Saturday, August 22, 2009

NGO: Child trafficking a serious threat

By ISABELLE LAI

PETALING JAYA: Child trafficking in Malaysia is a serious threat but there is no proper collaboration among government agencies to combat it, said Rumah NurSalam adviser Dr Hartini Zainuddin.

“Not one of the 15 cases against arrested child traffickers have made it to court since the Anti-Trafficking in Persons (ATIP) Act was implemented in 2007,” she added.

Dr Hartini said many officers in the immigration, marine, customs and police departments were not trained to deal with young victims.

“Some were treated as routine illegal immigrants and deported.”

Speaking at a media forum organised by The Body Shop yesterday, she said the victims should instead be placed under the Act which classifies them as those whose human rights have been violated.

Although Malaysia is a signatory to the United Nations General Assembly Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) since 1995, there have been many crucial gaps, she said, citing for one, the lack of proper counselling services for traumatised victims.

Dr Hartini said another major issue was the handling of child victims who don’t have identity documents or are stateless.

Tenaganita coordinator Aegile Fernandez said she had seen many trafficked Malaysian children rescued from countries like Canada, Japan, Germany and the United States.

She said Malaysia was considered a country of origin, transit and destination for child trafficking.

“Many people think that this only happens in Thailand or the Philippines. They need to realise it’s happening right at our doorstep.

“People get shocked when they read about a brutal rape. But these children get raped seven to eight times daily by their clients.”

Fernandez said that babies aged below two were especially popular because they were considered a “long-term investment”.

“They are groomed to enter the prostitution or pornography trade, and eventually become pimps,” she said, adding that children were also trafficked for child labour or illegal organ harvesting.

She said government corruption was another factor, citing restaurants, fishing vessels, golf clubs and hotels that continued to have such illegal activities.

The Body Shop managing director Datin Mina Cheah-Foong said it was raising funds and public awareness to end the exploitation of children.

It’s partners are End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes, Rumah NurSalam, Tenaganita and PS The Children.

A hand cream called “Soft Hands Kind Heart” will be sold at all outlets at RM39.90, with RM30 going to all four NGOs for every tube sold. - The Star.

Nigerian Student Charged With Possession Of Fake Currencies

SEREMBAN, Aug 21 (Bernama) -- A Nigerian student pleaded guilty in the Magistrate Court here Friday to possession of fake currencies at a hotel in Nilai, near here, last Saturday.

Anere Possible Ifeanyi, 20, is charged with possession of the fake currencies, comprising 5,370 pieces of RM50 notes, 604 pieces of RM100 notes and 38 pieces of USD100 notes, at Hotel Nilai at 2am on Aug 15.

Magistrate Nur Azlina Hashim allowed him to be released on a bail of RM6,500 in one local surety pending hearing on Sept 30.

She also ordered Ifeanyi, who is studying at a private college in Kuala Lumpur, to surrender his passport to the court.

In another case, Nur Azlina ordered Camara Mohamed Kekoura, from the Republic of Guinea, to pay fine of RM6,000, in default 10 months jail, after he pleaded guilty to using an international passport belonging to another person.

Kekoura, 26, a student of a private college in Cyberjaya, was charged with using a passport, No. K0021903 and bearing the name of Ousmane Cisse, at Hotel Nilai at 2am on Aug 15, 2009. -- BERNAMA

Two Thugs Shot Dead By Police

COPS SHOOT TWO DEAD: Selangor police today shot dead two Indonesian thugs, about two hours after they robbed a wealthy septuagenarian at his house in Kayangan Heights, and causing his death. - NST picture by Che Rani Che Di

SHAH ALAM, Aug 21 (Bernama) -- Selangor police Friday shot dead two Indonesian thugs, about two hours after they robbed a wealthy septuagenarian at his house in Kayangan Heights, resulting in the man's death due to suffocation.

It is learnt that Lim Geik Poh, 70, a heart patient, collapsed and died after he was gagged and tied up by the robbers who spent about five hours ransacking the house, beginning 10 last night.

The recycling company proprietor's house is located just 50 metres from a security guard outpost in the housing area.

Lim's 69-year-old wife who was also gagged and tied up during the robbery, managed to free herself after the robbers escaped with cash and jewellery worth about RM500,000.

The woman telephoned her children to relate the incident before contacting the outpost which in turn called the police.

Lim's body was sent to the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital for post-mortem.

Selangor police chief Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar said Lim, who was a heart patient, could have died due to suffocation.

"When the police arrived at Lim's house, he was already dead. As he was gagged by the robbers, he could have suffocated as a result," he added.

On the dead robbers, Khalid said they were part of the 'Roy Gang' which was linked to six armed robberies and house break-ins in the district.

He said the duo, in their 30s, had valid travel documents and that the police were in the midst of tracking down their accomplices.

Khalid said that upon being informed of the hold-up at Lim's house, a special police team was despatched to the scene before it cornered the two foreigners about 5am.

Despite being challenged to surrender, the police chief said the parang-weilding duo attempted to attack the police who fired four shots in self-defence, killing them on the spot.

Khalid said that initial investigations revealed that members of the 'Roy Gang' had used a hut, not far from Lim's home, to plan their strikes at the homes of potential victims.

He said the police found several house break-in tools at the hut which was believed to have been set up about a week ago. -- BERNAMA

Police Seize Explosives, Sharp Weapons Near Desa Sri Hartamas

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 21 (Bernama) -- Police Friday seized five explosives, four detonators and 38 sharp weapons, including long machetes and axes, in an illegal settlement in the Bukit Kiara View jungle near Desa Sri Hartamas here.

Brickfields OCPD ACP Wan Abdul Bari Wan Abdul Khalid said the weapons were found during a follow-up of yesterday's operation against illegal immigrants in the area.

"We had to call off the operation at 7pm yesterday due to heavy rain. Furthermore the site is located deep in the jungle. We resumed the operation at 3pm today and found the weapons," he told reporters at the Travers police station here today.

He said the case would be investigated under the Corrosive Substances, Explosives and Dangerous Weapons Act 1958.

Thirty-eight policemen and 16 Rela personnel were involved in the operation where they carried out checked on 23 Indonesians residing in the area.

