LETTER | Go after those employing undocumented migrant workers

Ashgar Ali Ali Mohamed


LETTER | It is important that all workers, irrespective whether a domestic or documented migrant worker, should be treated with fairness, dignity and equality. The employment rights and benefits accorded to a domestic worker must also cover documented migrant workers.

All forms of exploitation and abusive practices against these workers are abhorred by various international instruments such as UN treaties and the International Labour Organisation’s Conventions, among others.

The domestic legislations have prescribed numerous protection for workers ranging from the prohibition of slavery in Article 6 of the Federal Constitution to the imposing of punishments for various offences against a person. This necessarily extends to workers at the workplace.

Unfortunately, an undocumented migrant worker is more vulnerable to various forms of exploitation and abuses by the employer. A person becomes ‘undocumented’ either because he enters into the country without legal documentation or initially with legal documentation but loses their legal status because of overstaying after the expiry of their entry permit.

An undocumented migrant worker who sneaked into the country illegally or remained illegally in the country after the expiry of his entry permit, ought to take the brunt of the law as their action seriously undermines the national security and sovereignty of the county.

While an undocumented migrant worker who was trafficked into the country, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007 ought to be vigorously enforced against the traffickers. 

The act criminalises trafficking or smuggling of persons for exploitation and forced labour, where if convicted, severe punishment is inflicted as a deterrent not only to the offender but also to the like-minded offenders who if convicted, would be dealt with similarly.

More importantly, the employer who hires or engages on wages an undocumented migrant worker must be firmly dealt with and if convicted, severe punishment must be inflicted on them as their action of knowingly employing these workers has mocked the laws of the country.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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