A shocking new report “Seperti di Neraka: Kondisi Pusat Tahanan Imigrasi di Sabah, Malaysia” (Akin to Hell: Conditions at Immigration Detention Centres in Sabah, Malaysia) released by an Indonesian civil society coalition has sparked an uproar.
The 104-page report details meticulously and substantively how Malaysia is treating migrants from Indonesia in its detention camps.
The report by the Indonesia-based Koalisi Buruh Migran Berdaulat (Sovereign Migrant Workers Coalition) focuses on the bitter realities at the Tawau immigration detention centre in the eastern state of Sabah. The report is likely to draw the attention of the Indonesian government and human rights bodies across the globe.
Malaysia has had a track record of concerns and cases of human rights abuses, spanning decades. This published report now will add fresh demands by human rights organisations and the Indonesian government.
How will Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who has been championing his “keluarga Malaysia” (Malaysian family) slogan, which encompasses compassion and humanitarian elements, address these claims of injustices and cruelty within our shores?
In the past, we have seen many cases of abuse of migrant workers and domestic workers, several of whom have died from mistreatment.
Some Malaysian employers have abused and exploited migrant workers by snatching their passports, refusing to pay wages, making ridiculous pay deductions, and providing poor working and living conditions
Now this explosive report, which comes with photos and statistics, could well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
If our 70-member cabinet cannot hold itself completely accountable for these unacceptable abuses, then our keluarga Malaysia slogan is nothing more than another sham, a national shame.
Malaysian NGOs, activists and religious leaders must demand accountability.
If we don’t, how can we – ordinary people, civil society activists, religious leaders and political leaders – be able to live with all these atrocious crimes?
We have failed collectively as a Malaysian family. Let us not be labelled by the world as a rogue nation. Let us not blame migrant workers and migrant detainees for our failures.
Either we do something or be party to these crimes.