Police arrested an Indonesian man and woman who had no valid documents. -- BERNAMA

Court Told Of Procedure To Recruit Bangladeshi Workers

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 21 (Bernama) -- Forms pertaining to the Foreign Workers Management System (FORMS) needed be filled up to recruit Bangladeshi workers, a corruption trial was told Friday.

Foreign Workers Management Division principal assistant secretary Ayub Abd Rahman said this was because Bangladesh was not among 14 countries from which foreign workers were allowed to be recruited by the Home Ministry.

He said the 14 countries were Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Cambodia, the Philippines, Kazakhstan, Uzbeskistan, Turkistan and Laos.

"To recruit Bangladeshi workers, employers cannot merely apply online but must submit an application letter and get the approval of Home Minister," he told the Sessions Court.

Ayub was testifying at the trial of former Immigration director-general Datuk Wahid Md Don, 57, who is charged with agreeing to accept RM60,000 from businessman Datuk Low Chang Hian as part payment to expedite approvals for 4,337 visa applications for Bangladeshis to enter the country.

Wahid was accused of committing the offence at his house in Jalan Lembah Ledang off Jalan Duta at 10.15pm on July 10 2007.

Ayub, the prosecution's sixth witness, said applicants must complete the forms in the required sector and produce pertinent documents before filling up the FORMS.

He said applicants would be interviewed by a panel and if the requirements were met, they would have to pay a levy within 48 hours after a declaration letter was issued.

"The letter is valid for six months from the date it is issued. Applicants can then make arrangement with the Immigration Department to recruit foreign workers," he said.

To a question from Deputy Public Prosecutor Nik Azrin Zairin Nik Abdullah, Ayub said the quantum of levy were manufacturing and construction (RM1,200), plantation (RM540), agriculture (RM360) and services (RM1,800).

Ayub, who is also one of the panel members, said the services sector interview was conducted by only two panel members while that of other sectors by three or four members.

The trial before judge Rosbiahanin Arifin will be continued on Nov 15. -- BERNAMA

Friday, August 21, 2009

Dikeroyok 15 Bangla

Oleh Mohd Nasif Badruddin dan Zaid Salim
am@hmetro.com.my


KUALA TERENGGANU: “Mujur saya masih hidup,” kata Lans Koperal Ariff Mohammad Sidik, 39, yang berdepan maut ketika diserang sekumpulan 15 pekerja asing warga Bangladesh menggunakan kayu dan batu-bata, malam kelmarin.

Tindakan agresif samseng warga asing itu membelasahnya dan rakan setugas, Konstabel Nasrollah Mohd Yusof, 25, menyebabkan dia menyangka akan menemui ajal apabila teruk dibelasah di kepala dan badan.

Bagi menyelamatkan diri, dua anggota dari Pondok Polis Tepuh itu terpaksa melepaskan tiga das tembakan rambang, namun tindakan amaran itu tidak memberi kesan kepada penyerang mereka.

Difahamkan, tembakan rambang itu terkena bahu dua ahli kumpulan itu menyebabkan mereka semakin agresif sehingga merampas pistol jenis Smith & Wilson .38 daripada anggota keselamatan itu.

Kumpulan samseng warga Bangladesh itu turut merampas senjata api, gari, walkie-talkie serta dompet milik mangsa.

Mengimbas detik ngeri itu, Ariff berkata, kejadian berlaku ketika dia dan Nasrollah membuat rondaan mencegah jenayah di kawasan projek pembinaan Lebuh Raya Pantai Timur Bukit Jong, Tepuh selepas menerima maklumat berhubung kecurian besi di kawasan itu, kira-kira jam 10 malam kelmarin.

Dengan berpakaian preman, Ariff berkata, dia dan Nasrollah ke kawasan itu dengan menunggang motosikal secara berasingan dan sebaik menghampiri rumah kongsi berhampiran tapak projek itu, sekumpulan warga Bangladesh yang menonton televisyen menyerbu sebelum mengelilingi mereka.

“Selepas mengepung, mereka yang memegang kayu dan batu-bata menyerang menyebabkan kami tidak sempat mengelak dan cuba melarikan diri dengan motosikal.

“Namun, usaha kami gagal apabila mereka mengejar dan membelasah sebelum memaksa kami melepaskan tembakan amaran dan beredar dari kawasan itu selepas merampas senjata dan peralatan lain,” katanya.

Menurutnya, kerana bimbang kumpulan itu kembali ke tempat kejadian, dia mengarahkan Nasrollah melarikan diri dalam kebun getah berhampiran sebelum masing-masing terpisah.

Katanya, disebabkan parah di kepala, dia pengsan sebaik berada di kebun itu dan tersedar kira-kira jam 9 pagi, semalam.

Dia berkata, sebaik tersedar, dalam kebingungan dan sakit di seluruh badan dan kepala, terpaksa menggagahkan diri menyusuri kebun getah dan menyeberangi Sungai Nerus untuk mencari jalan keluar.

“Dalam keadaan badan semakin lemah, Allah menyelamatkan saya apabila ditemukan dengan seorang penoreh getah yang menunjukkan laluan ke jalan utama kira-kira 500 meter dari kebun itu.

Mengenai Nasrollah, dia difahamkan rakannya itu diselamatkan rakan setugas, Sarjan Aziz Mohd dan Lans Koperal Azmi Mohamad jam 11 malam, kelmarin yang keluar mencari mereka apabila mendapati dua anggota terbabit tidak pulang sebaik keluar ke kawasan rumah kongsi berkenaan, kira-kira jam 11 malam kelmarin.

Sementara itu, Ketua Polis Terengganu, Datuk Mohd Shukri Dahalan, berkata kedua-dua anggota terbabit dengan seorang daripada mereka cedera di kepala dirawat di HSNZ dan dilaporkan stabil.

“Polis menemui semula senjata api yang dirampas warga Bangladesh berhampiran tempat kejadian sebelum menemui mangsa jam 11.45 pagi semalam,” katanya, semalam.

Katanya, polis sudah menahan empat pekerja asing di rumah kongsi itu jam 9 pagi semalam bagi membantu siasatan mengikut Seksyen 307 Kanun Keseksaan iaitu cubaan membunuh dan Seksyen 148 Kanun Keseksaan. - Harian Metro.

1 guilty, 3 others claim trial to human trafficking charges

KOTA BARU: A labourer pleaded guilty while three others claimed trial at the Sessions Court yesterday to two charges human trafficking.

