Forty three Indians have been languishing in a Malaysian immigration detention camp for nearly two months after being allegedly duped by a recruiting agency,which made them work in factories “illegally” for five months during which they were not even paid.
A manpower outsourcing agency based in the southern state of Johor which brought the 43 Indians into the country is responsible for their plight,Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) officials said.
The Indians were made to pay more than 10,000 ringgit (approx Rs 1.2 lakh),supposedly as repatriation fee,to the agency while being detained at the camp in Pekan Nenas,Johor,the media in Kuala Lumpur said on Friday.
The MTUC said it was strange that no action had been taken against the agency from Pasir Gudang,Johor,for duping the Indian nationals into working illegally for five months last year. They were also not paid wages.
The 43 and eight others – aged between 23 and 35 years – had been hired as general workers for factories in Johor on a three-year contract.
On January 17,the workers took a bus from Johor to Kuala Lumpur to seek help from the Indian High Commission but were rounded up by police on the way there.
While 43 were sent to the camp,the eight who were released sought the help of MTUC and lodged a police report.
“This is a clear-cut case of exploitation. The agency should not only be charged for harbouring foreign workers illegally but for violating human rights,’extorting’ money from them and for human trafficking.
“Cases like this have yet again marred Malaysia’s image and we urge the authorities to act promptly,especially after repeated assurances from our government that their interests will not be overlooked,” MTUC Secretary General G Rajasekaran was quoted as saying by the media.
On January 3,Human Resources Minister S Subramaniam and Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi had signed a bilateral agreement in New Delhi to protect 1.5 lakh Indian nationals who work in Malaysia,mostly in the service,construction and agriculture sectors.