A local NGO dealing with migrant workers' plight is not confident that the authorities are taking their condemnation of rape incidents involving the group seriously.

Jaring Utara Migrasi dan Perlarian (Jump) representative S Sudhagar Stanley today dismissed as "pure rubbish" federal government responses on the issue thus far.

He added that it was "purely drama" to convince the Indonesian government that they are serious about the matter.

"Ask any migrant rights NGO  in this country and they will have tonnes of stories and experiences with the federal government to tell you," Stanley, a Jump board member, told Malaysiakini.

"For many years human rights groups in this country have been asking for the Independent Police Conduct and Monitoring Committee (IPCMC) to be set up but all these calls have fallen on deaf ears," he added.

Police to be charged today

NONEStanley, whose office is based at the Penang Office for Human Development, was referring to the recent incident where an Indonesian worker was allegedly gang-raped by three policemen in Prai.

Yesterday, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng also renewed calls for the IPCMC, saying that with such a body, police would not dare abuse their position.

The incident occurred at about 7am on Nov 9, after she was apprehended for not carrying her passport.

The trio's one week remand ends today and they are expected to be charged in court.

According to Stanley, the incident comes months after the "shocking news" of a Cambodian maid who her employer allegedly starved to death in Penang .

Only yesterday, the country was abuzz with another rape incident.
This time that of an Indonesian domestic worker allegedly by her employer in Seremban.

Stanley said that Malaysia's image has been tarnished at the international level and its citizens are known as "cruel people" by migrant workers in the country.

He admitted that he dared not visit rural villages in countries like Cambodia, Indonesia or India or say he is from Malaysia.
"Because if I do, I am afraid that I might be kidnapped and killed... that's how angry migrant workers are with Malaysians and the government for all the abuses on them and their families," said Stanley, who also represents the Northern Region Network for Migrants and Refugees.

Malaysia's reputation at stake

bangladesh foreign workers migrants 030108Meanwhile, Stanley lashed out at the federal government for "sucking the blood of migrants" without being bothered about their safety and well-being.

He called on politicians and Malaysians to rise up and condemn such migrant abuse because the country's reputation is at stake and "damaged" at the International arena.

"They have contributed so much to our society.. they plant our food, they serve us, they build our homes, they bring our children up, they clean our garbage," said Stanley.

"Is this how we should treat them? They deserve to be treated like heroes," he added.
Malaysia's link with Indonesia has always been shaky, with the latter freezing the entry of maids to the country.
With the latest incidents, this relationship is not likely to improve, especially with protests being held in Indonesia condemning  Malaysian cruelty.