Malaysia: ‘SOP not followed in crackdown’

PETALING JAYA: Authorities involved in the crackdown on illegal foreign workers in the country are not following standard operating procedure (SOP), in the process violating rights of these workers, Dignity International human rights coordinator Adrian Pereira claimed.

He said the foreign workers whether legitimate or not should be treated fairly without violation of human rights.

Pereira, who also advocates migrant workers’ rights, said there had been reports of mishandling of legitimate Filipino workers during the crackdown.

“The authorities should follow a stand operating procedure (SOP) that does not violate human rights.

“But it looks like there is no proper SOP being followed in the crackdown.

“Foreign workers have dignity too, and they come to our country hoping for better work,” said Pereira.

He said the Philippines government had constantly emphasised safety and human rights of their workers around the world.

On Thursday, the Philippines government directed its consular office in Malaysia to check on reports that legitimate Filipino workers were being tortured and abused.

The Manila Times reported Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma as saying that he will personally call Philippine ambassador to Malaysia, Ed Malaya to know the condition of those affected by the crackdown.

Reports reaching Malacañang indicated that a group of legitimate Filipino workers were jailed along with illegal ones in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

It said a Filipino architect who had been working legally in the country, had been put in a crammed cell.

Suhakam should investigate

Human rights lawyer Charles Hector urged The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) to conduct an investigation on the claims made by the Philippines government.

Hector said videos showed that the authorities had demeaned and treated foreign workers badly.

“The way they are handcuffed and made to sit on the floor is humiliating and is a violation of human rights.

“Proper training on the handling of foreign workers and the SOP should be shared with the authorities like Rela before going for the raid,” said Hector.

No official report

The Philippines Embassy in Kuala Lumpur said it had received unofficial reports of Filipinos being arrested in the ongoing crackdown.

Philippines Consul to Malaysia, Johann Andal declined to say how many had been arrested as it had yet to get confirmation from the Malaysian Immigration authorities.

The Philippines embassy said there were between 300,000 and 400,000 illegal Filipinos in Malaysia.