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PRESS STATEMENT
Date : 16th Jan 2009
The recent news report stating that the US Senate is investigating allegations of Malaysian officials extorting money from foreign migrants are linked to human trafficking comes as no surprise.
I had raised this issue in Parliament last year with regards to the Burmese refugees, together with human rights organisations like Tenaganita and the Migration Working Group. But the Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar had only glossed over the matter.
Local television channel NTV 7’s “Refugee for Sale” programme helped to highlight the problem, nationwide.
But, responding in a typical fashion, Syed Hamid in a reply to my question in Parliament said that a special committee formed by the Immigration Department to investigate claims contained in the programme had found that immigration officials were not involved in trafficking of the Burmese or other refugees.
Either Syed Hamid is naive enough to buy the story dished out by the Immigration Department, which had set-up a special team to investigate its own officers. Or he is desperate to ensure Malaysia does not receive bad press worldwide.
The Home Minister, in his written reply, said that the Immigration Department would meet with NTV7, continue its investigations and punish errant officials if there is any truth to the claims made by the television station.
But no such meeting has taken place so far. It is obvious Syed Hamid is not at all bothered about the thousands of refugees in the country who live sandwiched between skyscrapers and overcrowded flats.
The refugees live in fear of being caught by the immigration authorities and being deported to their countries of origin, to face political persecution, despite holding UNHCR cards.
They are constantly harassed by Rela officers, a volunteer force, who are known to constantly be on the prowl for migrants and refugees. They even burn down make-shift homes of refugees in jungles.
If arrested, the migrants and asylum-seekers are lumped together in tiny immigration detention cells where flogging is the main form of punishment.
In short refugees live in a limbo in the country as Malaysia is yet to ratify the 1951 Refugee Convention. This means, the government does not need to officially recognise the refugees or the UNHCR documents that they carry.
It also, unfortunately, means that the government can shut a blind eye to allegations of abuse of power by immigration officers who make quick bucks extorting money from the refugees. Those who cannot pay off the extortionists are sold to brothels, fishing boats or as bonded labourers.
Meanwhile the refugees and migrants who are still in the country live in appalling conditions without proper sanitation facilities, housing, food and medicine. They and their children depend on handouts and the goodwill of others.
As such, I call upon the government to immediately ratify the United Nations Refugee Convention and provide refugees with the necessary protection as stated in the ASEAN Charter.
This is not the time to conceal information. Neither is it time to worry about Malaysia’s reputation internationally.
Therefore, I urge the government to cooperate with the staff members from the US Senate foreign committee who have already travelled to Malaysia, Thailand and the Malaysia-Thailand borders for intelligence gathering.
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US Welcomes Malaysia's Views On Middle East Peace Process
KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 (Bernama) -- The Obama administration, which promises to make Israeli-Palestinian peace a priority, welcomes Malaysia's contribution in helping to move forward the peace process in the Middle East. "We would certainly welcome ideas from Malaysia, how to convey a sense of confidence in the peace process to all the participants. We certainly appreciate what the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) can do, with Malaysia playing an important role there," US Ambassador to Malaysia James R. Keith said in a recent interview with Bernama. Malaysia was the chair of the OIC between 2003 and 2007. It officially handed over the chairmanship of the 57-member Jeddah-based organisation to Senegal in March, last year after four-and-a-half years at the helm. Keith said the fact that US President Barack Obama immediately dispatched his special envoy, George J. Mitchell, to the Middle East, showed the sense of priority he accorded to the peace process. Mitchell, a seasoned negotiator, helped broker a peace agreement in Northern Ireland and led a commission investigating the causes of violence between Israelis and Palestinians. News reports from Washington said Obama, who pledged that the diplomatic initiative would be vigorous and sustained, moved swiftly to engage in the Middle East, phoning Arab and Israeli leaders on his first full day in office and announcing Mitchell's appointment the next day. Keith said Obama's commitment to resolving the on-going Israeli-Palestinian conflict was also reflected when he chose Dubai-based Al-Arabiya, an Arabic satellite TV network, for his first formal television interview as president. The Al-Arabiya interview was part of a concerted effort to repair relations with the Muslim world that were damaged under the previous administration, according to media reports. "Many American media had expected to be given that honour. The interview to Al-Arabiya shows the high priority President Obama gave to the peace process. "President Obama also wants to ensure, not only the people in the Middle East but also the rest of the world understand his administration's long term objective, that is to ensure peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. We have to ensure the dignity and security of not only the Palestinians, but the Israelis as well. "Discussions have