New government must tackle corruption, human trafficking

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Immigration detainees at the Lenggeng Detention Centre, Malaysia, 23 July 2009 - Photo courtesy of Amnesty France Flickr

The corrupt practices that have enabled the explosion of migrant labour in the country has been shielded by the argument that Malaysians do not want to do “dirty and dangerous” jobs, observes JD Lovrenciear.

The former inspector general of police, Musa Hassan, is spot on in stating that “a total reform in the police force to weed out corruption and black sheep is possible only if there is political will” (theSun, 18 June 2018).

Likewise, the issue of millions of undocumented migrant workers from so many destinations around the world in Malaysia is also a testimony to the absence of political will all these decades. It suggests corruption involving or implicating the police, the immigration department and of course the Home Ministry.

The corrupt practices that have enabled the explosion of migrant labour in the country has been shielded by the long-held argument that Malaysians do not want to do “dirty and dangerous” jobs. Even past ministers defended such arguments that were peddled behind the scenes by plain greedy, profiteering employers.

The billions of Malaysian ringgit remitted back to the migrant workers’ home countries is a loss to the nation future while the financial institutions thrive on the deductions they make from every remittance.

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The huge amounts of money collected from migrant workers for permits enriches the money bags of certain entities and individuals with political connections and vested interests while impoverishing the nation’s local workforce.

It is time to recognise that making Malaysians into hardworking, smart employees is the job of a good government. It calls for political will to turn this nation into a powerhouse of human resources beginning with a total revamp of the education system, skills training and development, and the transformation of the Malaysian workforce’s mindset and attitude.

The business community should place nation-building above personal wealth enrichment generated at the expense of the nation’s long-term future

Any business – from small and medium-sized enterprises to large conglomerates and monopolies – must recognise that making the nation resolute, hardworking and flourishing in every skill, trade, management or profession is the employers’ responsibility.

Carrying out corporate social responsibility publicity programmess ranging from cleaning drains to giving out hampers to the less privileged is not going to absolve corporate citizens of their moral and national duty to make Malaysia great again.

It is time that we witness immediate action taken to address corruption and the issue of undocumented migrant workers.

If employers cannot train, develop and pay proper incentives to attract Malaysians to take on the jobs, they do not deserve to be in business. If some police and immigration personnel cannot fulfil their basic duties to the nation and citizens, they should be sacked.

If the Home Ministry cannot address the issue of human trafficking, then the government of the day would have failed in total.

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A nation cannot progress with good intentions and slogans if corruption continues to thrive. Likewise, development will not be sustainable if the local workforce is not re-engineered to be resilient.

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