have given recommendations and feedbacks.
One major issue of contention is, who should manage the country’s foreign workers' recruitment policy? The choice was between the Immigration Department under the Home Ministry and the Human Resource Ministry. Most stakeholders who attended these townhall sessions wanted the Human Resource Ministry to manage these policies. The reasons are obvious.
The recent charging of former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is testimony to why there is a big tussle on who controls the migrant workers' portfolio because it means big money. Zahid was slapped with seven new corruption charges involving millions of ringgit that he allegedly made from foreign visa system (VLN) while he was the home minister. Foreign workers are big business as well as big corruption.
Similarly, what happened to the Institutional Reforms Committee (IRC) report which was set up in May 2018 to look into reforms of important government agencies and institutions? The IRC was chaired by another prominent retired Court of Appeal judge KC Vohrah. It also included former prominent members S Ambiga and Shad Saleem Faruqi.
Why are the reports from good people not made public? Why are so much taxpayers' money spent in getting feedbacks and coming out with reports, yet those reports are not being made public?
What is the Pakatan Harapan government afraid of? The Harapan government came to power because of the abuses of power on institutional matters (under the previous administration) and one of the biggest promises was to make those changes.
Why are the people who brought about these changes not given equal respect when reports of public interest are kept under wraps? A lot of good people have sacrificed time and energy on institutional changes over the years. Their sacrifices and these reports need to see the light of day.
S ARUTCHELVAN is a PSM central committee member.
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