been going on for a long time... it's a complicated issue and a long history. You can assure Obama will be committing a tremendous amount of resources and using US political influence to try to come to sustained solutions, in the first instance, sustained ceasefire, and moving beyond that, getting into other issues such as combined. The American envoy said there were a lot of issues to be addressed such as combined regional efforts on arms control and sustainable development. "We are very close to a solution." He said the President, the Secretary of State (Hilary Clinton) and the Special Envoy (to the Middle East) would remain absolutely committed to the peace process, stressing that "We are not divorced from the rest of the world. We need their support." On the call to boycott American goods in protest against US support for Israel, he said he understood the heartfelt compassion coming from Malaysians towards the Palestinians. "The compassion comes with the history, actions and political objectives of all the players." "I think in the end, it is important that we understand that we are all human beings. No matter whatever actions, whether Malaysians condemn or not, in the end we are talking about human beings who have same motivations and concerns about their families on all sides of the issue. Both Palestinians and the Israelis have their own concerns and humanitarian needs. "As their leaders see the efforts the US are undertaking in this peace process, I hope they will have a better understanding on a broader context of what's going on." "People have high expectations of President Obama. He wants people to invest in trust and confidence in his efforts. We have to be realistic that the US is not the only player in the Middle East. Egyptians, Syrians and Jordanians have important roles in the crisis. "They all have different needs and there are different actors. President Obama couldn't just dictate the outcome, there has to be a process that respects the sovereignty of each of everyone of the players. "It is also important to realise the practical considerations and how much can America do to facilitate the peace process. I would hope Malaysian US franchisers who provided foodstuff to these outlets and restaurants see from this perspective. "The large number of players felt that the US should do more in the Middle East. President Obama is giving his personal time and attention to this, evidenced by the appointment of the Special Envoy the Middle East." On the Israeli elections, he said for the larger part of the players, the election was important and could have an impact on the peace process. "Israelis have to decide for themselves what their priorities are. The point is, Israelis have to determine their priorities are matched against other participants." In the Feb 10 polls, Binyamin Netanyahu, the leader of Israel's rightwing Likud party, was chosen to form a new coalition government that would see him emerge as the country's next prime minister. Netanyahu's Likud came a close second in the elections but he was chosen by Israeli President Shimon Peres because he won the backing of a majority of elected MPs with the strong performance of rightwing parties in the vote. He has six weeks to put together a majority coalition. But recent talks to include the centrist Kadima party in a coalition have ended without agreement. Netanyahu is seeking a broad-based coalition including Kadima and the centre-left Labour party which might find more favour with Israel's international backers. Kadima supports the formation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, which is opposed by Likud. With 27 of the Knesset's (Israel's Parliament) 120 seats, Likud actually won one seat less than Kadima in the recent general elections. But the Israeli President tasked Netanyahu with forming the next cabinet as he stands a better chance of forming a coalition by the April 3 deadline, analysts said. Analysts said whoever is elected in the Israeli election will have to balance right-leaning voters -- and most likely coalition partners -- against pressure to push forward with meaningful negotiations from the new US President. Said Keith: "We have to keep in mind that in any case, in any negotiations, the basic demands of the Palestinians have to be satisfied. Similarly, Israeli demands on the basic needs and security, have also to be met. There has to be a sense of recognition that the Israeli's right to exist has to be satisfied. "This is just the way negotiations work. Actions must be based on how well and how much we can draw from the previous Israeli administration and previous Arab and world leaders. It is our hope that all players involved see to it that the peace process works. "What's important is Palestinians' interest and Israelis' existence. The fundamental rights of all players need to be respected. Palestinians and Israelis alike." Asked on whether there would ever be peace in the Middle East, Keith said: "In the first instance, we have to ensure sustainable ceasefire. I am not an expert. President Obama is very clear on his objectives. We want sustainable ceasefire. That includes opening up the flow of goods to the Palestinians. "This is a complicated issue. We are seeing a great deal coming out of the United States, the US President, the Secretary of State and the Special Envoy. High priority is given to the peace process by the Obama administration. This is an important issue, which needs to be recognised by Muslims, not only in Southeast Asia, but also the rest of the world." "We were close to a solution at times. Only different things have to come together. This is a real challenge. As diplomats, I am optimistic and believe it can be solved. We do believe it can be done. It is important that everyone involved is capable of expressing goodwill. I believe that's true. It is a mistake to demonise any of the players."
