Viral video ‘just tip of the iceberg’

Long march to fairness: The Bangladeshi workers seen walking in a single file by the shoulder of a road in Johor. — Screengrab from social media

Sim: Employer behind 171 foreign workers left jobless in Johor to be called up

PETALING JAYA: The employer who recruited 171 Bangladeshi workers seen walking in a large group in Pengerang, Johor, will be called up for questioning in a broader issue that a minister has described as the tip of the iceberg.

According to Human Resources Minister Steven Sim, the agency concerned will be investigated after the foreign workers had attempted to lodge a report at the Bayu Damai police station on Dec 20 against their agent for failing to get them jobs for several months.

“In the Johor case, the employer involved will be called up this week for an investigation,” he posted on X (formerly Twitter) on Monday.

He added that he has been in communication with Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail to work out a speedy solution to the matter.

Sim also said his ministry will provide aid to the Bangladeshi men on “humanitarian grounds” as the case involving their detention is beyond the ministry’s jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reforms) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said there are over 2,000 migrants in Pengerang, where she is the MP, who have been “duped.”

Calling it “the tip of the iceberg,” she said the culprits involved must be held accountable.

“The responsibility and role of all companies involved should also be investigated to determine how legitimate migrant workers could be exploited and enticed with promises of work in Malaysia,” she posted on X.

She added that human rights violations should not be tolerated and firm action must be taken against irresponsible businesses.

Azalina also commended Sim for extending assistance to the affected workers.

On Monday, Kota Tinggi OCPD Supt Hussin Zamora confirmed the arrest of the 171 Bangladeshi workers.

He said they had been legally brought into Malaysia but the agent had yet to provide them with work so they decided to walk to the police station, situated 10km from their accommodations, to lodge a report.

Supt Hussin said the foreigners did not manage to lodge a report as the police “found out that the agent had yet to find suitable employment for them”.

He said a police report was made by the army against the foreigners, aged 19 to 43, on the same day – adding that they have since been hauled up by the Immigration Department.

A video of the group went viral, with concerns of public safety raised by the person who posted it as well as people online.

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