July 2, 2022

Two-day interactive dialogues on Engaging Parliamentarians: Strengthening migrant workers’ protection in Malaysia concluded on Friday.

Parliamentarians, diplomats and civil society representatives from Bangladesh and other South Asian and the South East Asian countries attended series of meetings on migrants’ issues on March 7-8.

Migrant Forum in Asia, a regional network of non-governmental organisations, associations, trade unions and advocates, working together to promote the protection and rights of migrant workers brought MPs and stakeholders together in Kuala Lumpur.

In organizing the dialogue, the MFA collaborated with Our Journey Malaysia, Bar Council and Refugees, Immigration Affairs Committee in Malaysia.

Speaking at the dialogue, MFA regional coordinator William Gois said that currently, the realities of the existing labour migration system had been too wide and contentious for civil society organizations to be involved at a large scale.

He said that collaboration with stakeholders including members of parliament and missions could help change this system to be more humane and rights based.

‘And so there is an urge to look at migration issues collectively as per the all of government and all of society approach,’ said William Gois.

According to organizers, the participants included the MPs from Nepal, Bangladesh, Malaysia, India while diplomats and civil society representatives from Lao, India, Nepal, Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Philippines, Thailand and Sri Lanka.

A Bangladesh delegation led by chairman of Parliamentarians’ Caucus on Migration and Development Israfil Alam MP joined the dialogue. Other members ware Benjir Ahmed MP and civil society representative Jasiya Khatoon, also director at WARBE Development Foundation.

31st March, 2017, MFA member WARBE Development Foundation formed the parliamentarians Caucus on migration and development.

Since 2007, MFA and network partners, with the support of Friedrich-Ebert- Stiftung, have been facilitating programs to identify the role of parliamentarians on the issues of labour migration and migrant workers’ rights to enhance participation of MPs in that role, and identify key issue areas to take actions.

Throughout the years, Malaysia has been a popular country of destination for other Asian countries. Malaysia has around four million migrant workers, most of which belong to the semi-skilled and low-skilled groups who are seen to be vulnerable to human rights violations. These violations extend to various forms such as gender inequality and discrimination, precarious work, forced labour, human trafficking, exploitation, among others.

Human rights violations still persist in Malaysia, especially among the vulnerable and undocumented migrant workers. Diverse factors might have led to these violations such as lack of sound, relevant, and applicable labour policies or weak implementation thereof, political changes and globalization.

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