The Labour Solidarity and Learning Resources Association (LLRC, formerly known as Labour Law Reform Coalition) is shocked by the mysterious death of a Nepali recruitment agent Rinji Rai at a workers’ accommodation in Nilai and the classification as “no foul play” by the Malaysian police.
It is a fact that Rinji Rai was receiving threats from Malaysia-based agents, and a Nepali worker died at the same accommodation several months before the visit of Rinji Rai. The unusual two deaths linked to the migrant workers’ recruitment scandal should not be treated as a trivial matter.
It is unfortunate that after so many years of civil society outcry, the phenomenon of labour trafficking and forced labour remains unchanged. Migrant workers were not only trapped into debt bondage, now the lives of a migrant worker and a recruitment agent were taken.
In addition to the probe into the two mysterious deaths, it is really high time the Malaysian government to set up a royal commission of inquiry to investigate the migrant workers’ management system in a holistic approach. All stakeholders, including migrant workers, government officers and recruitment agents of both sending and receiving countries, should be invited to give their testimonies.
The LLRC strongly urges the government to set up an inter-agency labour taskforce to close the institutional loopholes that are being exploited by unscrupulous recruitment agents, including the blatant use of false documents for the approval and reselling of migrant worker quotas. The taskforce must also improve some practices, such as the remedy channel when migrant workers’ rights are violated.
Gopal Kishnam Nadesan is secretary of the Labour Solidarity and Learning Resources Association (LLRC)