Sahaidi Salleh, 43, who was jointly charged with his two sons and a family friend, pleaded guilty to trafficking nine adult Myanmars at a house at Kg Kubang Panjang in Lemal, Pasir Mas, at 7.20pm on Aug 9.

He also pleaded guilty to a second charge of trafficking three Myanmar children at the same place, date and time.

His sons Mohd Hafizan, 19, and Mohd Hazwan, 21, and their friend Siti Rashidah Razali, 25, claimed trial to both charges.

Sahaidi Salleh with his sons Mohd Hafizan and Mohd Hazwan and their friend Siti Rashidah Razali outside the court yesterday.
Sahaidi Salleh with his sons Mohd Hafizan and Mohd Hazwan and their friend Siti Rashidah Razali outside the court yesterday.


Lawyer Mohd Hasrif Harun, who appeared for all the accused, told judge Wan Fadzilah Nor Wan Idris that he would apply to the public prosecutor to drop the charges against the youths and Siti Rashidah.

"It was Saihadi's business and he has pleaded guilty," he said.

Wan Fadzilah Nor fixed bail at RM7,000 each for Hafizan, Hazwan and Siti Rashidah with one surety for the first charge and RM4,000 each with one surety for the second charge. Sahaidi was not allowed bail.

She also fixed Sept 15 for sentencing and also to hear the reply from the prosecution on the lawyer's application. - NST.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Many Workplace Accidents Not Reported To DOSH

PETALING JAYA, Aug 19 (Bernama) -- Many industrial accidents in the country are not reported to the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) either because of ignorance or fear of prosecution, a Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) study revealed.

Another reason was the lack of proper enforcement of the regulations which required businesses to report all workplace accidents immediately to DOSH, MTUC vice-president A. Balasubramaniam disclosed on Wednesday.

He told Bernama that another flaw was that the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act only required businesses with more than 40 workers to form an OSH committee while other establishments with lesser number of workers were left on their own to self regulate.

Balasubramaniam, who is also MTUC DOSH committee chairman, said self regulation might work in bigger established companies but not in small-and-medium enterprises.

Citing as example the death of six workers in Tanjong Karang, Selangor, recently due to inhalation of poisonous gas, he said, the incident occurred in a small factory which did not have proper safety precautions.

Hence, he said that it was time for the DOSH to be more proactive and ensured that all workplaces were safe and healthy. -- BERNAMA

Siti Hajar Happy To Be Going Home

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 19 (Bernama) -- Siti Hajar, the Indonesian maid who was badly scarred after allegedly being repeatedly tortured by her employer, is happy to be going back to Indonesia but will be leaving without forgiving her employer after three years of seeking a livelihood here.

"I will not forgive her for as long as I live. I will alway remember this forever," said Siti Hajar whose painful ordeal received widespread local and foreign media attention.

Met at the Indonesian embassy here, Siti Hajar, 33, expressed gratefullness for being able to return to her family on Wednesday after being in Malaysia for three years.

"I feel happy for being able to go back and can't wait to meet my family and my three children," she said.

Siti, from Garut, West Java, Indonesia, fled from her employer's home in the Lanai Kiara Condominium, Mount Kiara on June 8 and sought refuge in the Indonesian embassy after she could not take alleged abuse over three years.

Siti Hajar's employer, Hau Yuan Tyng, a 43-year old single mother of two, was charged in the Sessions Court in June but pleaded not guilty to three charges of causing hurt to her maid.

"I am thankful to the Indonesian embassy for being caring and taking care of me till I recovered. Their care cannot be repaid and I will return to Malaysia to attend the trial later," said Siti Hajar.

If before she was seen to be disorientated and injured on her body, Siti Hajar was now seen to be cheerful and her injuries had healed.

Besides being able to meet her family, Siti Hajar was also happy to have got her back pay of RM17,000.

"I will use the money to buy a house and pay for my children's education," she said.

Siti Hajar said her ordeal will not deter her from working in Malaysia if given the opportunity.

"Eventhough a lot has happened but I will not be frightened off from being here," she said.

Meanwhile, Indonesia's ambassador, Tan Sri Dai'i Bactiar, said Siti Hajar will return to Malaysia to attend and hear the decision of the court on her alleged abuse which will be in October. -- BERNAMA

176 Applications Submitted To Immigration Dept

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 19 (Bernama) -- A witness in the corruption trial of the former Director-General of Immigration, Datuk Wahid Md Don, told the Sessions Court here that there were 176 applications for the entry of foreign workers in the last two years.

The Secretary of the Foreign Workers Management Division of the Home Ministry, Datuk Wan Ali Besar, 51, said the 176 applications were submitted by 80 companies including from the agricultural, construction and manufacturing sectors to the Malaysian Immigration Department.

In his testimony Wednesday, Wan Ali confirmed 57 out of the 176 applications, which had now been made court exhibits, before judge Rosbiahanin Ariffin.

On Monday, Wan Ali had confirmed 10 documents pertaining to the same applications.

Wan Ali is the fifth prosecution witness who testified on the second day of Wahid's trial. Wahid, 57, is alleged to have received a bribe of RM60,000 from a businessman, Datuk Low Chang Hian, as an inducement to speed up the approval of 4,337 visa applications for Bangladeshi workers on Aug 19, last year.

He is alleged to have committed the offence at his home at Jalan Lembah Ledang, off Jalan Duta, at 10.15 pm on July 10, 2008.

He is being charged under Section 11 (a) of the Anti-Corruption Act 1997 and could be punished under Section 16 of the same act, which is not less than 14 days and not more than 20 years imprisonment, and a fine of not less than five times the amount of the bribe or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

Wan Ali also explained that in the processing of the applications, there were nine steps that any out-sourcing company or agent must go through before receiving the Visa With Reference (VDR) from the Malaysian Immigration Department after paying the levy within two days.

Failure in completing the nine steps concerned would mean that the VDR would not be issued by the Immigration Department, he said.

Prosecution was conducted by Deputy Public Prosecutor Nik Azrin Zairin Nik Abdullah while Wahid was represented by lawyer Datuk V Sithambaram.

The hearing continues tomorrow. -- BERNAMA

'900,000 new jobs by 2025 achievable'

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government is optimistic the target of creating 900,000 jobs by 2025 envisaged under the Sabah Development Corridor's (SDC) master plan can be met.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Aman said there would be numerous job opportunities when all the development initiatives under the SDC were fully implemented.