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Modern Day Human Slavery in Malaysia: National Shame and Government in Denial

Press Statement by Member of Parliament Klang Charles Santiago in Parliament on 18th June 2009
The US State Department Annual ‘Trafficking in Persons Report 2009′, condemnation of Malaysia should not come as a surprise. In fact, the Malaysian authorities should have anticipated it coming.
The Malaysian government was put on notice a year ago on active trafficking in persons in the country by local NGOs, questions raised in parliament, political parties and two months ago by the Richard Lugar (the US Ranking Minority Member) report entitled ‘Trafficking and Extortion of Burmese Migrants in Malaysia and Southern Thailand’
a) Ministry of Home Affairs – Lies and Denial
On 3rd May, 2008, an NTV 7 documentary entitled ‘Refugee for Sale’ exposed the selling and trafficking of Burmese refugees and migrants in detention camps in the Malaysia-Thai border. The report implicated Malaysian immigration officials as part of the network involved in human trafficking.
In July 2008, I asked a parliamentary question on this scandal and the Ministry of Home Affairs replied by saying that a special committee would be established to investigate the accusation and would get further information from NTV 7.
In October, 2008, I posited a second question on the outcome of the special committee’s investigation and was told that there was no basis to the accusations that immigration officials were working together with traffickers.
Was the NTV 7s producer contacted by the special committee? No. The producer was not contacted for further information and evidence. Thus what was the basis of saying that there was no basis to the accusation?
Clearly, the then Home Minister misled Parliament and Nation.
In fact, the Lugar report which outlined numerous instances of collaboration between immigration officials and traffickers was also met with the similar denial.
This complete shirking of responsibility in the face of convincing evidence reflects poorly on the integrity of Malaysian institutions. This is another feature of a failing state.
b) Trafficking of Malaysian Women and Children Locally and Abroad Highlighted in the TIP Report.
The report identifies Malaysia as a destination, transit and source of human slavery.
There are two sets of trafficked people: a) women and children for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation; and, b) men, women and children for the purpose of forced labor.
Malaysian women and girls especially from indigenous communities are trafficked within the country for labor and commercial sexual exploitation.
Furthermore, Malaysian Chinese women including indigenous women from rural areas are trafficked abroad to destinations such as Singapore, Hong Kong, France, and the UK for commercial and sexual exploitation.
The report states that local employment agencies including immigration authorities actively collaborate with human traffickers as in the Thai-Malaysia borders involving Burmese refugees and migrant workers in detention camps.
The report categorically notes that the Malaysian government does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.
Malaysia has been placed in Tier 3 which has ramifications for securing international loans from multilateral financial bodies and eliminates all opportunities for civil servants to take advantage of Fulbright Scholarships and other educational and cultural exchanges with the US.
Malaysia’s credibility on the international stage is at stake. If the Home Ministry fails to take decisive action, Malaysia bears the humiliation of being lumped with North Korea, Burma, Sudan and Zimbabwe in human trafficking
I call upon the newly minted Minister of Home Affairs to immediately set-up an independent task force including civil society organizations or a parliamentary select committee to address these troubling concerns.
