Malaysia: End debt bondage for migrant workers - FreedomUnited.org
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Malaysia: End debt bondage for migrant workers

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The Malaysian government is proposing employers deduct 20% from migrant workers’ salaries.

The reason?

To prevent workers from fleeing their workplaces, or in other words, to control and restrict their movement – characteristics of modern slavery.

Many of the two million migrant workers in Malaysia are already trapped in debt bondage, unable to pay off exploitative recruitment fees. The proposal to cut 20% of their pay will make a bad situation worse.

On the verge of tears, a worker in a factory producing condoms, pleaded “What should I do?”. He explained that the US$250 a month for full-time work is not enough to eat, survive, support his family and pay back the fee to the recruiters who promised he’d be paid twice as much. Leaving risks incurring a penalty.1

Astonishingly, Malaysia’s Human Resources Minister, M. Kulasegaran, argues the proposal is a “win-win situation” for employers and workers.2

Kulasegaran says that the wage deductions would be held in the Social Security Organization (SOSCO) and that migrant workers could claim them once their work permits expire and they leave the country.3

But migrant workers’ hard-earned pay should not be used as a bargaining chip.

“It is high time that the new government starts looking at foreign workers as humans and not as a commodity and comply with the international labor standards strictly instead of paying lip service.” said Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) Secretary-General, J Solomon.4

Amid recent reports of exploitation in Malaysian rubber glove factories5, Kulaseagaraan called for an independent audit of the sector.6 While this is a positive step, he continues to advance the 20% wage deduction proposal.

Kulasegaran submitted the proposal to the National Labor Advisory Council in December 2018, and the government is currently getting input from stakeholders before it is finalized. Now is the time to act. 

Tell Minister Kulasegaran: Cancel the 20% wage deduction proposal and give migrant workers their full pay.

Chip in and help end modern slavery once and for all.

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FionaEdmundo López de la RosahapsburgESTHER MARTINEZMusoke David Recent comment authors
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Fiona
Guest
Fiona

What a joke they are struggling as it is. I believe that employees would be far more likely to leave if their pay was cut by 20%. People know when they are being cheated on do not respect or have loyalty to those who do this to them. High time for fair play to step in.

Edmundo López de la Rosa
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Edmundo López de la Rosa

Labor human rights are closely linked to social security, the right to remain in a job, the right to be compensated in case of
dismissal without just or legal cause, to a salary, to a house, to
training and training, a maximum working day,
to social security, to the distribution of profits, the right to
professional association, among others.

hapsburg
Guest
hapsburg

On the surface it seems unfair etc. But that is the way that business is conducted there and we should not judge that. On a second note, it is stated that if the workers are paid in full, they would not leave etc. On the same tken I assume that the worker should then leave if he/she is not been paid in full. Why is this not happening? Maybe because the migrant workers are in the habit of leaving without notice. You have to undrestand thier culture before making these statements.

ESTHER MARTINEZ
Guest

this is so wrong and unjust. workers should be valued and be able to live a decent life

Musoke David
Guest
Musoke David

shocking what kind of a Government could do so,migrant Workers are
working under very hard condition,its so exploitative and inhuman,just
because am a migrant does that give lee way to the Government
to steal from me.

Urge Malaysia to protect migrant workers from debt bondage

9,396 actions of 10,000 goal
9,396

M. Kulasegaran, Human Resources Minister:

I support the recent decision of your government to conduct a full investigation and inquiry into the situation of workers.

I am deeply concerned that many migrant workers in Malaysia find themselves trapped in debt bondage due to lower than expected wages and large recruitment fees. They struggle to survive and support their families.

The proposal to deduct foreign workers’ wages by 20% is particularly pernicious and I urge you to urgently reconsider. It will make migrant workers’ position even more precarious. They deserve to keep their full wages.

It is against international labor standards to take away workers’ wages without their consent, and migrant workers’ hard-earned pay should not be a bargaining chip to control their movement.

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