Make signed MOU transparent, M'sia told

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A group of Asian parliamentarians has called on Malaysia to be transparent about its Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with countries sending its migrant workers over.


The parliamentarians said stakeholders should be consulted in the formulation of the MOUs and that the MOUs should stipulate the minimum international labour standard, social protection and best practices in the management of migrant labour.


Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan, Sabiha Nazir, told a press conference here Apr 16 that Malaysia should also move forward in concluding the draft ASEAN Framework Instrument on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.


The drafting of the instrument is a product of Article 22 of the Cebu ASEAN Declaration which was adopted in January 2007.


She said the current draft should be made available to stakeholders.


Sabiha said Malaysia should also consider a government to government approach in the recruitment of migrant workers in Malaysia.


"This would minimize recruitment cost and exploitation of migrant workers by outsourcing companies and private recruitment agencies as well as labour brokers," she said.


Sabiha said a special government-led multi-sectorial evaluation task force should be established to analyse the impact of the current outsourcing and recruitment and management of migrant workers in the country.


"We are seriously concerned over the management of migrant workers in Malaysia. Our investigation shows that migrant workers in Malaysia are highly vulnerable to exploitation and violence in an environment where their rights are not protected and promoted," she said.


In addition, Sabiha said migrant workers continue to face violation of labour rights including discriminatory wage practices, long hours of work, no weekly rest day, hazardous working conditions, physically and sexually abusive employers and deplorable living conditions.


The parliamentarians were members of the Advisory Committee on the Asian Inter-Parliamentary Caucus on Labour Migration representing 15 countries. They met on Apr 14-16 in Kuala Lumpur for the second Advisory Committee Meeting and Fact-Finding Mission to inquire on the situation of migrant workers in Malaysia.


They consulted parliamentary members, Migration Working Group, Migrant Care, Malaysian Trade Union Congress, the Bar Council and the Malaysian National Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) as part of their investigation.


Present at the press conference were Cambodia parliamentary member Phirum Keo, Klang parliamentary member Charles Santiago, former member of Constitutional Assembly of Nepal Binda Pandey, Member of Constitutional Assembly of Nepal Zakir Hussain, Phillipine Congressional Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs Chris Lomibao, Sri Lanka parliamentary member Akila Viraj Kariyawasam and Phillipines House of Representatives member Mariquit Melgar. - ES

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