Also, the government should actively implement the Anti-trafficking Law, ASEAN’s Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers and the immediate ratification of the UN 1967 Refugee Convention and the 2000 UN TIP (Trade in Persons) Protocol for the proper legal recognition of refugees within our borders – with a view to protect and promote the rights of migrants and refugees in the country and region.
The complicity of Malaysian authorities in human slavery should be an embarrassment to all Malaysians.

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Asean To Discuss Rohingyas As Part Of Indian Ocean Migrants
~ BERNAMA
HUA HIN, March 1 (Bernama) -- The tricky issue of Rohingya refugees took a new twist at the 14th Asean Summit here after regional leaders decided to treat them as just one of the migrant groups in the Indian Ocean. However, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva denied that the Rohingya issue had become taboo among the region's leaders. "It's not a taboo," he said when asked if the word Rohingya was not used because it's taboo. Abhisit, whose government came under fire following reports that the Thai Navy towed the stateless Rohingyas' boat into the sea, said they had to be treated according to their nationalities. "We want to include all illegal migrants whether they are from the Indian Ocean or not. Which is why we specifically mentioned illegal migrants, whether they are Bengalis or other people who happen to go through this predicament," he told a press conference after the Summit. In the Chairman's statement, the leaders said the issue should be addressed in a larger context, such as the contact group of affected countries and the Bali Ministerial Conference on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crimes. Abhisit said the leaders had a productive discussion on the issue of illegal migrants in the Indian Ocean and agreed that cooperation among countries of origin, transit and destination was of great importance. The Myanmar Government, which refused to accept the Rohingyas as their citizen despite the fact that they came from the Arakan state, had told Asean Foreign Ministers during a meeting here two days ago that they were willing to take them back if they were Bengalis. There are an estimated 14,000 Rohingyas in Malaysia, as well as in Thailand, Indonesia and Bangladesh. Abhisit also said the leaders had asked Asean secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan to coordinate with Myanmar to obtain relevant statistics related to these illegal migrants in the Indian Ocean. He also said that they had open discussions on Myanmar where its Prime Minister Thein Sein briefed them on recent political developments and the progress made in the implementation of the seven-step Roadmap to Democracy. "We encouraged the Myanmar Government to facilitate the national reconciliation process to be more inclusive so as to strengthen national unity, thereby contributing to peace and prosperity in Myanmar," he said. The leaders also hoped that the release of political detainees and the inclusion of all political parties in the political process leading to the general elections in 2010 would contribute significantly to the national reconciliation process there. In a separate press conference, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the Leaders also decided that member countries should not pass the Rohingya problem to their neighbours and instead tackle the issue together. "Myanmar did not mention anything (about Rohingya). We recognised the issue, otherwise it's not good for us," he said. Asked about human rights and democracy in Myanmar, Abdullah said the meeting did ask Thein Sein about the progress in the country, adding that the issue of detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was not brought up. "But it's better (for media) to ask the Myanmar Prime Minister to talk. I can't speak on his behalf," he said, adding that the Myanmar Government had told Asean during the last Summit in Singapore that it preferred to deal with the United Nations rather than Asean on the matter. Abdullah pointed out the progress made by UN Special Envoy to Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambari who had made seven visits to the military-ruled nation. According to the premier, Myanmar had released 6,000 political detainees as requested by Gambari, who is also the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights .
‘’Don’t take my photographs… they will come after me,’’ Zin Myint said, referring to Malaysian authorities who now closely monitor local and overseas publications for anti-Malaysia sentiments expressed by migrant workers. On arrival Zin Myint ‘celebrated’ with others from his village and joined some three million – documented and undocumented – Asian migrant workers who live and work here in deplorable conditions.
An estimated 150,000 of these workers are Burmese migrant workers, many of them Kachins and Muslim Rohingyas from Burma’s northern Rakhine region. ‘’We Burmese migrants are sold like fish and vegetables,’’ Myint told IPS in an interview in Pudu market, a big wet market in the capital where Burmese migrant workers predominate.
