Lugar Report on complicity of Malaysian officials in human trafficking of Burmese refugees for prostitution/forced labour – Najib must act now

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should respond with instant government action in keeping with his “Performance Now” motto on the Lugar Report which accused Malaysian officials of complicity in the human trafficking of Burmese refugees who have been sold into prostitution and other kinds of forced labour in recent years.

It has been reported in the international press, including the Financial Times and IPS, that Richard Lugar, the top Republican on the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has handed to the Malaysian government a report “Trafficking and Extortion of Burmese Migrants in Malaysia and Southern Thailand”.

The report is based on first person accounts of extortion and trafficking in Malaysia and along the Malaysia-Thailand border. Committee information comes from experiences of Burmese refugees resettled in the United States and other countries.

The report highlights the plight of Burmese migrants who crossed Thailand into Malaysia in the hope of registering with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and then being resettled in a third country.

According to the investigation, Malaysian officials have transported migrants – including some who had registered with UNHCR – from detention centres to the Thai border for deportation. At the border, however, migrants are handed to traffickers unless they can pay a ransom.

“Migrants state that those unable to pay are turned over to human peddlers in Thailand, representing a variety of business interests ranging from fishing boats to brothels,” said the report.

The Senate investigators also received multiple reports of Burmese women being sexually abused by traffickers, including some in front of their husbands because, as one NGO employee cited in the report put it, “no one dares to intervene as they would be shot or stabbed to death in the jungle’’.

“[Burmese women] are sold at a brothel if they look good,” recounted one refugee. “If they are not beautiful, they [the traffickers] might sell them at a restaurant or house-keeping job.”

The committee launched the investigation in 2007 after hearing allegations about the trafficking of Burmese migrants “with the knowledge, if not participation” of Malaysian officials.

“The prospect that Burmese migrants, having fled the heavy hand of the Burmese junta, only to find themselves in harms’ way in Malaysia seemed beyond belief,” said the report.

While raising concerns about the role of “government officials” – which the report defines as immigration and police officials, and the semi-official People’s Volunteer Corps [Rela] – Lugar welcomed the Malaysian police’s recent decision to investigate the allegations.

The report estimated that a few thousand Burmese have been brought to the border with Thailand in recent years, and in particular to the Sungai Golok in Thailand and Padang Besar in Malaysia.

It said Burmese refugees now residing in the US had provided names and bank account details for people involved in the trafficking, which have now been forwarded to Malaysian law enforcement officials.

The Malaysian Parliamentary Caucus on Myanmar will convene a meeting on the Lugar Report and will seek a meeting with the Prime Minister and the new Foreign Minister, Datuk Anifah Aman as the Lugar Report is not only most damaging to Malaysia’s international image but raises grave questions about Malaysia’s human rights commitment in ASEAN.

  1. #1 by OrangRojak on Friday, 24 April 2009 - 11:33 am

    which have now been forwarded to Malaysian law enforcement officials.
    I hope they sent copies and kept the originals.

  2. #2 by monsterball on Friday, 24 April 2009 - 11:43 am


  3. #3 by k1980 on Friday, 24 April 2009 - 12:24 pm

    Burmese refugees now residing in the US had provided names and bank account details for people involved in the trafficking.

    Publish these names in the mass media. If these people are truly innocent of the allegations, they should step forward and provide proof of their innocence. Failing which, the Interpol should issue warrants for their arrest.

  4. #4 by Onlooker Politics on Friday, 24 April 2009 - 12:29 pm

    “It said Burmese refugees now residing in the US had provided names and bank account details for people involved in the trafficking, which have now been forwarded to Malaysian law enforcement officials.” (Lim Kit Siang)

    With the operation of illegal money lending businesses, the so-called Tai Long (the loan sharks), which will keep the money borrowers’ Bank Debit Card and the Access Password, it is questionable that the names and bank account details as provided to the Malaysian law enforcement officials will help anything in tracking down the culprit of human trafficking. It will not be able to sell the Burmese women too easily to the Prostitution Parlour operators without the insider collaborators from the Malaysian law enforcement officials. Perhaps MACC should have deployed some spies in the Immigration Department and the Prostitution Parlours in order to trace any insider offenders of the illegal human trafficking business at the Malaysia-Thai borders.

