Wednesday, June 30, 2010

MP Segambut says tougher probe needed on ‘happy workers’

Source: (30/6/2010)

KUALA LUMPUR: Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng feels there is “something fishy” about the plight concerning migrant workers at the construction site of the new Istana Negara.

He said he found it hard to believe reports in the Chinese media that the workers have been duly paid their wages. “I find this fishy because I received an SOS call from the migrant workers. I went and spoke to them personally. I have seen their living conditions and they told me their woes. So, it makes no sense that they should claim that they have been paid now.”

Yesterday, project contractor Maya Maju Sdn Bhd invited only the Chinese press to visit the site and interview the workers.

“The reporters said they were told to interview ‘selected’ workers. “To read reports about ‘happy’ workers and see pictures of them holding placards stating that they were paid their wages and ‘were happy working there’ is very dodgy,” said Lim. He also said that labour officers should have sought the help of officials from the foreign embassies so that the affected workers could be encouraged to speak out.

The MTUC has blasted the FT Labour Department, saying that it had conducted a shoddy investigation on the case. “How can you conduct an investigation by speaking to just eight people?” MTUC president Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud asked. Commenting on a report in The Star yesterday which quoted a department official as saying that their probe had been completed after interviewing eight workers, Syed Shahir said government agencies should be more serious in handling such matters.

Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin also exp-ressed his disappointment over the matter and stressed that action must be taken against errant contractors. “The Government has paid the contractors and if the workers are not getting paid, then the money must be going elsewhere,” he said.

A report submitted to Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam by the FT Labour Department revealed that there was no truth to the allegations that the workers were not paid. However, it will continue to monitor the situation, it said.

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