Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Migrant Labour in Asia ... the story continues...




The Malaysian government announced that it would ammend the current laws governing monitoring of migrant labour.

" The Government will carry out stricter monitoring to ensure that foreign workers in the country are treated in accordance with the provisions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn said an amendment would be made to the Employment Act 1955 to make it mandatory for employers to submit regular reports on the condition of their foreign workers."
--the star Malaysia

Employers of migrant workers quickly responded to the announced actions and surely to no one's surprise were not in favour of the proposed changes.

"The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) has opposed a proposal to make it mandatory for employers to submit regular reports on the condition of their foreign workers to the Government.

MEF executive director Shamsuddin Bardan said employers were already subjected to “all sorts of requirements” and the proposed move would result in additional administrative costs and inconvenience."
--the Star Malaysia


At first view it seems that maybe something is being done. It is great to see further monitoring of conditions for migrant labourers. It's wonderful that Malaysia is finally going to follow International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards even though it has not ratified the ILO convention on foreign labour.
HOWEVER the government is only requiring Businesses to submit reports on their workers. Is this not the fox guarding the hen house? I am amazed that employers are in fact conplaining. This means more administrative costs if you have foreign workers but come on BIZ still gets to do the monitoring.

"Dr Fong said the ILO Convention required all workers to be treated equally regardless of nationality.
He said employers were also required to disclose to the Labour Department the number of workers, their salaries and benefits, including insurance coverage.
He said inspectors from the department would conduct checks from time to time to verify the information."

Government will only check to verify conditions from "time to time." One would think checks at the very least from time to time should already be the case. Sadly this is not the case, and now nearly non-existent regulations regarding migrant labour are to be brought up to the level of completely lax. What an improvement!! I am sure the migrant labourers are very thankful for the new concern government is showing!!

The situation of migrant labour is disturbing in Asia. Malaysia and Taiwan are greatly indebted to countries like the Phillipines and Indonesia for helping them achieve their economic miracles of rapid and continuous development(also Thailand and Vietnam to some extent but mainly it has been the aforementioned two). Without the aid of migrant labour their economic development could never have been achieved. Migrants have helped keep labour costs low, allowed production to stay in-country longer than it perhaps otherwise would have, and taken jobs local labour refuses to fill. Workers have received little in the form of a thank you other than, low-wage jobs, often under horrible conditions, where they are treated as second class citizens and subject to physical, sexual, emotional abuse and threat of deportation.
The economic and democratic development of Asia's "tigers" are trumpeted the world over as fine examples of success under modern global capitalism however it is largely forgotten that much of their success has come while chewing on the rights of their neighbours.

5 Comments:

Blogger Lisa said...

It's amazing how time can pass, and some things change very little. I am not talking about this post, but am talking about you. I don't mean this in a bad way, actually it is quite nice. I've looked at some of your past blogs, you are living a busy, full life. I am happy to hear you will be Canada-bound next year though.

November 16, 2005 1:37 AM  
Blogger fatrobot said...

no you're not allowed in canada anymore
i said so

the US was built by slaves and got rich, Canada's railways (the lifeline of the country at that point) were built by poor migrant chinese workers and canada got rich

the Colonies on Seti Alpha 5 were built by martian slaves

my point is i hate martians

November 16, 2005 3:36 AM  
Blogger FreeSisyphus said...

Historical point duly noted Mikel. However, are you trying to say we should allow it to go on and justify it by measuring it against our past misdeeds? I hope not or there will be no room for progression in morality.

Seti Alpha 5 was built by Martian ROBOT slaves. That is different, although having said that you could argue about the degree of self-consciousness as they were highly developed.

November 16, 2005 9:33 AM  
Blogger fatrobot said...

i merely point out the pattern of rich countries trampling and abusing others to get rich
in each case it is deplorable
i point out patterns because as robot i can point them out faster than humans
pointing out patterns of deplorable actions will hopefully allow people to recognize them and avoid them

those martian robot slaves were made by Ford and were gass guzzling inferior tin cans

November 16, 2005 10:17 AM  
Blogger FreeSisyphus said...

It is a very common device that when anyone has attained the summit of greatness, he kicks away the ladder by which he has climbed up, in order to deprive others of the means of climbing up after him...--Friedrich List 'The National System of Political Economy'1885

November 16, 2005 10:38 AM  

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