LETTER TO EDITOR
The US State Department Annual ‘Trafficking in Persons Report 2009', condemnation of Malaysia should not come as a surprise. In fact, the Malaysian authorities should have anticipated it coming.
The Malaysian government was put on notice a year ago on active trafficking in persons in the country by local NGOs, questions raised in parliament, political parties and two months ago by the Richard Lugar (the US Ranking Minority Member) report entitled ‘Trafficking and Extortion of Burmese Migrants in Malaysia and Southern Thailand’
( a ) Ministry of Home Affairs – Lies and Denial
On 3rd May, 2008, an NTV 7 documentary entitled ‘Refugee for Sale’ exposed the selling and trafficking of Burmese refugees and migrants in detention camps in the Malaysia-Thai border. The report implicated Malaysian immigration officials as part of the network involved in human trafficking.
In July 2008, I asked a parliamentary question on this scandal and the Ministry of Home Affairs replied by saying that a special committee would be established to investigate the accusation and would get further information from NTV 7.
In October, 2008, I posited a second question on the outcome of the special committee’s investigation and was told that there was no basis to the accusations that immigration officials were working together with traffickers.
Was the NTV 7s producer contacted by the special committee? No. The producer was not contacted for further information and evidence. Thus what was the basis of saying that there was no basis to the accusation?
Clearly, the then Home Minister misled Parliament and Nation.
In fact, the Lugar report which outlined numerous instances of collaboration between immigration officials and traffickers was also met with the similar denial.
This complete shirking of responsibility in the face of convincing evidence reflects poorly on the integrity of Malaysian institutions. This is another feature of a failing state.
( b ) Trafficking of Malaysian Women and Children Locally and Abroad Highlighted in the TIP Report.
The report identifies Malaysia as a destination, transit and source of human slavery.
There are two sets of trafficked people:
( a) women and children for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation; and,
( b) men, women and children for the purpose of forced labor.
Member of Parliament
18 June 2009