Employer tells horror story of helper taken in immigration raid

Individuals detained in an immigration raid at the Kotaraya Shopping Complex. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: An employer has taken to Facebook to describe the ordeal of her Filipino helper who was reportedly detained and handcuffed by the authorities during an immigration raid on Sunday.

Lynn Townley said her helper, who was taken at the Kotaraya Shopping Complex in Kuala Lumpur along with 300 others, had a copy of her passport and a picture of her visa.

“But instead of checking the documents, they loaded everyone into buses like animals and made them wait without water for five hours,” she added.

According to Townley, her helper was handcuffed to 10 other people suspected of working illegally, who were chained together the entire time with officers even making them go to the bathroom as a group.

“They were taken to Malaysian Immigration, Putrajaya. Several of the legal employers were present, with the original documents, desperately trying to talk to the detained individuals or officers, but were yelled at and refused to listen to the employers.

“My helper has been working for me for 10 years, always legal and a kind and caring member of our TTDI community,” Townley added.

“She was released with bruises on her wrists from the handcuffs and marker on her arms from being tagged like a criminal. I understand the need to check documents and tighten down on illegal workers, but this process was absolutely unnecessary and cruel.”

Townley’s post was accompanied by pictures of the marks on her helper’s wrists and of the detained individuals seated on the floor behind yellow immigration department tape.

The post made waves on social media, with many criticising the way in which the detainees were treated.

Klang MP Charles Santiago, in a statement today, said the episode was “beyond disturbing”.

Adding that such stories of abuse by immigration officers were “outrageous and totally unacceptable”, he called on the department to make its standard operating procedures (SOPs) on immigration raids public.

“And if the SOPs cannot be made public, the raids must be stopped to prevent further abuse of migrant workers.

“Immigration officers should not treat migrant workers like animals, even if they are undocumented, for these workers are the victims of the existing system in the country.”

Santiago also urged Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to look at the over-supply of migrant workers at its source, tackle corruption in the ministry and stop issuing new permits.

He advised Muhyiddin to set up a special commission to look into the management of migrant workers in the country, adding that this was long overdue.

“The government simply cannot compromise on this and neither should it allow the rights and dignity of a group of vulnerable people to be trampled on.”