Resisting Any Witch Hunt Aimed at Blaming the Illegals

Commentary by Dr. Lim Teck Ghee

The statement by the Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein that the presence of more illegal workers compared to the legal ones is a cause of concern and could undermine national unity reveals either an ignoramus or an idiot. Did he expect many less illegals given the super-efficiency of his Ministry and the other government agencies sharing responsibility on this vital matter of securing our borders against unauthorized intrusion and stay in the country?
According to the current ongoing exercise, as of Friday, a total of 2,088,358 foreign workers had been registered, of whom 1,135,499 were illegals. Probably everyone else in the country knows that this number is an under-estimate and that a very large number are still waiting processing or are avoiding being included in the count altogether.

Since his appointment in 2009 as the Minister in charge of this portfolio, Hishammuddin has been lurching from one self inflicted debacle to another. From bending over backwards to defend the indefensible conduct of demonstrators in the infamous cow head incident to his most recent use of repressive force against the Bersih rally, he has shown a standard of leadership of this important Ministry which must be plumbing new lows or matching those lows attained by Dr. Mahathir.

Perhaps he has not had time to study and understand the situation with illegals in Malaysia, given the so many other important distractions posed by alleged anti-national and possibly terrorist groupings such as those Parti Rakyat members members recently taken in under the Emergency Ordinance for sporting Che Guevara and other communist attire; or the Bersih supporters who needed tear-gassing and perhaps even a big clout on their thick skulls for upsetting the traffic flow on a weekend; or the MoSC supporters who want to tear down the lily white and incorruptible reputation of one of the country most trusted and respected leaders through their Kuching walk rally aborted on “friendly police advice” – by the way, is Hishammuddin related in any way to Taib?

If he has still not been briefed by his Ministry officials on the foreign labour issue, this quick summary of facts, figures and other considerations may be useful.

  • The 10th Malaysian Plan document has a chart showing that the number of foreign workers in the country exceeded over 2 million in 2008. This figure has most likely increased rather than decreased. The current hi-tech, hi-cost biometric exercise seems to have registered only half of all workers with permits and probably fewer than half of those without.

  • The presence of so many foreign workers is due to not only to economic factors but also socio-political ones which everyone in the country, except the non-Malay Barisan parties seem to be aware of.

  • Thanks to ‘enlightened’ Barisan policies, Malaysian economy and society is presently hopelessly and irredeemably addicted to foreign workers.

  • The great majority of foreign workers work a lot harder for a lot less than their Malaysian counterparts. They deserve to be treated with fairness and respect, and there should be no witch-hunt to blame them for self inflicted socio-economic and political ills.

  • The profits in the foreign labour market have generated pervasive corruption amongst all levels of the police force, the Immigration Department, RELA, agents and other agencies – public and private.

  • The extortion of payments, services and loyalty from this marginalized segment and attempts to use them as a pawn in the demographic and racial power game will continue whatever the changes in policy and new stances adopted for public consumption.

In the view of some though who have observed the Home Minister closely, this graduate from the University of Wales and London School of Economics is not an ignoramus or idiot. He is a political animal aiming for the top position through scrupulous or unscrupulous means. According to the latest hot news in the internet, there is more at stake behind the Home Minister’s new found enthusiasm for pursuing the registration of foreign workers such as the disclosure that the new biometrics is the cash cow for the coming UMNO and general elections. Much of this hot news cannot be verified but readers can visit the website for details.

  1. #1 by yhsiew on Monday, 22 August 2011 - 8:31 pm

    ///According to the latest hot news in the internet, there is more at stake behind the Home Minister’s new found enthusiasm for pursuing the registration of foreign workers such as the disclosure that the new biometrics is the cash cow for the coming UMNO and general elections.///

    That is money politics in another ugly form!

  2. #2 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Monday, 22 August 2011 - 11:36 pm

    This Din is as smart (or as stupid whichever way you like ) as a silly schoolboy with an IQ way below the average.

  3. #3 by boh-liao on Monday, 22 August 2011 - 11:57 pm

    Both NR n HH r what they r today bcos of their special political pedigrees, otherwise with their IQ, they r just nonentities; hence, MY n others no eye C them

  4. #4 by bruno on Tuesday, 23 August 2011 - 12:16 am

    The verdict has already been decided,a long time ago.In a kankaroo court,guilty or innocent does not matter.Anwar is cooked.