  5. #5 by badak on Friday, 24 April 2009 - 1:07 pm

    Once again MACC and SPR had showh their BIAS towards UMNO and BN.It was good of MACC to clear Fairus of corruption. But what about the rest of the ELECTED REPRESENTATIVE who are being investigated. Why is MACC taking so long …
    All i can see, is now MACC and SPR are hoping that FAIRUS will not step down. OR will FAIRUS NOW COME OUT OF PR and JOIN BN.

  6. #6 by k1980 on Friday, 24 April 2009 - 1:27 pm

    Careful, Richard Lugar, you might be jailed like Irene Fernandez

    In 1995, Tenaganita released a memorandum entitled “Abuse, Torture and Dehumanised Treatment of Migrant Workers at Detention Centres” describing problems in the recruitment and management of migrant workers that resulted in their abuse both in and out of detention.

    The memo also focused on conditions of detention, highlighting overcrowding, inadequate sanitation, insufficient food and water (leading to dehydration, malnutrition, diarrhoea and even cases of beri-beri), sex abuse of female detainees and corruption. Tenaganita expressed concern over deaths in detention, “as high as four deaths per week at the Semenyih camp alone”, citing illnesses, torture, and inadequate medical care as possible causes of death.

    The memo made several recommendations, including the independent monitoring of detention centres by human rights groups, the establishment of an independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate allegations of abuse, the creation of a complaints mechanism for migrants, and the reform of the legislative framework and system of recruitment so that the rights of workers could be better protected.

    Instead of considering these recommendations, the government proceeded to charge Irene Fernandez for maliciously publishing false news.

  7. #7 by taiking on Friday, 24 April 2009 - 4:04 pm

    Uncle kit said:

    “The Malaysian Parliamentary Caucus on Myanmar will convene a meeting on the Lugar Report and will seek a meeting with the Prime Minister and the new Foreign Minister, Datuk Anifah Aman as the Lugar Report is not only most damaging to Malaysia’s international image but raises grave questions about Malaysia’s human rights commitment in ASEAN.”

    Yeah meet to discuss how best to deny the allegations and how best to tell the little red dot down south to shut up over this matter with threats of cutting water supply.

    If you ask me, even though I have no sight of that US report I think I would have no hesitation in accepting the content of that report as true and correct. Unfair? Yes, it may bloody well be. But going by the general scheme of things with umno (power crazy and super greedy attitude) and our civil servants, law enforcer, judiciary etc etc, revelations like that do not surprise me. Not one little bit.

    And add this to the hotly rumoured connection between the murdered and disintegrated mongolian woman and our hey-wot’s-soaking-man supreme minister, what we have is a severely tarnished international image. I am proud of malaysia and I am a proud malaysia. Its just that I am ashame of my government – the umno government.

  8. #8 by james111 on Friday, 24 April 2009 - 5:01 pm

    Dear YB LKS,

    i have just read at MStar Online that Tan Keng Liang (i.e. the Gerakan Kedah Youth one) scolded you badly in response of your “silly remarks” of their 100k penalty proposal to SPR.

