SHAH ALAM: The government’s 6P programme to register foreign workers in the country is an utter failure and a sham. It seems that every level of the programme is riddled with corruption.
Even more shocking, those who have paid the 6P agents to legalise them and for work permits are still waiting for their passports and permits more than a year after it was launched.
Many others who had registered, paid and gone through the 6P programme including the bio-metric system, found their names not in the system when they checked at the Immigration Department.
Without solving this, the government had resorted to a massive crackdown on illegals, beginning Sept 1.
Non-governmental organisation Tenaganita said it has about 5,000 complaints from workers, mainly from Bangladesh, Indonesia and Nepal who are in a predicament over their future as they risk being arrested, whipped and deported although they have done everything necessary to stay legal.
Its Anti-Trafficking in Persons consultant Aegile Fernandez said although the government’s intention was good, the whole programme has been poorly managed. As a result, agents and immigration officers have been making thousands of ringgit per worker at the expense of the lowly educated and poor wage earners.
She also questioned the need to hire over 300 agents to carry out the 6P programme when it could have been done by the authorities themselves.
“Why the middleman? This should have been a government-to-government programme or employer to immigration. Instead of charging the usual fee of RM300, the agents charged up to RM4,000 to the ill-informed workers,” she said, claiming that immigration officers were also on the take.
The 6P programme refers to six steps: registration, whitening, forgiveness, monitoring, enforcement and deportation of illegal immigrants. It offered local employers the option to legalise their illegal workers while illegals will also have the chance to be deported back to their country without punishment.
The programme ran from July 2011 to April 2012 and is managed by 336 agents appointed by the Home Ministry.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Shamsuddin Bardan said many employers were still waiting for legal documents from the government for their maids and workers.
“Money has changed hands, but our system has not captured the workers. But, for obvious reasons and fear of retribution, employers are afraid to complain as the authorities will come down on them for harbouring illegals although they have gone through the 6P programme,” he said when contacted.
The future of both the employers and workers who have registered with the 6P programme continues to be in a limbo as the government is bent on clamping down on the illegals without solving the issue on status and legal documents.
“Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had once called these foreign workers as guest workers in our country, but the government today is hunting them down like animals,” said Aegile.
She also questioned the need to re-register illegals, as said by Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi since they had paid and gone through the process last year.
“What guarantee is there that this time they will be captured in the system? How much money now do they have to pay? Will the workers this time be given their legal documents?” she asked.
Instead of patting their backs and calling failed projects a success, the government would do well by adopting transparent and corruption-free mechanisms, if it is truly serious in flushing out illegals.
As Samsuddin pointed out, “we should be sending the right message to the right ‘illegals”. – theantdaily