Myint had been arrested, taken to the Thai border and officially ‘deported’ which actually means getting sold to human traffickers. ‘’I was robbed of all my cash by both Malaysian and Thai officials and sold to traffickers,’’ Myint told IPS.
‘’I was held in a jungle camp near the border for three weeks until my relatives bought me from the traffickers. I bribed my way back into Malaysia,’’ he said, adding that while conditions are tough in Malaysia, they are better than Burma or Thailand. ‘’There is food, work and a roof over my head.’’
Myint is one of the luckier ones to be arrested and ‘deported’ only once. He is now considered a leader in the Pudu area and much sought after by other Burmese workers for ‘assistance’ in avoiding arrest and deportation all over again.
Burmese migrant workers call the trade ‘’bwan’’ (thrown away) or one of the worst forms of human trafficking.
‘’Malaysia does not recognise key international agreements on the protection of refugees and foreign nationals. Nor does it apply to foreign migrants the same rights and legal protections given to Malaysian citizens,’’ said Irene Fernandez, executive director of Tenaganita, a rights NGO that protects migrant workers.
Human rights activists have long charged that immigration, police and other enforcement officials, including the unpopular voluntary force called RELA, have been ‘’trading’’ Burmese migrants, especially Rohingyas, to human traffickers in Thailand who then pass them on to deep sea fishing trawler operators in the South China Sea. The women are generally sold into the sex industry.
‘’They are treated as a commodity and frequently bought and sold and we have been condemning this practise for a long time,’’ Fernandez said.
‘’Our demands have always fallen on deaf ears despite the accumulating evidence of the involvement of uniformed officials in the trade,’’ Fernandez told IPS.
It has become commonplace for the authorities to use the vigilante ‘RELA’ force to periodically arrest and ‘deport’ Rohingyas, but since Burma does not recognise them as citizens, the practise is to take them to the Bukit Kayu Hitam area on the Thai-Malaysia border and force them to cross over into Thailand.
‘’They are arrested, jailed and deported, but since they are stateless they are taken to the Thai border and often sold to Thai traffickers,’’ said Fernandez. Invariably, the ‘’deported’’ Rohingyas bribe Thai and Malaysian officials and return to Malaysia.
The accusation against corrupt Malaysian officials is long standing and made frequently by refugees, human rights activists, opposition lawmakers and is even the subject of one official probe.
Malaysian television channels have also investigated and exposed the ‘sale’ of the Rohingya refugees on the Malaysia-Thai border, although they did not finger Malaysian officials for fear of reprisals.
A U.S. probe being conducted into the trafficking by the powerful Senate foreign relations committee has stimulated interest in the plight of Rohingyas when its findings are relayed to key U.S. enforcement agencies and Interpol for possible action, Senate officials have said.
‘’U.S. Senate foreign relations committee staff are reviewing reports of extortion and human trafficking from Burmese and other migrants in Malaysia, allegedly at the hands of Malaysia government officials,’’ a staff official told international news agencies in early January.
‘’The allegations include assertions that Burmese and other migrants – whether or not they have UNHCR documentation – are taken from Malaysian government detention facilities and transported to the Thailand-Malaysia border,’’ the official had said.
At the border, they alleged, ‘’money is demanded from them, or they are turned over to human traffickers in southern Thailand’’.
‘’If they pay, they return to Malaysia. If not, they are sold to traffickers,’’ the official said, adding that teams had visited Malaysia, Thailand and Burma to collect evidence on the human trade.
Some of the immigrants from Burma and other countries are refugees recognised by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) which has an office in Kuala Lumpur.
Since 1995, about 40,000 Rohingya refugees from Burma have been settled in the U.S., most of them after passing through Malaysia, while the emigration applications of thousands more have been rejected by third countries.