    I think that’s a total disrespect to a senior MP.
    I suggest you should highlight to the public how rude this person is to you and disrespectful of senior MP.
    Gerakan has no respect to senior MP!
    I support you!!!
    Keep up the good job YB LKS

  9. #9 by rj-aipmc on Friday, 24 April 2009 - 5:17 pm

    dear ‘taiking’, in response to your comment:

    just to clarify that the ‘Malaysian Parliamentary Caucus on Myanmar’ is actually a group of MPs from Malaysia (part of a regional parliamentary caucus on Burma – AIPMC – who are pro-democracy and pro-human rights in Burma and concerned about issues affecting Burmese regionally and internationally. Therefore they will be meeting to push the Malaysian govt to address the allegations found in the Lugar report and hopefully the govt will work towards the protection of Burmese (and as well other nationalities) who are being trafficked and abused.

    i believe you have made an innocent mistake in your post as the caucus will certainly not deny these allegations – in fact, caucus members like YB Lim has raised this numerous times before the report (most recently MP Charles Santiago – AIPMC member and DAP MP did so as well).

    in terms of your other comments, i think you’ve got it spot on, and good to hear you raising your concerns here. i do hope that Malaysians like you will urge the Malaysian govt to publish the report (which has been handed over to them by the US senate committee) and declare its efforts to correct the wrongdoings alleged. also, see here for Malaysia news reporting on the report:

  10. #10 by puteri pinang on Friday, 24 April 2009 - 5:28 pm

    Talking about Gerakan. Today’s STAR reporting “Gerakan : Road signs for heritage zones still not up” Seems like Gerakan Penang’s CAT Watch has nothing else to look into except petty items. People are out of jobs and here they are not only not contributing to building the state but making noises for something insignificant during such hard times. Can’t they choose a better timing for that? Does the multilingual road sign fall under the scope of CAT Watch?

  11. #11 by rubini on Friday, 24 April 2009 - 5:32 pm

    The Lugar report confirms what Tenaganita reported in 1995. Again the level of corruption of the Malaysian Police Force, RELA, Immigration and the complicity of the MACC.

    These Law Enforcement Agencies have degenerated into group Ah Long Thugs. It’s verified that the Law Enforcement Agencies are gangsters with a Badge.

    It’s time the rakyat is highlighted that Kugan case is mere tip of the iceberg. This Government MUST GO

  12. #12 by Loh on Friday, 24 April 2009 - 5:40 pm

    Sorry off-topic

    Dr. Mahathir Mohamad
    on April 23, 2009 4:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (58) | TrackBacks (0)
    (This is the first instalment in a series on the trends that led to the present financial crisis)

    ///1. We all believe that the great economically developed countries achieved prosperity through their genius in economic management and their skills in business. They are also seen to be able to govern their countries well.///–TDM

    In addition they are advanced in science and technology which enable them to produce goods and services that people from the less developed region rely. Medicines are mainly produced in the advanced countries and so are medical equipment. We cannot deny that. As for the ability to govern, Singapore has at least proved to be better than Malaysia.

    ///2. They had developed various indices to indicate the level of prosperity they had achieved. And gleefully they compared these indices, especially per capita incomes and Gross Domestic Product, with those of the poor countries, to show how competent they were in the management of their economies. The poor are poor because they did not learn how to manage their countries. They should be regarded as failed states.///– TDM

    The indices are not developed by the developed countries to indicate the level of prosperity they had achieved. The indices are technical measurement developed by the statistical agencies, and it is the Statistics Office of the United Nations that coordinates with the national statistical agencies around the world to develop a common measure for economic analysis.

    ///3. The claim by the rich that they were good in management and governance is only partly true. They did produce goods, provide services and they traded domestically and internationally. But their wealth from these activities is not as big as they made out to be. If the per capita and GDP are based only on these real businesses they would not be as rich as they claim to be. Certainly the United States and Britain would actually be nearly bankrupt.///–TDM

    Data on GDP are based on hard facts and reliable statistical surveys. GDP data the world over are based on the System of National Accounts which was last revised in 1993. The MPS system of national account based only on products adopted by Russia and its allies ceased to be applicable since the 1990s. What is certain is that the figures on GDP, even from Malaysia are quite reliable. Of course the statistics of percentage share of corporate ownership owned by Malays as produced by EPU has remained at 18.9 percent for the past decades. The omission and manipulation of the corporate ownership data which EPU produced is the worst statistical lies ever produced by mankind.

    ///4. What has sustained their high indices is their genius at gambling and manipulating money. It is this which had earned them huge profits and enabled their people to enjoy a very high level of prosperity.

