Arrest the Perpetrators, Stop the Fraud, Legalise the Workers Cheated Through the 6P

PRESS STATEMENT

8th OCTOBER 2012

 

 

Arrest the Perpetrators, Stop the Fraud,

Legalise the Workers Cheated Through the 6P

 

Tenaganita fully supports the demands made by the Bangladeshi workers today who have been victims of fraud and manipulation through the 6P programme, and who have suffered from inaction at the ends of the Malaysian government. The issues outlined in the memorandum to the Bangladesh government today should be taken with utmost urgency, and measures put in place to bring justice to the affected migrants.

 

The workers are demanding that the Bangladesh High Commission intervenes immediately and works with the Malaysian government to legalize them and retrieve their passports from Sirajul Amin.  The workers also want the Bangladesh government to immediately blacklist the agencies of Sirajul Amin- Akhwan and his father’s agency Aviate International and begin investigations in Bangladesh

 

The organization strongly condemns the inaction by the Ministry of Home Affairs on multiple complaints of fraud & manipulation committed through the 6P programme by Mr. Sirajul Amin and the Akhwan group of companies that have been filed numerous times with Malaysian enforcement agencies by both the affected migrants and separately by Tenaganita. Five months ago, Tenaganita provided extensive evidence of this 6P-fraud & manipulation to the Royal Malaysian Police at Bukit Aman, to the Immigration Department, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Director-General of Labour. Immediate investigations should have been carried out, and an arrest of Mr. Sirajul Amin made. We reiterated this in a press conference on the 13th of August 2012 after a migrant filed a police report against Mr. Sirajul Amin again, this time pertaining to acts of aggression by Mr. Amin. These numerous reports, however, do not appear to have been met by action on the part of the enforcement agencies in spite of meetings with the police and the Immigration department with the Home Ministry.

 

The seeming unwillingness by the authorities to act on repeated violations of rights by this agent is call for alarm. It is even more alarming to note that Mr. Sirajul Amin and his agency were blacklisted by the Home Ministry in 2007, and the Akhwan Group of Companies was not given approval as an agent for the 6P Programme. Despite this, they have managed to obtain 11 biometric machines and registered reportedly thousands of migrant workers into the national database. It is only appropriate that the Home Ministry provide an immediate explanation as to how persons without approval were able to collect this highly sensitive and personal biometric data, and input it into this national database.

 

Furthermore, we discovered in late June 2012 via the Immigration Department’s website that the Immigration department had received applications for work permit from the Akhwan Group of Companies and had given their approval for these permits. The Immigration department was not able to give an explanation on why such approvals were given when they were aware of the fraud that was brought to their attention by both Tenaganita and the police in May 2012.

 

 The Akhwan group of companies registered four new companies – Sri Jaya Perkasa, Framco, Akhwan Travel and Tours and Akhwan Resources in September 2011 after the biometric registration exercise. Mr. Sirajul Amin registered the workers under these companies without the knowledge and consent of the workers.

 

Migrant workers who have protested on this false registration as they had their own employers were constantly threatened with violence and threatened with arrest by the police as their passports were held by the Akhwan Group of Companies. The migrants state that Mr. Amin continues to threaten the workers with violence if they fail to withdraw their police reports and file police reports against Tenaganita.

 

The migrant workers filed about 16 police reports at different police stations and yet there has been no action taken against the perpetrators. The Inspector General of Police has stated that all police reports will be investigated and acted upon, but this does not appear to be realized in this case.  Police reports have also been made by about 30 Indonesian workers at Rawang who have been cheated by another agent and yet no action has been taken

 

Tenaganita has had meetings with the relevant government agencies on this case, and have made various efforts through letters and numerous telephone calls to the Home Ministry and directly with the Immigration Department to ensure that action is being taken. So far, all our efforts have been in futile. The migrants remain in a lurch. The perpetrators remain free. And justice is still yet to be done.

 

The dilly-dallying and apparent dodging of investigations by the Home Ministry should raise alarm bells. Why is the Ministry failing to investigate multiple reports against the same agent? How can an unapproved agent obtain the biometric equipment from the State? How can an individual who was blacklisted by the Home Ministry be granted approval for work permits? The Director of Immigration must explain clearly why they have failed to take action against Mr. Sirajul Amin and the directors of the Akhwan Group of Companies, and the Inspector General of Police must state why no arrests against the directors of this company have been made to date.

 

We would also like an explanation as to why the police and immigration department seem to take swift action against migrant workers when reports are filed against them, but appear to be stuck in the mud when reports are filed against recruitment agents.

 

Due to the lack of action by the various enforcement agencies and the Minister of Home Affairs, the migrant workers in this case remain undocumented despite making payments up to RM4000 per worker for the legalization process. We therefore request that the Home Minister immediately legalize all the affected workers without costs, and ensure that they are able to work with new employers. The migrants have been failed by our systems, and cheated of their money – we need to act swiftly to ensure that we do not continue to trample on their rights.  Sirajul Amin and other directors must also be immediately arrested and made accountable for the fraud and cheating, and the Akhwan Group of Companies must be blacklisted by the Department of Labour.

 

The State agencies have erred in their duties for the past six months. It is time they step up to the plate, be transparent, accountable and carry out their responsibilities. These are lives that have been affected – it’s time we stop this abuse of rights.

 

END

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