Azalina calls for urgent investigation into duped Bangladeshis over job promises

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 26: Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said today called for an immediate investigation into the recruitment agents responsible for duping migrant workers to secure jobs that were not available.

Her call came after media reports yesterday that police arrested a group of 171 Bangladeshi men who were walking in a large group in Pengerang, Johor, as captured in a video that went viral.

Azalina, who is also the Pengerang Member of Parliament, described the incident in her constituency as “only the tip of the iceberg”, saying that the companies involved should be investigated to determine how legitimate migrant workers could be exploited and enticed with promises of work in Malaysia.

“These are crimes against humanity. We must not tolerate violations of human rights including in the business sector. It is time to take firm action against irresponsible businesses,” she said in X, formerly known as Twitter, today.

At the same time, Azalina also commended the Human Resources Minister Steven Sim Chee Keong for extending assistance to the deluded migrant workers.

“As Pengerang MP, I had reached out to YB Steven Sim as I am told that about 2,500 of these duped migrants are in Pengerang. The culprits behind this syndicate must be held accountable and immediate investigations must be carried out on who issued these permits with no jobs available,” she added.

Sim in a media report yesterday said that his ministry would aid the duped Bangladeshi men on “humanitarian grounds” as the case involving their detention was beyond the ministry’s jurisdiction.

Besides that, he said the ministry would also summon the employers mentioned in the foreigners’ document and the involved agencies to assist them in the investigation later this week.

Yesterday, Kota Tinggi district police chief Supt Hussin Zamora said a group of 171 Bangladeshi men was heading towards the Bayu Damai police station to press charges against their agents as they claimed they had yet to be employed after three to six months.

He said all of them, aged between 19 and 43, had valid documents and they were handed over to the Immigration Department for overstaying in the country under Section 15(1)(c) of the Immigration Act 1959/63.