Malaysian Minister takes stock of problems faced by Nepalis

- RAM CHANDRA GIRI, Kaula Lumpur

Sep 5, 2014-

The Malaysian Human Resource Minister Datuk Richard Riot Jaem has met Nepali migrant workers at JCY HDD Technology Company located at the Tebrau Industrial Area IV in the Malaysian Capital Kuala Lumpur. During the visit on Thursday, the Minister had expressed concerns about the poor management of accommodations provided to the Nepali workers and other problems faced by them, informed Nepali Ambassador to Malaysia, Niranjan Man Singh Basnyat.

According to Basnyat, Minister Jaem had directed the company to ensure proper accommodations for the workers and suggested appointing supervisors from among the workers. Stating that appointing a supervisor from among those workers who form the majority ‘would help facilitate dealings’ between the employer and employee, Minister Jaem had proposed that the company appoint a Nepali supervisor as majority of the workers in the company were from Nepal.

The Minister said that the move was an important measure to ensure the safety and welfare of 1.6 million legal foreign workers in the country and avoid dissatisfaction among them. Jaem had in the presence of Ambassador Basnyat and Johor Unity and Human Resource Committee Chairman R Vidyananthan also proposed to form a joint committee comprising representatives from the company and employees to guarantee a harmonious working environment.

Stating that the company was positive towards the Minister’s proposal, Basnyat said that the company management had assured to build within a year a new hostel block with a capacity to accommodate 1,500 workers.

On Aug 26, 2014, some 800 foreign workers had staged a strike at the factory outlet at the Kelapa Sawit Industrial Park near Kulaijaya, setting fire to a factory manager’s car and damaging a part of the factory building. It is believed that the workers had staged the protests to express their dissatisfaction at the poor working conditions and utter disregard of the company management towards the welfare of the employees.

According to Basnyat, 6,800 Nepali migrant workers have been working at the company’s two branches in Tebrau and Kulaijaya. Basnyat further said that 55 Nepali workers have been detained by the Malaysian police following the Aug 26 riots.

According to legal provisions, Malaysian police can detain an individual for 14 days for ‘investigation’.

Though there are chances that the detained could be subjected to court proceedings if found guilty, Basnyat said they had been requesting concerned authorities to repatriate Nepali workers instead of filing charges against them in the court.  

Malaysia currently hosts more than half a million Nepali migrant workers.

Published: 06-09-2014 09:16

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