The planned crackdown on undocumented migrant workers is a state-endorsed violence aimed at the most vulnerable group of people in the country.
Rounding them up has never been a good strategy and more so at the time of a pandemic. It raises concerns of possible new infections and clusters, just like what we saw in immigration detention centres last year. This continues to put the lives of millions of migrant workers and Malaysians in jeopardy.
Undocumented migrants consist of many different groups of people, who are themselves victims. Even the term PATI (Pendatang Asing Tanpa Izin) is highly misleading, legally.
Malaysia should not punish migrants for being in conditions which are not of their faults. We believe that 95% of undocumented migrants in Malaysia are in this position because of violations by agents, employers and human traffickers. There have also been many public reports showing the involvement of national enforcement officers and public servants in the trafficking of migrants into the country.
We understand the government’s concerns to get everyone vaccinated, but detaining undocumented workers isn’t the right approach to do so. Instead, there must be a consultative process in decision-making with community leaders and non-governmental organisations.
The national vaccination process must be led by one agency, Jawatankuasa Khas Jaminan Akses Vaksin (JKJAV), and be kept as a humanitarian and health program, not security. And there must be a revamp to the immigration process as currently the Immigration Act supersedes all other legislations in the country and causes the victimisation of many migrants for faults not of their own.
We also propose that immigration offences be seen as administrative offences and not use it to criminalise fellow humans for merely wanting livelihood across the border.
We therefore invite the Home Minister, YB Hamzah Zainuddin, and Immigration DG Khairul Dzaimee Daud for a dialogue to look at progressive ways in which we can work together to resolve issues surrounding undocumented migrant workers.
And on our King’s birthday, we seek the royal intervention from the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, to stop the impending crackdown and call for a full moratorium on arrest and detention by all enforcement agencies until the full vaccination process is over.
- North South Initiative
- Beyond Borders Malaysia
- Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
- Persatuan Sahabat Wanita
- Monitoring Sustainability of Globalisation (MSN)
- Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
- Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
- Pusat Komas
- Pertubuhan Sukarelawan Harapan Malaysia (MOVE Malaysia)
- The Refuge for Refugees
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- The Instant Cafe Theatre Company
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- KRYSS Network
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- Al-Hasan Volunteer Network
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- Sabah Reform Initiatives (SARI)
- Dr Ann Lee
- Allison Hill
- Sudy Yeo
- Dr Hartini Zainuddin
- Deborah Priya Henry
- Hasan Al-Akraa