Launched in January last year, the SDC's main focus is to optimise the development of Sabah's tourism, agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

Musa noted that efforts to fully tap Sabah's tourism potential had already made significant headway with the construction of several new hotels.

"The SDC provides many opportunities for us to strengthen tourism using our natural treasures -- the islands, tropical rainforests and wildlife," he said at the opening of Cititel Express.

He said the new hotel is proof of investors' confidence in the state's economy, and it had, in a small way, contributed towards reaching the goal of 900,000 new jobs in the state.

The opening of the 275-room hotel managed by Cititel Hotel Management, he said, was timely as tourist arrivals to the state had been steadily rising over the years. - NST.

Papa nafi agensi 'tipu' kos amah

KUALA LUMPUR: Persatuan Agensi Pembantu Rumah Asing (Papa) menafikan agensi pembantu rumah memanipulasi urusan pengambilan pekerja hingga menyebabkan kos mendapatkan khidmat pembantu rumah meningkat.

Presidennya, Datuk Raja Zulkepley Dahalan, berkata caj yang dikenakan agensi mengikut ketetapan dan syarat yang ditetapkan negara sumber.

“Jika dikira daripada RM8,000 yang dikenakan kepada majikan dan selepas ditolak pendahuluan RM3,600 untuk membawa masuk pembantu rumah, majikan hanya membayar RM4,400.

“Daripada jumlah itu, setiap agensi hanya memperoleh untung kasar RM600 untuk setiap pembantu rumah asing,” katanya merujuk kepada caj yang dikenakan 160 agensi yang menganggotai Papa.

Raja Zulkepley berkata, jika beberapa tahun lalu, Indonesia mengenakan yuran RM3,500 untuk setiap pembantu rumah, ia kini meningkat kepada RM5,000 dan agensi menanggung kerugian jika pembantu rumah melarikan diri atau laporan perubatan ditolak. - Berita Harian.

2,336 majikan gagal carum Perkeso

TEMERLOH 18 Ogos - Seramai 2,336 majikan di empat daerah di negeri ini dikesan masih gagal mencarum pekerja mereka dengan Pertubuhan Keselamatan Sosial (Perkeso).

Pengurus Perkeso Cawangan Temerloh, Rosmasita Mohamed berkata, kesemua majikan terbabit dikesan beroperasi di Maran, Jerantut, Bera dan Temerloh.

Melalui 'Operasi Kesan' yang dijalankan pada masa ini, kata beliau, pihaknya turut mengesan peniaga dan majikan baru untuk menggalakkan mereka mendaftar serta mencarumkan pekerja ke dalam Perkeso.

''Operasi ini telah bermula sejak 1 Ogos lalu di seluruh negara dan bagi cawangan Temerloh ia melibatkan daerah Maran, Jerantut, Bera dan Temerloh.

''Sehingga kini terdapat 7,036 peniaga, pengilang atau majikan membabitkan 110,842 pekerja di empat daerah tersebut.

''Daripada jumlah itu, hanya 4,700 majikan aktif mencarum untuk pekerja mereka," katanya.

Beliau berkata demikian kepada pemberita semasa menjalankan 'Operasi Kesan' di sini hari ini.

Menurut Rosmasita, operasi itu bertujuan memberikan kesedaran kepada majikan untuk mencarum dengan Perkeso supaya pekerja mereka sentiasa dilindungi dan mendapat pembelaan jika mengalami bencana semasa bekerja.

Katanya, setiap majikan yang mempunyai sekurang-kurangnya seorang pekerja diwajibkan mendaftar dan membayar caruman dengan Perkeso mengikut Akta Keselamatan Sosial Pekerja (AKSP) 1969.

Tegasnya, majikan yang gagal atau lewat mendaftar serta membayar caruman boleh didakwa mengikut akta tersebut.

Dalam perkembangan lain, Rosmarita memberitahu, pihaknya telah membayar RM1.2 juta kepada pekerja hilang upaya sementara waktu (HUSP), hilang upaya kekal (HUP), faedah orang tanggungan (FOT), pencen ilat dan pencen penakat.

''Semua bayaran itu dikeluarkan sejak 1 Januari sehingga 30 Jun tahun ini membabitkan pekerja yang ditimpa bencana dan layak mendapat bayaran perlindungan daripada Perkeso," katanya. - Utusan Malaysia.

Akta Kerja 1955 akan dikaji semula

KUALA LUMPUR 18 Ogos - Kerajaan akan mengkaji semula Akta Kerja 1955 bagi memastikan tempoh persaraan yang sama bagi pekerja lelaki dan wanita dalam sektor swasta seperti mana amalan perkhidmatan awam.

Timbalan Perdana Menteri, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin berkata, kajian semula itu perlu memandangkan ada syarikat yang mewajibkan pekerja wanita mereka bersara pada umur lebih rendah berbanding lelaki.

Katanya, dalam sektor awam, umur persaraan bagi semua kakitangan sama ada di peringkat bawah atau atas tidak kira lelaki atau wanita ialah 58 tahun.

"Kita mahu swasta mengikut amalan dalam sektor awam yang mana tiada diskriminasi dalam menentukan usia persaraan pekerja. Mereka boleh bekerja sehingga umur 58 tahun tanpa mengira jantina," katanya.

Beliau berkata demikian ketika menjawab satu soalan dalam sesi dialog sempena Sidang Kemuncak Wanita 2009 di Pusat Konvensyen Sime Darby di sini hari ini.

Turut hadir isterinya, Puan Seri Noorainee Abdul Rahman; Menteri Pembangunan Wanita, Keluarga dan Masyarakat, Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil dan Ketua Setiausaha kementerian, Tan Sri Faizah Mohd. Tahir.

Salah seorang peserta sidang itu mempersoalkan mengenai terdapat syarikat yang memaksa pekerja wanita bersara pada usia 50 tahun sedang pekerja lelaki 55 tahun.

Muhyiddin berkata, sepatutnya isu itu tidak timbul kerana pada usia 50 tahun pekerja wanita masih produktif dan mampu bekerja dengan baik.

"Kerajaan akan mengambil serius tentang perkara ini kerana jelas ia merupakan satu tindakan diskriminasi terhadap golongan wanita," katanya.