  5. #5 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 23 August 2011 - 7:14 am

    I don’t know how this problem can be fixed. Malaysians, even middle class and family income of RM5,000, feel the diminution of their purchasing power. Not much savings after house & car mortgages, cost of children’s education, 6% service tax, higher fuel/petrol/basic food prices etc plus for every item from cigarettes to imported cheese, some one up there has a cut. They feel; they are the “new poor”. If middle class can feel that way what about the lower economic categories? Locals work in factories or RM500-RM700 per month (can they survive?) because foreign migrant workers compete and keep wages down. “Corruption amongst all levels of the police force, the Immigration Department, RELA, agents and other agencies – public and private-“ is in part due to everyone’s struggle to meet ends meet : so they target the foreigners, whether legal or illegal.

  6. #6 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 23 August 2011 - 7:16 am

    For the legal, they have to pay large sums to work here. The middle men with connections to official bureaucracy that gives license and imposes quota are in cahoots to make money. The worker who earnsRM600-RM750 take home for 1st & 2nd year could be as low as RM200 after deductions of their installment debt to middlemen who bring them here. Why do you think some of errant would burglarize houses and rob? Yet for (say) a Bangladeshi it is still worth it to try to make money here. The illegals are even more vulnerable, they get picked up by corrupt officials from their place of work and outside. They are asked for their “papers”.

  7. #7 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 23 August 2011 - 7:18 am

    Many without have to bribe to avert immediate arrest. Even if you have “papers”, so what? What is there to stop them from threatening to tear your papers right in from of you if you don’t pay up? One Indonesian factory worker alleged she was taken to the bush and raped when she had no money to give! Now we have amnesty and biometric. Yes it’s a cash cow or those who own the system, and also the scavengers. These set up a mobile work station – a small computer scanner – at (say) car wash centres in petrol pump stations. Besides the RM300 official fee there’s another RM50-100 premium for “administrative charges” for facilitating fast processing with the relevant Ministry’s officials. The car wash attendant’s whole month wages go to pay if they avail the services.

  8. #8 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 23 August 2011 - 7:20 am

    With strong material cum corrupt culture seeping and infusing in every aspect of malaysian life, it seems that everyone is trying to prey on every one else for the diminishing value of the Ringgit, by whatever methods, honorable or dishonorable, hook or by crook. Only the rich well to do and politically connected get to live a good life. As they beat chest on race and other issues and shout patriotism they have hedge positions by investing their ill gotten gains in Perth Melbourne London etc in a “just in case” situation. The one who have a say on how the country is to be run already view it as the Titanic that has truck the ice berg. The rest have to look around to look for their individual life boats.

  9. #9 by bruno on Tuesday, 23 August 2011 - 8:35 am

    Hisham,why don’t you take some action if you really doe’s know what is actually happening.You are as usual all talk but no action.

  10. #10 by dagen on Tuesday, 23 August 2011 - 8:42 am

    In shanghai, hongkong and singapore i roomed their streets quite freely and with no fear.

    In kl i had the urge – due no doubt to fear – to avoid all those foreign workers on our streets be they bangla, indons (yes of the same toyo kind), filipinos, burmese, nepalese etc. Honestly, I fear these people more than I fear those black africans in kl.

    In this country of mine (no apologies perkasa for that is a constitutional fact), I very often hv to cross the street for a detour just to avoid these people. I am no a xenophobic. It is just that I hv seen these people committing crimes far too often. Robbery, fighting and assaults. My dad too was a victim of one such robbery two yrs ago.

    This is ridiculous. Umno actually has by its abuse of position and power allowed the foreign workers situation to aggravate and turn into a real threat to national security. Three millions of them here. It only takes 5% of these people to rise against the country (for whatever reasons) we would immediately have 150,000 enemies within our shore. The army’s function is to defend our border. But here we already have (potential) enemies within our border.

    To let that happen means either umno is completely and wholly irresponsible or worse, umno is actually an enemy to our king and country.

  11. #11 by Cinapek on Tuesday, 23 August 2011 - 11:08 am

    I berated a foreign worker agent friend of mine for exploiting the foreign workers. He grinned and said I am a fool to believe that agents made the money. He then told me that the majority of the money collected in this biometric exercise goes to certain parties and not the Govt. When I asked him further how it is carried out he said that they pay the monies to a third party for the right to carry out this exercise. I then asked him why would a foreign worker pay them when it can be done free in the Immigration Dept. He said that:

    1) The illegals do not trust the Immigration.
    2) Employers cannot afford the time to allow the worker to go to the Immigration Dept. And they are not sure if the worker can come back.

    When we are talking of this biometric exercise we are assuming that the people who sign up are iilegal workers with regular employers and full time jobs. What about those who do not have full time work? They will either be unaware or might want to avoid this exercise altogether since they are not gainfully employed. So dear Hisham, your actual number of illegals (employed and unemployed) are a lot higher than your estimates.

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