PSM: Spineless government- Being tough with the wrong people

PSM: Spineless government- Being tough with the wrong people

In recent weeks, we see that Senior Minister Ismail Sabri has been no nonsense man when it comes to issues dealing with migrants as well as when people break the MCO.

He continuously gets annoyed when journalists question him about raids involving migrants. The journalists have in recent weeks quoted SUHAKAM, NGOs and even KKM call and on the issue if there is going to be any new SOP with dealing with migrants.

He keeps calling all these people “keliru” confused and in one of his recent daily updates, he called these NGOs and politician trying to be heroes to champion the cause of the migrants.

For a start, being heroes trying to champion migrant issues itself is not factual correct or rewarding simply because most Malaysians are not very welcoming of the migrants and migrants cannot vote therefore one is not going to get much political mileage championing the cause of the migrants.

What is for us which is even more serious is that, the Health DG has already stated the biggest contributing factor among why covid cases are high and easy to spread among the migrant communities is because of their cramp living conditions which does not allow for social distancing as suggested by the MCO and the KKM. This is also the same reason for the high cases in Singapore, a country which has a much higher enforcement compared to us.

But daily while we hear Ismail Sabri beating his chest on how many cars has been stopped and how many people have been arrested, we have yet to see any employers who violate housing condition being booked. While we see raids are being carried out but there is no operation or raids to check on the living conditions and the Kongsi of the migrants. When the health DG was asked if they will check on this, he said that is the responsibility of the Immigration.

Now above all this, the Human Resources Minister M Saravanan said that they will postpone implementing the amended Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 which was suppose to come into force on Monday. The act was approved by Parliament in July 2019 and endorsed by the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) and MTUC.

The Employers had ample of time to implement this and now they are given this leeway in a time when we need to enforce social distancing in places housing migrant’s workers. While there is a tendency to blame the migrants for the recent spike in Covid cases, yet there is no concrete solution to address the cause of the problem which is overcrowding and the inability to observe social distancing in places they stay.

So who is keliru. Why is the Government trying to be heroes in raiding the migrants but spineless to implementing the housing act which will ensure the safety for the workers as well as all citizens as the virus in color blind to race and nationality.

A responsible Government would immediately put a law or the least a SOP on migrant Housing as well as ensure employers adhere to it.

S Arutchelvan is the deputy chairperson Parti Sosialis Malaysia

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of The Leaders Online.

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