Shahrizat ketika mengulas isu itu mengakui menerima aduan bahawa terdapat syarikat yang bertindak sedemikian sehingga pekerja wanita terbabit merasa teraniaya.

"Kerajaan tidak akan berkompromi dalam hal seperti ini kerana kita tidak mahu wujud amalan diskriminasi terhadap golongan wanita dalam bidang pekerjaan.

"Sudah tiba masanya kerajaan ambil tindakan sewajarnya untuk mengatasi isu tersebut," ujarnya.

Terdahulu dalam ucaptamanya, Muhyiddin menggalakkan wanita meneroka bidang baru khususnya berkaitan teknologi seperti teknologi hijau serta teknologi maklumat dan komunikasi (ICT).

"Mereka juga digalakkan meneroka bidang yang masih belum dikuasai sepenuhnya seperti eko-pelancongan.

"Bidang-bidang ini sebenarnya mempunyai potensi yang amat besar untuk dimajukan," katanya.

Beliau turut meminta kepada syarikat milik kerajaan (GLC) dan sektor swasta memberi lebih banyak tempat kepada wanita memegang jawatan penting sehingga ke peringkat pembuat keputusan.

Menurutnya, saranan itu berikutan jumlah golongan wanita yang memegang jawatan penting dalam GLC dan syarikat masih rendah.

"Pada asasnya kerajaan menyasarkan 30 peratus wanita diberi peluang memegang jawatan tinggi dalam sektor awam dan ini juga perlu dipraktikkan di dalam sektor swasta.

"Ketika ini jumlah wanita memegang jawatan penting dalam GLC ialah 12 peratus manakala jumlah yang menjadi ahli lembaga pengarah syarikat tidak banyak iaitu sekitar 6.1 peratus pada tahun lalu," katanya.

Bagaimanapun, beliau berkata, terdapat peningkatan jumlah wanita yang memegang jawatan pengarah urusan sehingga ketua pegawai eksekutif syarikat iaitu daripada 13.5 peratus pada 2004 kepada 26.2 peratus pada tahun lalu.

Dalam pada itu, Muhyiddin berkata, wanita sama hebatnya dengan lelaki dalam apa juga bidang kerana yang paling penting adalah kesungguhan.

Kata Timbalan Perdana Menteri, Islam sendiri tidak pernah membezakan antara lelaki dan wanita dan mereka wajib menunaikan suruhan Allah dan meninggalkan larangan-Nya jika mahu balasan yang baik daripada Allah. - Utusan Malaysia.

Manipulasi ejen punca kos pembantu rumah tinggi - Muhyiddin

KUALA LUMPUR 18 Ogos - Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin berkata, kewujudan manipulasi di kalangan ejen telah menyebabkan kos mendapatkan pembantu rumah asing di Malaysia semakin tinggi dan membebankan.

Timbalan Perdana Menteri berkata, perkara itu tidak akan dibiarkan kerana ia mengakibatkan rakyat dibebani dengan bayaran yang mahal bagi perkhidmatan itu.

Beliau berkata, di peringkat ini kerajaan meneliti secara keseluruhan proses pengambilan pembantu asing supaya ia lebih memberi keadilan kepada semua pihak.

"Kerajaan sedar terhadap apa yang berlaku dalam industri ini (pembantu rumah) dan semua ini adalah akibat daripada manipulasi yang dilakukan oleh pihak ejen.

"Sehubungan itu kerajaan kini sedang meneliti pendekatan terbaik," katanya.

Beliau berkata demikian ketika menjawab soalan peserta Sidang Kemuncak Wanita 2009 dalam sesi dialog di Pusat Konvensyen Sime Darby di sini hari ini.

Menjawab satu soalan lain, Muhyiddin berkata, Malaysia telah menghantar laporan mengenai isu berkaitan pembantu rumah asing kepada kerajaan Indonesia.

Bagaimanapun, katanya, pihak republik tersebut belum menghantar sebarang jawapan.

"Sebelum ini kita dan Indonesia ada mengadakan pertemuan berhubung isu pembantu rumah Indonesia dan kita telah menghantar satu laporan mengenai isu itu kepada kerajaan republik itu baru-baru ini.

"Namun begitu kita belum menerima sebarang jawapan daripada mereka," katanya.

Dalam pada itu, Muhyiddin berkata, pembantu rumah yang diambil bekerja juga seharusnya mempunyai kelayakan serta kemahiran tertentu supaya mereka faham mengenai tugas serta tanggungjawab yang diberikan. - Utusan Malaysia.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Johor: Perkeso buru majikan ingkar

JOHOR BAHRU: Pertubuhan Keselamatan Sosial (Perkeso) Johor kini sedang memburu majikan di seluruh negeri yang tidak berdaftar dengan pertubuhan itu termasuk gagal mendaftar semua pekerjanya menerusi operasi dikenali, Ops Kesan Perkeso, yang dijalankan sepanjang bulan ini.

Timbalan Pengarahnya, Mustafa Draman, berkata Ops Kesan Perkeso yang dijalankan membabitkan lebih 60 anggota Perkeso negeri diketuai beliau, dengan tumpuan syarikat di sekitar Mount Austin, Taman Daya, Pusat Perdagangan Tebrau dan Iskandar Malaysia.

Katanya, kawasan lain ialah Taman Perling, Nusa Indah, Taman Tan Sri Yaakob, Taman Universiti, Pusat Bandar Kota Tinggi serta pusat beli belah sekitar bandaraya.

Beliau berkata, setakat ini terdapat sebanyak 52,102 majikan sekitar negeri yang berdaftar dengan Perkeso, namun dikhuatiri terdapat banyak lagi majikan yang belum berdaftar dengan pertubuhan itu.

"Kami percaya wujud sebilangan majikan yang memandang remeh terhadap peraturan yang ditetapkan Perkeso, termasuk syarikat yang beroperasi di sekitar kawasan tumpuan.

"Oleh itu, kita akan turun padang melakukan pengesanan dari pintu ke pintu bagi mengesan majikan yang belum berdaftar dengan pertubuhan di samping tidak mendaftar semua pekerjanya," katanya kepada Berita Harian di sini, semalam.

Katanya, majikan yang tidak berdaftar dengan pertubuhan selain tidak mendaftar semua pekerjanya boleh dikenakan tindakan kompaun antara RM300 hingga RM1,500, atau dihukum penjara tidak lebih dua tahun atau denda tidak melebihi RM10,000. - Berita Harian.