“They are left stranded, unable to return to Myanmar (official name for Burma) where they face certain persecution by the military regime and rejected from immigrating to third countries,” said opposition lawmaker Charles Santiago who has raised their plight in parliament. “They need urgent help and understanding of their plight,” he told IPS, urging Malaysia to sign U.N. refugee conventions and accord refugees due recognition. “We can no longer close our eyes to their plight.” ‘’We are trapped in a foreign country without papers and without recognition,’’ said Habibur Rahman, general secretary of the Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organisation Malaysia, an organisation that speaks for stateless Rohingyas in Malaysia. ‘’We have been looking for a way to escape this dilemma but without success,’’ he told IPS.
‘’We are denied citizenship and made stateless by the Myanmar military junta and persecuted and forced to flee to neighbouring countries like Thailand, Malaysia and Bangladesh,’’ he said.
The involvement of the U.S. Senate in the issue has upset Malaysian officials who have warned the U.S. to ‘’take their hands off’’ the country, saying such action violated Malaysian sovereignty.
However, Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi has asked the U.S. to pass on information pertaining to the allegations, saying the government does not tolerate extortion from migrants by officials.
‘’The U.S. authorities have evidence we would be very thankful for, if they can pass the information to us for investigation and appropriate action,’’ he told Bernama, the official news agency, on Jan. 15.
An upset foreign minister Rais Yatim told local media on Jan. 19 that the allegations were ‘’baseless, ridiculous and farfetched’’. 
‘’We are a civilised country. We are not living in barbaric times when people are sold off at the whims and fancies of people with power. It is certainly unfair of the U.S. Senate to accuse us of doing such outrageous things,’’ Yatim said.
================================================================================== Minister rejects human trafficking claims
Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar today acknowledged that many Burmese nationals have entered this country via the Malaysia-Thai border but denied that there is human trafficking.
Certain quarters had alleged that human trafficking activities involving Burmese nationals were going on in this country although they could not prove that they existed, he told reporters.
“Where did these foreigners get their information? They assume that they know more than we do.
“If there is proof, action can be taken. Don’t make wild accusations,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama.
The minister said the authorities in this country must always cooperate with their counterparts in the neighbouring country to ensure that there is no incursion by foreigners into this country while illegal immigrants should be repatriated.
“We have to see how they enter the country. If there is a jetty at Bukit Batu Puteh (in Perlis), we can solve a lot of problems. Some people smuggle in goods while some smuggle in human beings,” he said.
Syed Hamid said a jetty was needed to enable the Malaysian security forces to carry out more effective patrols in Bukit Batu Puteh, a coastal area near the border.‘Refugees for sale’The United States Senate is currently probing a ‘refugees for sale’ scam in which Malaysian immigration officials have been implicated.
Last week, opposition MP Charles Santiago called on the government not to brush aside this allegation.
Previously, said Santiago, the home minister had responded in ‘typical fashion’ in Parliament on the matter by announcing the formation of a special committee to investigate the claims.
As predicted, it was “found” that immigration officials were not involved in trafficking of the Burmese or other refugees.
This came despite testimonials to the contrary from numerous migrant rights’ non-governmental organisations as well as the victims themselves.
“Either Syed Hamid is naive enough to buy the story dished out by the Immigration Department, which had set-up a special team to investigate its own officers or he is desperate to ensure Malaysia does not receive bad press worldwide,” Santiago told Malaysiakini.
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News In Malay
Syed Hamid Nafi Warga Myanmar Diperas Ugut Di Sempadan.