    5. Take the stock market for example. The money made in playing the stock market has nothing to do with real business. Usually the dividends paid out are very small, being based on the original share value. Thus if the shares were initially valued at one dollar, a five percent dividend would be only five cents./// –TDM

    The purpose of the stock market is to allow entrepreneurs the facility to raise capital to produce goods or services which they were not able to do on their own resources, but they had good projects which are beneficial to consumers. But the use of the stock market has been thoroughly abused right within this country. There are over 1000 public listed companies in the country and they have certainly satisfied the relevant authority (God knows how) to have them listed. But of these how many have satisfied the test that they have good projects for the benefit of consumers. Malaysians could use satellite disk to watch whatever programmes we wanted that are produced overseas. But since we are not allowed to install satellite disk for whatever reason the government chooses to justify, Astro is able to have the monopoly to channel overseas programmes, and we have no choice but to pay through our nose for Astro programmes. The stock market allows monopoly when the interested parties in the government work hand in glove with the private sector. The owner of Astro is called a tycoon not because he had invented anything new for the benefit of the people. But the government used the authority of licensing to make whoever the powers-that-be want to make them rich. Malaysia might have its stock market badly abused more than in other countries.

    ///6. But if the demand for the shares is great the one dollar share may be valued at very many times the initial share price. If the “market price” of the share is five dollars, a five per cent dividend would give the shareholder only 0.5% or half-cent dividend for each share bought at five dollars. That is not likely to make the shareholders rich.///–TDM

    The demand and supply of shares depends on its earning potential; it could be dividend or capital gain. It certainly has nothing to do with whether the company is national project, like national car, and people pay out of ‘loyalty’

    ///7. It would be better to put the money in fix deposit and get a four per cent interest i.e. on five dollars one would get 20 cents in interest.

    8. However, if the value of the shares appreciates say from five dollars to six dollars the return on the five dollar investment would be one dollar or 20 per cent. But the real worth of the business in assets term will not be as reflected in the market value or capital.

    9. If the business fails then it would fetch only a fraction of the market price should it be liquidated.

    10. On the other hand the assets may be worth far more than the depreciated market price. By then the investors in the shares at market price would have lost much of the money invested.///–TDM

    Buying and selling shares for profit is for those who have the capital, the knowledge and foresight. Some people enjoy swimming but others can’t even swim, and there were those who were drowned.

    ///11. If a buyer buys up all the depreciated shares, he would make a good profit selling off the assets and liquidating the business. This is not really business, though some do buy to do asset stripping. After that there would be no more business to contribute to the GDP.///– TDM

    Slater Walker made great profit through asset stripping because he had the ability to do so. There was no restriction on the purchase, and if others had the ability, competition would have raisen the share price. Selling off assets allow reorganization of the company which might made the constituent establishments more efficient. Efficiency in the resultant business units contributes to increase in GDP.

    ///12. What is clear here is that the share prices have nothing to do with the business being done. Even when the business is profitable the very high share prices do not really reflect the market value or profitability of the business. The share prices are really artificial. The shares, basically the pieces of paper have become commodities on their own.///– TDM

    The pieces of share certificates are not commodities which could be consumed. They are like currency notes as a store of value except that they depend on market value. The share prices cannot move the volume of business except that it might influence the availability of loan facilities. One the other hand business of the company affects share prices. Share prices are linked to the productivity and profitability of the companies, and they are therefore not artificial.

    ///13. Yet investors can become very rich buying and selling the shares. Of course they can also lose all their invested money.

    14. The share prices are also subject to manipulation. Through short selling the prices can be pushed up or down. Again the movements of the share prices have nothing to do with the real business being done.///– TDM

    That too is true in real life where the strong considers it his right to bully the weak. But manipulation might not succeed against the might of financial power the country has.