Pekerja asing cuba rogol gadis diberkas

KUALA TERENGGANU: Hasrat pekerja warga Bangladesh untuk melampiaskan nafsu terhadap anak perempuan pemilik gerai berusia 17 tahun tidak kesampaian apabila adik mangsa tiba-tiba muncul di gerai berkenaan, Sabtu lalu.

Dalam kejadian jam 8 malam di Kampung Chabang Kersil, Kemaman itu, suspek berusia 24 tahun memeluk mangsa, meraba buah dada dan menciumnya sebelum melarikan diri apabila menyedari kehadiran adik mangsa.

Timbalan Ketua Jabatan Siasatan Jenayah negeri, Superintendan K Manoharan, berkata sebelum kejadian pekerja Bangladesh itu meminta mangsa menghantar air kosong kepadanya.

“Suspek mengekori mangsa dan memeluknya dari belakang,” katanya.

Manoharan berkata, mangsa membuat laporan di Balai Polis Kertih jam 12.55 pagi kelmarin dan polis memberkas suspek sejam kemudian. - Berita Harian.

102 Illegals Detained For Exiting Illegally

PORT KLANG, Aug 18 (Bernama) -- The Marine Operations Force (MOF) detained 102 illegals while trying to leave the country illegally from Sungai Mati, Carey Island, near here, Tuesday.

Port Klang MOF commanding officer, Deputy Supt Marzuki Ismail said those detained were all Indonesians, including 35 women and four children.

"They had waited among some bushes to be smuggled out in two boats, but were stranded there due to low tide," he told reporters, here, today.

"When our men arrived at the scene at about 8.30am, the illegals couldn't run away as they were weak from hunger. Some even fainted before we took them out and gave them food and treatment."

Marzuki said the initial investigation revealed that they were each charged RM600 by the boat skippers and charged an additional RM200 to RM300 when they reached the spot.

He said they were detained and being investigated under Section 6 (3) of the Immigration Act 1959/1963 for illegal entry and exit, while one who was suspected of harbouring the illegals was detained under Section 56 (1)(d) of the same Act. -- BERNAMA

Marin tahan 102 pendatang asing di Pulau Carey

PELABUHAN KLANG 18 Ogos — Pasukan Gerakan Marin hari ini menahan 102 pendatang asing tanpa izin yang cuba keluar dari negara menggunakan laluan air secara haram di Sungai Mati, Pulau Carey di Banting dekat sini.

Pegawai Pemerintah Markas Operasi Pasukan Gerakan Marin Pelabuhan Klang, DSP Marzuki Ismail berkata bot yang membawa semua warga Indonesia, termasuk 35 wanita dan empat kanak-kanak itu ditemui terkandas di satu kawasan belukar.

“Ketika ditemui kesemua pendatang itu sedang menunggu untuk diseludup keluar dengan menggunakan dua buah bot, namun mereka dipercayai tersadai di kawasan belukar kerana air surut,” katanya kepada pemberita di sini hari ini. - Utusan Malaysia.

Amah pukul bayi menangis

Oleh Sarah Zulkifli
sarah@hmetro.com.my


KUALA LUMPUR: Seorang pembantu rumah warga Indonesia sanggup memukul anak majikannya yang berusia setahun enam bulan selepas bayi itu menangis kerana ditinggalkan seorang diri.

Pembantu rumah itu dikatakan berbuat demikian kerana bimbang tindakannya mahu melarikan diri diketahui jiran jika bayi berkenaan berterusan menangis.

Ketika berbuat demikian, pembantu rumah berusia 40-an itu merancang melarikan diri dari rumah majikannya di Persiaran Alam Damai, Cheras, tetapi tindakan itu diketahui anak saudara majikan pembantu rumah berkenaan yang kebetulan tinggal bersama.

Menurut sumber, dalam kejadian Sabtu lalu itu, anak saudara majikan pembantu rumah itu menghubungi ibu saudaranya dengan mengatakan pembantu rumah berkenaan dalam keadaan mencurigakan, seperti mahu melarikan diri dari rumah.

Berikutan itu, majikan berkenaan bergegas pulang dan berasa lega apabila mendapati pembantu rumahnya masih berada dalam rumah.

“Namun, majikan itu curiga selepas mendapati pembantu rumahnya memakai pakaian kasual bukan seperti pakaian biasa di rumah,” katanya di sini, semalam.

Disebabkan itu, majikan berkenaan yang mengetahui rancangan pembantu rumahnya bertindak menghubungi ejen pembantu rumah berkenaan untuk memaklumkan hal berkenaan.

Ketika itu, pembantu rumah terbabit mengambil kesempatan melarikan diri namun hampa apabila mendapati pagar rumah berkunci.

Sumber itu berkata, pembantu rumah terbabit dikatakan tidak berputus asa apabila bertindak memanjat pagar rumah berkenaan.

“Pada masa sama, sebuah teksi sudah sedia menunggu di luar rumah sebelum wanita warga asing itu menaiki teksi berkenaan.

“Majikannya yang menyedari kejadian itu cuba menghentikan teksi berkenaan, namun gagal,” katanya.

Mangsa kemudian membuat laporan polis di balai polis berhampiran.

Sementara itu, Timbalan Ketua Polis Daerah Cheras, Superintendan Abdul Rahim Othman ketika dihubungi mengesahkan menerima laporan mangsa. - Berita Harian.

Indonesian maid jailed for assaulting employer

GEORGE TOWN: A Sessions Court here has sentenced Indonesian maid Hanni Seo to jail for four years and eight months for attacking her female employer.

Hanni, from Kupang in West Timor, was charged with attacking her employer Phang Kian Huang, 42, with a wooden stool, stone mortar and knife, at Phang’s house in Rifle Range, Air Itam, at 10am on Feb 26.

The offence under Section 307(1) of the Penal Code carries a jail term of up to 20 years upon conviction. - The Star.

Minister Authorised DG To Approve Visas, Court Told

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 17 (Bernama) -- The Home Minister who is supposed to be responsible for approving visas with reference code VDR (calling visas for Bangladesh workers), authorised the Immigration Department director-general (DG) to handle the task from June 2008, the Sessions Court here was told Monday.

