KUALA LUMPUR: Human rights organizations have accused the Malaysia government of caning and then deporting some 173 Indonesian workers, including 69 women and 6 children.
Malaysian government officials confirmed to Bikyamasr.com on Sunday that the deportations had in fact taken place, but denied that any of the workers had been caned due to their violations in the country.
“They are being deported because they violated labor laws and nothing more,” the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Bikyamasr.com, denying local rights group’s report that dozens of the workers had been caned. Bikyamasr.com could not confirm these reports.
The workers will be temporarily sheltered in Tanjungpinang, Riau.
“We will provide temporary shelter before sending them to their villages of origin,” troubled migrant worker chief Juramadi Esram said in Tanjungpinang on Friday.
Juramadi said that the workers failed to show valid documents to work in Malaysia and most of them had entered Malaysia on tourist passports.
One of the workers, Ari, said that they were treated roughly during their detention in Malaysian prisons and that their belongings were seized by the Malaysian authorities.
“Nothing’s left but the clothes on our backs. Everything has been taken by the Malaysian police,” Ari said as quoted by Antara news agency.
Some workers were also reportedly caned as punishment for their legal violations.
It comes as Malaysia and Indonesia face a number of setbacks in discussing trans-migrant labor issues and the issue of maids has also been at the heart of the growing disputes.
Many in the country believe that the added restrictions for Indonesian workers will result in less workers arriving in Malaysia or Singapore, meaning there could be a workers shortage in the near future.