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Blacklisted firm cheating migrants, says Tenaganita

 | May 4, 2012

The company is on the Bangladesh blacklist but is operating a labour agency in Malaysia, says Irene Fernandez.

PETALING JAYA: A company that has been blacklisted in Bangladesh is operating a labour agency in Malaysia and has cheated at least 32 migrant workers of sums ranging from RM2,500 to RM4,000, the human rights organisation Tenaganita alleged today.

Interviews with the workers have brought to light cases of cheating, fraud and human trafficking by the Akhwan Group, headed by Bangladeshi national Sirajul Amin, according to Tenaganita head Irene Fernandez.

Fernandez also said Malaysian authorities appeared to be unconcerned about the issue despite their knowledge of it from information provided by Tenaganita and the arrest last March 29 of an Akhwan director suspected of forging the signature of an immigration official.

The arrested person was released after a day in the custody of the Immigration Department, she added.

Tenaganita filed a complaint today with the Commercial Crime Department of Bukit Aman police headquarters and is hoping to meet with Home Ministry officials on Monday.

Fernandez said the workers were led to believe that Ikhwan would register them into the Home Ministry’s biometric identification system, legalise their status, and obtain for them work permits and legal employment – all under the 6P amnesty programme initiated last June.

She said Tenaga decided to file a complaint with Bukit Aman because there had been little or no follow-up from reports that individual workers had lodged at various police stations.

The Immigration Department also appeared to have taken little interest in workers’ complaints, she added.

She also said the Home Minister as well as other ministry officials had kept mum despite numerous attempts by Tenaganita to get answers from them.

According to statements by the workers, Akhwan advertised openly through flyers, banners and in community newspapers that it offered the “full 6P package” for migrants. They said it used biometric machines it had obtained through Sri Jaya Perkasa Sdn Bhd and Framco Sdn Bhd, which are government-approved 6P agents.

The workers also told Tenaganita that Akhwan had been telling them that Malaysian authorities were taking their time processing their documents.


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