Testifying in the corruption trial of former Immigration Department DG Datuk Wahid Md Don, Muhammad Hanif Asa'ari, 32, the special aide of Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar (the Home Minister then), said Syed Hamid delegated the task to the DG as he had to spend too much time approving each application, which was made using the online method.

Muhammad Hanif, who is the prosecution's third witness, said Wahid on June 10 2008 made an application for the password to enable him to handle the task on and it was approved by Syed Hamid the next day via a letter but with certain conditions attached.

"They were the minister's password would not be revoked and that the DG had to submit weekly and monthly reports on the visa applications to him (Syed Hamid)," said Muhammad while displaying the letter dated June 11 2008.

The letter also stated that approvals could only be made at the DG level.

Asked by Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohd Jazamuddin Mohd Nawawi during examination-in-chief as to what grounds Wahid used to apply for permission to make the approvals, Muhammad Hanif said : "He stated that the number of applications for the VDR visas were rather high, standing at 22,854, and it was estimated 91,607 applications had yet to be submitted."

On Aug 19 last year, Wahid, 57, was charged with accepting a bribe of RM60,000 from businessman Datuk Low Chang Hian to expedite the VDR applications of 4,337 Bangladeshi workers.

He is alleged to have committed the offence at his house in Jalan Lembah Ledang, off Jalan Duta here at 10.15pm on July 10, 2008.

He has been charged under Section 1 (a) of the Anti-Corruption Act 1997 and is liable to be jailed not less than 14 days and not more than 20 years, fined not less less than five times the corrupt amount or RM10,000, whichever is is higher, if convicted.

Cross-examined by counsel Datuk V. Sithambaramm, who is representing Wahid, whether Muhammad Hanif knew why the DG submitted the application for the minister's permission to approve the visas, Muhammad Hanif said: "Generally, at the time, because of the heavy workload the minister had, he no longer was able to handle approving the huge number of VDR applications individually and indicated the need to hand over the task to the DG."

To a suggestion by Sithambaram that what was told during the meeting (on the matter) that all applications to get VDR visas cound only be processed at the DG level was not accurate, Muhammad Hanif said if it was based on the minutes it was accurate.

However, he agreed that the minister's decision to keep the password to enable him to access the website for the applications was in conflict with what was decided at the meeting.

Muhammad Hanif also said while Syed Hamid was still handling the responsibility, in June and till July 12 of that year he had approved VDR applications but did not know the number.

Sithambaram had earlier asked him if he knew the minister had approved 2,824 and 3,984 applications respectively in the two months.

The hearing before judge Rosbiahanin Arifin continues on Wednesday. -- BERNAMA

Ketua Pengarah Imigresen diberi kuasa lulus visa pekerja: Saksi

KUALA LUMPUR: Perbicaraan kes rasuah bekas Ketua Pengarah Imigresen, Datuk Wahid Md Don di Mahkamah Sesyen di sini hari ini diberitahu bahawa Menteri Dalam Negeri ketika itu Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar yang bertanggungjawab meluluskan visa dengan rujukan pekerja Bangladesh telah menyerahkan kuasa itu kepada Ketua Pengarah Imigresen mulai Jun 2008.

Muhammad Hanif Asa''ari, 32, bekas Pegawai Khas kepada Syed Hamid, berkata menteri berkenaan memutuskan perkara itu kerana tidak mahu lagi meluluskan perkara itu dengan alasan beliau (Syed Hamid) terpaksa meluangkan masa untuk membuat keputusan secara online bagi setiap permohonan.

"Selepas beliau buat keputusan tidak mahu buat, beliau ada arahkan melalui mesyuarat pasca (kabinet) supaya tugas meluluskan permohonan secara online diserahkan pada Ketua Pengarah Imigresen," kata saksi ketiga pendakwaan itu.

Susulan itu, katanya, Wahid telah membuat satu permohonan pada 10 Jun 2008 untuk mendapatkan kata laluan bagi meluluskan permohonan, dan pada keesokannya, Syed Hamid menyatakan persetujuannya menerusi sepucuk surat tetapi ianya bersyarat.

"Menteri bersetuju dengan permohonan itu (Wahid) bagaimanapun kata laluan Menteri tidak perlu dibatalkan dan di masa yang sama Ketua Pengarah Imigresen perlu membentangkan laporan mingguan dan bulanan kepada beliau," kata Muhammad Hanif sambil merujuk kepada sepucuk surat yang bertarikh 11 Jun 2008.

Surat itu juga menyatakan persetujuan supaya kelulusan dibuat di peringkat Ketua Pengarah Imigresen sahaja.

Ditanya oleh Timbalan Pendakwa Raya Mohd Jazamuddin Mohd Nawawi ketika pemeriksaan utama apakah alasan yang digunakan oleh Wahid untuk memohon kebenaran itu, Muhammad Hanif berkata : "Yang dinyatakan ialah jumlah pekerja asing Bangladesh yang menunggu kelulusan VDR berkenaan agak tinggi iaitu seramai 22,854 pekerja dan dijangka 91,607 masih belum mengemukakan permohonan."

Pada 19 Ogos tahun lalu, Wahid, 57, didakwa menerima rasuah RM60,000 daripada ahli perniagaan Datuk Low Chang Hian sebagai bayaran upah bagi mempercepatkan kelulusan permohonan 4,337 visa pekerja Bangladesh .

Dia didakwa melakukan kesalahan itu di rumahnya di Jalan Lembah Ledang, off Jalan Duta, pada jam 10.15 malam 10 Julai 2008. Pertuduhan adalah mengikut Seksyen 11 (a) Akta Pencegahan Rasuah 1997 dan boleh dihukum mengikut Seksyen 16 akta yang sama iaitu penjara tidak kurang dari 14 hari dan tidak lebih 20 tahun, dan didenda tidak kurang daripada lima kali ganda nilai suapan atau RM10,000, atau mana-mana yang lebih tinggi.

Kepada soalan peguam Datuk V. Sithambaram yang mewakili Wahid sama ada beliau mengetahui mengapa Wahid mengemukakan permohonan kebenaran menteri, Muhammad Hanif berkata: "Secara am pada masa itu memang timbul isu yang mana menteri tidak lagi mampu untuk luluskan permohonan VDR tersebut memandangkan beliau mempunyai banyak tugas lain dan beliau juga ada, dalam beberapa keadaan di pejabat, membayangkan untuk menyerahkan tugas berkenaan kepada Ketua Pengarah Imigresen."

