Malaysia has had Bangala workers since the nineties when they were introduced into the country by Megat Junid the then deputy home Minister and since then they have been the source of illicit incomes for unscrupulous agents and employers alike.
|Mother Nature fights back in the Camerons|
Soon after he left back came the Bangladeshis, back like a storm.
Bangladeshi workers were in high demand in Cameron Highlands because of many reasons, the sum total of which meant it made good economic sense to the employer. If there were illegal Bangladeshis in Cameron Highlands it was because there were unscrupulous employers willing to employ them even though they were illegal.
To examine this closely we have to understand what constitutes an illegal worker, in immigration terms.
An illegal worker is a person who has entered the country illegally and gets himself employed, or
a person who has entered the country on a student pass for the purpose of pursuing further education or any kind of education for which he has been given a student pass and who instead abandons his studies and gets employed in Malaysia, or,
a person who enters the country as a tourist or under any other pretext and is not allowed by the conditions of his visa to be gainfully employed in the country during his stay in the country but, goes ahead instead and finds gainful employment or,
a worker who has been employed by an organization under an employment pass issued by the immigration department, (these passes are either issued in the name of a specific employer or an agent who is authorized by the Ministry of home affairs to outsource these workers to employers and in this case the agent is considered the employer).
and who leaves the employer under whose organisation his employment pass is issued, and takes up employment with an employer not authorized to do so by the conditions on his employment pass.
All the above constitute illegal workers, now if there were more than 30,000 illegal workers on hill resort as small as Cameron Highlands how come the authorities were not aware of it were they sleeping?
As long as the going was good the Bangla worker was good, once mother nature took her course in the highlands the finger pointing began, till it ended with the Bangla.
Now we all know this is because some irresponsible people allowed some greedy businessmen to go about and find ways to clear large tracts of land unabated for farming without any concern of the environmental effects it would have in the highlands they carried on even though the were warned long before hand of the rising temperatures and earlier floods in the highlands till this mud slide took lives and destroyed property and all hell broke loose, the finger pointing began.
The deputy PM had come out with an assurance that it did not matter who it is the government would take action, and Malaysians were waiting to see what would happen.
After all, all land deals come under the State Government, and that means the Menteri Besar has to give answers, he did, and his excuse was that if the state did not allow it they would be blamed for not caring about the less fortunate. Now were these farmers who employed so many Bangladeshis less fortunate or poor farmers, that they could splash out the funds required to clear land employ these workers and carry out farming on such huge scales?
How did the Bangla worker become responsible that today like at no time in our history, and since the advent of the immigrant worker - from the time the advent of the Chinese tin mine workers, to the Indian Estate labourer to the Java Contra (remember we had contract workers from Java who the Malays used to refer to as "Java Contra" or "Javarek" who were notably hardworking and productive and are now citizens of this country and bumiputras too) have we seen such an operation by the Police and the Armed forces to flush out these Banglas from Cameron Highlands and carry out night operations and hunt them down.
Has this country lost its soul? Is there no such thing as compassion? Have we not benefited from the work of these workers who actually toiled to make sure we had sufficient supply of vegetables for our daily needs, who literally put food on our tables that today in search of a scapegoat we have found it fit to go after these helpless boys?
Imagine your children in another 50 years, driven by circumstances to go out and find employment in foreign lands and being treated such, it is not an impossibility it is rather highly likely given the way this government is now administering this nation.
The Philippines and Myanmar were at one time at par and in fact even better off than the then Malaya. See what has happened there,and history of these countries in the ASEAN can actually be a good teacher. In the Philippines it was corruption, outright corruption by the government and the heads of government that put that country into the miserable position it is in today, but as the Philippines and Myanmar pull themselves out of the rut as Indonesia shows some classic examples of reform, where Presidents lead by example they all seem to coming out whist we continue to sink with these irresponsible acts.
We seem to lack accountability , we seem to lack responsibility and most of all we are glaringly lacking in the most important ingredient integrity.
What has the immigration department been doing, how come there are thousands of Banglas up the highlands that they almost equal the number of Malaysian sand the Immigration is not aware of it, there can be n excuse, the police should have kept them informed, both the Police and the Immigration department come under the same minister- the minister of home affairs.
What was the state government doing was it not aware? Well almost everyone who went up the highlands in at least the last five years noticed the clearings, NGOs and concerned people voiced their concerns, but were given a deaf year and now with this fiasco we have our beloved Prime Minster coming to solve the problem his way - "make the Bangla the scapegoat."
The MP for Cameron Highlands has said in a statement in facebook, "I have raised the issue of Cameron Highlands many times to PM as well at cabinet meetings, both as MP as well as Minister of NRE in the one and half years I was elected as MP for Cameron Highlands and subsequently appointed as Minister of Natural Resources and Environment. Is Datuk Palanivel MP for Pahang telling us this happened because the PM did not act?
This is indeed sad to see how low this nation has stooped, to save the high and mighty and not to not hold them accountable but rather go for the people who are least able to defend themselves, and put a mighty show of it, after which those really responsible will be left off the hook. How many times have we witnessed this,and how many more times are we to witness this?
Why has it to be the Bangla? Are they the only foreign workers up the highlands? Are they the businessmen who cleared the land for their own purpose?
The answer in all probability also lies with the Bangla government who is so preoccupied with its own internal politics it has no time for its sons begin hounded here like dogs. Where is the Bangladeshi High Commissioner to Malaysia.
This really calls for a Royal Commission of inquiry for once I am in agreement with the Utusan on the issue of the RCI, we need to come out of this state of denial, lies and corruption, if it is a Minister get him, if it is the MP get him and if it is the Menteri Besar get him as well, the question is.
Unless and until we really investigate this case very transparently this may very well bean issue that is swept under the carpet as usual.
Is this government brave enough to do that?
God help Malaysia, my beloved country.