    ///15. The stock market has degenerated into a casino where bets are made which may have nothing at all to do with the businesses. This gambling in the rich countries can be far bigger than the worth of the companies listed in the stock market. Yet this wealth from non-business will get into the calculation of the per capita income and GDP.

    16. But this is not the only non-real wealth which pushes up the per capita and the GDP of the rich countries.///– TDM

    It has been said that the stock prices in Malaysia rise just before general election so that UMNO could get the money from the market to supplement the costs of their election campaign. That was not manipulation, what is?

    ///17. I will follow this up with other wealth which are the result of shuffling papers.///–TDM

    Why would not Malaysian government create wealth by shuffling papers?

  13. #13 by OrangRojak on Friday, 24 April 2009 - 5:53 pm

    james111, senior MPs can be idiots too. Age is not a qualification, just a quality. “Disrespect” is an idea from 50 years ago. If LKS errs, he should be prepared to put up with people capitalising on his mistake.

    Having said that, the fine proposal is obviously complete nonsense. It’s bad enough that the 5 year ban on resignation should exist, given the Constitution’s support of “Freedom of Association”. Suggesting that a proposal to make a bad thing worse deserves respect clearly misses the whole point of respect.

    If a politician wants to resign every other week, and his constituents elect him and his bizarre behaviour, that is what democracy delivers – what the people want. It may not be what politicians who believe they deserve respect as well as a pay-check want, but to fail to understand that is to fail to understand democracy.

    You will get your respect, Dr Tan Keng Liang. When you utter something respectable. Feel free to try again, it’s a democracy you know? If people respect your comments, they’ll vote for you.

  14. #14 by taiking on Friday, 24 April 2009 - 6:07 pm

    Anyone here remembers the darren kang incident? That chap who was killed by a group of people one of whom was reportedly the son of a certain minister? Who is that fella and who is that minister?

    Yeah what happened? All gone quiet hasnt it? So are we surprised by the US report?

    Oi Lugar. Its alright. Its ok. Nothing to panic. Really. Its malaysia. Our land. Our laws. And our rights. They are pendatangs arent they? And pendatangs have no rights at all. In other words, when they land here, we are can strip them clear of everything. You know so that they comply with that have-no-rights-at-all status.

  15. #15 by james111 on Friday, 24 April 2009 - 6:42 pm

    Orang Rojak,
    that person Tan Keng Liang is not a doctor. He is a lawyer based on what stated at his blog

  16. #16 by chengho on Friday, 24 April 2009 - 6:55 pm


    yes we can…provide the evidence…publish in news paper or in this blog….NATO….no action talk only…

  17. #17 by pangwl88 on Friday, 24 April 2009 - 7:12 pm




  18. #18 by limkamput on Friday, 24 April 2009 - 9:11 pm

    Eunuch chengho, look, we don’t have to look far and wide. Look at Kugan enough. What have you got? Nothing……

  19. #19 by Roslanrizal on Friday, 24 April 2009 - 9:30 pm

    Tak kira samada Tan Keng Liang tu doctor atau lawyer, dia tak ada hak untuk mengkritik pemimpin kanan pakatan rakyat.
    Terima sajalah kritikan YB Lim Kit Siang.

  20. #20 by passerby on Saturday, 25 April 2009 - 1:29 am

    Najib said he had sown on the quran under the the Ipoh raintree that no Malaysian officials is involed.

    The judiciary, police, macc said no investigation since the pm already sown on the quran under the the Ipoh raintree that no Malaysian officials is involed.

    ISA – that is strictly for the opposition parties only.

  21. #21 by monsterball on Saturday, 25 April 2009 - 1:35 am

    At last!! Limkamput is awakened.
    One month ago Romerz..”The Middle Ground” blog owner was vigorously chased by Dr. Hsu to join Gerakan.
    Yours trully was “guiding” him to see the truths and labeled as a agent provocateur by Dr.Hsu.
    Today Romerz have joined DAP in Penang. He is the son of the wealthiest man in Penang…the late Mr.Saw who died one week ago.
    This smart man should be year marked by Lim Eng Guan to do active work for DAP…right now. He hungers to be useful and purposeful in life…and a very very smart man.
    To see Limkamput and Romerz woke up to the truths..makes me feel happy indeed.

