Come up with a transparent and fair system, experts urge govt

21 Feb 2023 08:00am
Photo for illustrative purposes - 123rf
Photo for illustrative purposes - 123rf

SHAH ALAM - Fix the system, make sure its transparent, effective and fair urge experts on undocumented migrant workers issues.

Migrant rights activist Josh Hong urged the government to find a way to sort out the issue where immigrants don't have to go through a third-party to access the system.

"The government can give a one year grace time period for the undocumented migrants to earn enough money and make them go back to their homeland but I'm not sure why the government is not considering this.

"The government's system is old, abused by dodgy people who find ways and opportunities to exploit these undocumented migrants.

"So the government has to look on how to fix the system, make sure it is transparent, effective and fair to them," he reasoned.

On Feb 15, around 55 undocumented Indonesian immigrants were arrested in Cyberjaya.

They were arrested in an operation conducted by the immigration department in a village tucked within a forest and hill where they have been living for seven years.

When asked on why the immigrants cannot be legalised, Josh said its because of the legalisation and re-calibration process.

The re-calibration process exercises online application where you register online, wait for an appointment, go to immigration office and pay RM1500 and you'll be given a proper document to work.

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"Most immigrants may not have access to these information so they miss out on the opportunity due to lack of education and technology while some might be waiting for repatriation but end up getting caught in the midst of returning to their homeland.

"Not everybody is aware and has access to this information so they have to rely on third parties and many of these third parties use this opportunity to extort money from them," he elaborated.

Meanwhile, Migrant Care Malaysia Representative Alex Ong said the Labour Recalibration Programme (RTK) 2.0 has flaws in its passport documentation issues.

He added that the Indonesian embassy here can only issue travel documents like passports and not documents for their people to work here.

"Both governments must conduct talks on these issues to find solutions, if RTK 2.0 targets undocumented migrants then the countries where these migrants are from must corporate with the Malaysian authorities on inter-countries policies gaps.

"Another flaw of the system is most migrants who want to return to their homeland could not afford to pay fines. Government to government engagement is important to find solutions for mutual problems," he said.

Alex added that the immigration department needed to engage employers including those in the informal economy sectors to determine the best policies to put in place.

"The Human Resource ministry labour market research unit is important to assist the Home Affairs ministry to formulate the work permit policies.

"The shift of labour issues to the Home Affairs Ministry is due to weak leadership in the Peninsular Malaysia Labour department (JTKSM) which lacks the capacity to deliver the desired policy outcome.

"Drastic changes is needed in migrant labour management, perhaps the change of top leadership at JTKSM can bridge the inter agency gaps," he said.