Saturday, April 19, 2014
   
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Resisting any witch-hunt aimed at blaming the illegals

Commentary

hisha-foreignThe statement by the Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein that the presence of more illegal workers compared to the legal ones is a cause of concern and could undermine national unity reveals either an ignoramus or an idiot. Did he expect many less illegals given the super-efficiency of his Ministry and the other government agencies sharing responsibility on this vital matter of securing our borders against unauthorised intrusion and stay in the country?

According to the current ongoing exercise, as of Friday, a total of 2,088,358 foreign workers had been registered, of whom 1,135,499 were illegals. Probably everyone else in the country, except Hisham, knows this number is an under-estimate and a very large number are still waiting to be processed or are avoiding being included in the count altogether.

Since his appointment in 2009 as the ,inister in charge of this portfolio, Hishamuddin has been lurching from one self-inflicted debacle to another. From bending over backwards to defend the indefensible conduct of demonstrators in the infamous cow head incident to his most recent use of repressive force against the Bersih rally, he has shown a standard of leadership of this important ministry which must be plumbing new lows or matching those lows attained by Dr Mahathir Mohammad.

Perhaps he has not had time to study and understand the situation with illegals in Malaysia, given the many important distractions posed by alleged anti-national and possibly terrorist groupings such as those Parti Sosialis Malaysia members recently taken in under the Emergency Ordinance for having on their possession Che Guevara and other communist attire; or the Bersih supporters who needed tear-gassing and a big clout on their thick skulls for upsetting the traffic flow on a weekend; or the MoCS supporters who want to ungild the lily white and ‘incorruptible’ reputation of one of the country’s most trusted and respected leaders through their potentially inflammatory Kuching walk rally aborted on “friendly police advice” – and by  the way, is Hishamuddin related in any way to Taib Mahmud?

If he has still not been briefed by his ministry officials on the foreign labour issue, this quick summary of facts, figures and other considerations may be useful.

  • The 10th Malaysian Plan document has a chart showing that the number of foreign workers in the country exceeded two million-plus in 2008. This figure has most likely increased rather than decreased. The current hi-tech, super hi-cost biometric exercise seems to have registered only half of all workers with permits and probably fewer than half of those without.

  • The presence of so many foreign workers is not only due to economic factors but also to Umno’s political agenda which everyone in the country, except the non-Malay Barisan leaders and parties are aware of.

  • Thanks to ‘enlightened’ Umno and Barisan policies, the Malaysian economy and society is hopelessly and irredeemably addicted to foreign workers. 

  • The great majority of foreign workers work a lot harder for a lot less than their Malaysian counterparts. They deserve to be treated with fairness and respect, and we should resist any witch-hunt aimed at blaming them for self inflicted socio-economic and political ills. 

  • The profits in the foreign labour market have generated pervasive corruption amongst all levels of the police force, the Immigration Department, Rela, agents and other agencies – public and private.

  • The extortion of payments, services and loyalty from this marginalized segment and use of them as a pawn in the demographic and racial power game will continue whatever the changes in policy and new stances adopted for public consumption unless there is a regime change.

Some analysts who have observed the Home Minister closely – he is after all a graduate from the University of Wales and London School of Economics – are of the opinion that he is not an ignoramus or idiot. He is a political animal aiming for the top position through scrupulous or unscrupulous means.

According to the latest hot news in the internet, there is more behind the Home Minister’s new found enthusiasm for pursuing the registration of foreign workers.  One is the claim that the new biometrics system is the cash cow for the coming Umno elections.  Much of this hot news cannot be verified but readers can visit the website http://biometricscandal.wordpress.com/ for details.

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