  22. #22 by frankyapp on Saturday, 25 April 2009 - 3:10 am

    You guys now onlytalk about burmese chicks and force labour,to us Sabahan,it’s just chicken feed. Sabah has suffered and is still suffering not just some kind of force labour but pretty much child labour. In the capital ,major towns and suburban towns of our state you can practically see most of these child labourers working in the coffee shops,mamak stores,restuarants ,city food centres and open eateries.Reports after reports have been made to the proper authorities but all have fallen into deaf ears.protitutes of many kinds,indonisian,philipinas,thais,burmese,chinese + local we have them all.These chicks,some force especially those under 18 years old are working almost every conners of Sabah’s major cities and towns particularly in Kota Kinabalu.Sandakan,Lahad Datu ,Tawau, and Keningau.The popular sites are the so called red light places such pups, Karaoky, saloon/girlie barber,massage parlour and even in some private houses and apartments. These girls especially the Indos and philipinas are given so much freedom,they can come to Sabah and go home as they like,some have passport,most have none,no pass,no nothing but our authority just keep their eyes closed. How our officials do it and why they carry on doing it is indeed a great mystery to most Sabahans. Can any of you guys there help us solve this big problem .Will really appreciate your comments and aids.

  23. #23 by limkamput on Saturday, 25 April 2009 - 8:04 am

    Mosterball, I did not sleep, so there is no need for you to tell me to wake up. It is “earmarked”, not year marked. Please go learn some proper English first.

  24. #24 by ekompute on Saturday, 25 April 2009 - 8:36 am

    “… the Lugar Report which accused Malaysian officials of complicity in the human trafficking of Burmese refugees who have been sold into prostitution and other kinds of forced labour in RECENT years.”

    Must be under the reign of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi then. I can vouched for a fact that Badawi is not involved because he slept through his entire five to six years of premiership.

  25. #25 by Lee HS on Saturday, 25 April 2009 - 11:38 am

    This episode reminds me of the Vietnamese “boat people” years back. These “boat people” refugees had been mistreated, raped, tortured and killed by “animals” in human form.

    After so many years the same story repeats itself. The world seems to have endless supply of these in-humans in human form. Why these sad episode happens only in less developed and oppressed country? We have United Nation to look after the world affair. If United Nation does not have the will to uphold justice, then there is no point of talking and talking. There must be sincererity to uphold justice at all costs.

    If a country is found to be blatantly abusing its people without doubt. Then the United Nation should have all the right to enter the country and take the leaders for trial. This is akin to taking an abusive husband out of the family and charge him for abuse.

    Then there will be a better world.

  26. #26 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 25 April 2009 - 10:08 pm

    Previous administration’s Home & Foreign Minister dismissed everything as wild allegations. At least present administration, knowing Lugar’s report was based on a year long review by committee staff who spoke to Myanmar migrants and human rights activists is more open minded. “We will take appropriate action,” Najib told reporters. “We do not want Malaysia to be used as a point for human trafficking … but we need to know more facts.” IGP Musa Hassan also said Malaysian and Thai police and immigration officials were investigating the claims.

  27. #27 by limkamput on Sunday, 26 April 2009 - 7:44 am

    Jeffrey, tell us honestly what is your motivation for telling us what you posted 22.08.10. I could discern your views have shifted in recent postings. Care to tell us why?

  28. #28 by lopez on Sunday, 26 April 2009 - 9:38 am

    la thief: very boring lah….seeing people come to visit , but we cannot go visit other people countries

    dompong: how can you say like this, now airfare very chep

    dompong: never mind lah, since many come we make use of them lah.very good tourism

    al thief : oh yah lah, also got little myanmar village, little indo village, little bangla village, little arab village, little indochina village, little africa, …and many more so no need go touring.

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