Kepada cadangan Sithambaram bahawa apa yang diberitahu di dalam mesyuarat bahawa "semua permohonan untuk dapatkan VDR akan diproses di peringkat Ketua Pengarah Imigresen sahaja" adalah tidak tepat, Muhammad Hanif berkata jika berdasarkan minit itu ia adalah betul.

Bagaimanapun beliau bersetuju bahawa keputusan menteri yang masih menyimpan kata laluan kerana ingin terus meluluskan VDR pada bila-bila masa adalah bercanggah dengan apa yang diputuskan dalam mesyuarat.

Muhammad Hanif berkata ketika beliau masih bertugas iaitu dari 12 Jun hingga 17 Jun 2008 dan 12 Jun hingga 12 Julai 2008, Syed Hamid ada meluluskan VDR beberapa pekerja asing tetapi tidak mengetahui jumlahnya.

Perbicaraan di hadapan Hakim Rosbiahanin Arifin disambung pada Rabu. - Berita Harian.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Socso hauls up 43 employers

ALOR STAR: The Social Security Organisation has issued RM248,000 in compounds fines to 43 employers in the state between January and June this year.

State Socso director Ismail Abi Hashim said the compound fines were levied after the companies failed to make their contributions on time.

Besides issuing the compound notices, a total of RM851,000 in arrears of Socso contributions were recovered from the errant companies.

"We will not tolerate companies which fail to carry out their responsibility by defaulting in their contributions," Ismail said at a reward handing over ceremony.

Present was Bakar Bata state assemblyman and State Umno liaison committee deputy chairman Datuk Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah

Ismail said the organisation had conducted checks on 2,519 employers within the same period and would complete its inspection on 29,548 companies in the state soon.

He added there are 653,385 employees registered with Socso in Kedah.

Earlier, during the ceremony, Ahmad handed over a total of RM300,000 of compensation to 28 recipients. - NST.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Myanmar migrants stuck in Malaysia detention camps

SEPANG: A growing number of immigrants from Myanmar are ending up stuck, often for months, in crowded detention centers in Malaysia designed to hold people for only a few weeks.

Almost 2,800 Myanmarese were detained at camps in July, more than double the 1,200 in January, partly because of a crackdown on human trafficking, a step-up in raids and a slow economy that leaves the migrants without jobs.

People from Myanmar, a desperately poor country with a military junta, are now the biggest group among the 7,000 foreigners at detention centers in Malaysia.

At a center near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, some 120 men sat in neat rows on the floor.

Many had their legs drawn to their chests, and all were barefoot. There was not enough space and not enough bedding.

"There is no soap for taking a shower, nothing. They don't give us anything," said Kyaw Zin Lin, 23, who said he fled to avoid being drafted into the Myanmar army.

"Every day we eat the food just to survive. ... They treat us like animals."

"It's very difficult to stay here," said Aung Kuh The, a pale 26-year-old.

"We have got a lot of problems. Some people, you know, we want to see the doctor but we don't have the chance."

One reason for the rise in detainees is a crackdown on trafficking.

A report published in April by the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations cited firsthand accounts of Myanmarese who said immigration officers turned them over to traffickers.

That practice has all but stopped, Myanmar community leaders in Malaysia say.

Now, though, the Myanmarese are trapped in detention.

The Myanmar embassy often takes six months to register its citizens for deportation and charges them 620 ringgit ($180), much more than neighboring Indonesia.

By contrast, detainees from other countries are typically deported within a week.

Calls to the Myanmar embassy were repeatedly put on hold and then unanswered.

About half the Myanmarese - those fleeing persecution - may qualify for UN refugee status, but that process takes up to four months.

The others are economic migrants. Some 140,000 Myanmarese work in Malaysia, but foreign workers who are laid off lose the right to stay.

Some Myanmarese have spent more than six months in crowded, dirty detention centers.

One man, whose brother was in detention for four months, said he would rather be sold to traffickers from whom he could buy his freedom.

"I prefer to be trafficked," said the man, who would only be identified by his nickname, Ryan, to protect his relatives in Myanmar.

"I don't mind paying 2,000 ringgit ($570)."

Five of Malaysia's 13 detention centers are overcrowded; four of the five have large Myanmarese populations, according to the immigration department.

Journalists from The Associated Press accompanied the human rights group Amnesty International on a rare visit recently to three detention centers just south of Kuala Lumpur, the country's biggest city.

At the Lenggeng Detention Depot, 1,400 people are crammed into dormitories meant for 1,200. Of them about 300 are from Myanmar.

Hundreds of men jostle each other for room in the bare dormitories. One sleeps on a stone ledge in a bathroom.

Each dormitory is fenced by wire mesh and barbed wire, giving detainees just a few meters (feet) of space for walking.

"The detention centers we saw fell short of international standards in many respects, as the immigration authorities themselves acknowledge," said Michael Bochenek of Amnesty International.

"It's a facility of such size that infectious diseases are communicated readily."

Saw Pho Tun, a refugee community leader, said some immigration officers have singled out Myanmarese detainees for rough treatment, beating them and not allowing them medical assistance.

Immigration officials deny beating detainees and say everyone has access to medical care.

On July 1, detainees at another center flung their food trays and damaged some of the mesh fence.

Immigration officials blamed the riot on frustration about having to stay so long, but detainees say they rioted because they were afraid of abuse.

Most of the blocks have now been shut for repairs, so more than 1,000 detainees - including 700 from Myanmar - were transferred to other already crowded centers.

Abdul Rahman Othman, the director general of the Immigration Department, said he was taking steps to prevent his officers from being "entangled" in trafficking syndicates.

He said officers would be rotated to different posts every three years and have a buddy system to supervise each other.

"Ninety-nine percent of us in immigration are good people," he said, denying the problem is widespread.

Police arrested five officers on trafficking allegations last month.

They say their investigations revealed immigration officials took Myanmar immigrants to the Thai border and sold them for up to 600 ringgit ($170) to traffickers.

The traffickers then told the migrants to pay 2,000 ringgit ($570) for their freedom, or they would be forced to work in the fishing industry, police said.

Myanmar community leaders said women who failed to pay were sold into prostitution. - AP- The Star.

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