The Home Ministry has been told to focus its attention on the root cause of illegal foreign workers, instead of cracking down on the victims.
“Sadly, many of the illegal foreign workers in Malaysia are victims of human trafficking and fraud, who have incurred massive debts after paying off ‘recruitment agents’ in the hope of getting a job in Malaysia to escape poverty at home.
“Many land in Malaysia to find the agent gone, and no job as promised. With no money to return, broken dreams and little hope, they take up work in Malaysia illegally,” said Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng in a statement.
He was responding to the ministry’s announcement of a nationwide enforcement operations aka Ops Mega 3.0 beginning July 1 to crackdown on illegal foreign workers and their employers.
Lim said the Home Ministry should shift its focus from the illegal foreign workers to the people involved in the human trafficking chain.
“Prosecution of the human smugglers and all those who enable them, protection of the victims and prevention of entry will bring greater gains at a lower cost, than having our Immigration Department hunt down a possible three to four million illegal foreign workers,” he said.
The DAP lawmaker said the government needs to understand why syndicates and human traffickers frequently target Malaysia, but not Singapore and Thailand.
“It must be due to Malaysia's lack of enforcement and a corrupt system.
“The old regime has gone. We must move to a clean, accountable and transparent direction for all agencies involved,” said Lim.
“As it is, Malaysia has slipped to Tier 2 watch list in the 2018 trafficking in persons (TIP) report produced by the US State Department.
“Let us get to the root of the problem - the human smugglers and their enablers - instead of taking in the helpless victims.”