KANGAR, 19 Jan (Bernama) -- Menteri Dalam Negeri Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar mengakui terdapat ramai warga Myanmar yang masuk ke negara ini melalui sempadan Malaysia-Thailand tetapi menafikan tuduhan kononnya mereka ini dijadikan bahan peras ugut oleh pegawai di Malaysia.Katanya mereka yang membuat tuduhan itu tidak dapat membuktikan perkara itu wujud."Orang luar dapat maklumat dari mana? Dia buat keputusan seolah-olah dia lebih tahu dari kita," katanya selepas melawat Ibu Pejabat Kontinjen Polis Perlis di sini, Isnin.Sebuah jawatankuasa Senat Amerika Syarikat sedang menyiasat dakwaan kononnya pendatang tanpa izin Myanmar yang ditahan di Malaysia dan kemudiannya dibawa semula ke sempadan, mengadu kononnya mereka diminta membayar sejumlah wang kepada pihak berkuasa. Jika mereka tidak dapat membayar, mereka diserahkan kepada sindiket penyeludup manusia di selatan Thailand.Sebelum ini, Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi meminta Amerika Syarikat menyalurkan maklumat berhubung dakwaan itu.Syed Hamid berkata sebuah jeti diperlukan bagi membolehkan kawalan lebih baik dijalankan di Bukit Batu Puteh di sini yang merupakan kawasan pinggir sempadan Malaysia-Thailand.Ditanya sama ada cadangan kerajaan mewujudkan pintu sempadan Malaysia-Thailand dengan kemudahan kompleks bersepadu Imigresen, Kastam dan Kurantina (CIQ) di Bukit Batu Puteh mampu mengawal kegiatan penyeludupan di kawasan itu, beliau berkata: "Saya tak tahu projek CIQ tu. Tak dapat maklumat."Pada awal tahun lalu, kerajaan negeri mengumumkan bahawa kerajaan pusat telah meluluskan peruntukan bagi membina lebuh raya sepanjang 4.5 kilometer menghubungkan Kuala Perlis dan Bukit Batu Puteh bernilai RM30 juta dan pembinaan CIQ bernilai lebih RM10 juta
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Pelarian Rohingya Dedah Cara Mereka Masuki Malaysia.
KULAIJAYA, 1 Mac (Bernama) -- Pelarian Rohingya di Malaysia mendedahkan bagaimana mereka membayar sejumlah wang kepada individu tertentu yang dipanggil agen di selatan Thailand untuk membawa mereka masuk ke negara ini secara haram menerusi sempadan di utara tanah air.

Menurut mereka, jumlah bayaran yang dikenakan oleh agen-agen terbabit terhadap golongan pelarian itu adalah berlainan, dengan bayaran sebanyak RM2,200 bagi orang dewasa dan RM1,000 untuk kanak-kanak.

Seorang pelarian Rohingya yang dikenali sebagai Nur Aishah Mohamad, 40, berkata, setibanya di selatan Thailand, kumpulan pelarian itu akan dikumpulkan di dalam kawasan hutan tebal berhampiran pekan seperti di Tak Bai dan Sadao.

"Kami akan tinggal di dalam hutan sambil diawasi dengan ketat oleh agen-agen. Kami tidur beralaskan plastik dan diberi sedikit makan serta minum, menunggu masa untuk dibawa masuk ke Malaysia," katanya yang memasuki negara ini bersama tiga orang anaknya berumur di antara empat hingga lapan tahun.

Beliau yang mendedahkan perkara itu kepada BERNAMA di dalam temuramah di sini baru-baru ini berkata, kehidupan di dalam hutan itu adalah amat teruk, selain kotor dan berbahaya.

"Binatang berbisa seperti ular dan lain-lain berada di mana-mana," kata Nur Aishah yang mendakwa membayar kira-kira RM5,000 kepada agen untuk membawa beliau dan tiga anaknya ke Malaysia secara haram.

Tiga anak beliau, Siti Nor Naha, lapan, Mohamad Yahya, lima, dan Siti Nor Safia, empat, yang juga cacat kini berada di negara ini.

Seorang lagi pelarian, Abu Shahid Ahmad, 33, pula berkata, agen-agen tersebut akan bertindak ganas terhadap mana-mana pelarian Rohingya yang gagal melunaskan bayaran untuk membawa mereka masuk ke Malaysia.

Abu Shahid yang membayar RM4,500 kepada agen bagi membawa beliau, isteri dan tiga anak mereka bukan sahaja mendakwa sering dipukul oleh agen, tetapi turut dipaksa meminta sedekah untuk memenuhi jumlah bayaran yang dikenakan oleh agen.

"Saya telah dipaksa untuk meminta sedekah di Kota Baharu selama dua minggu kerana duit (untuk dibayar pada agen) tidak mencukupi. Selama itu, isteri dan anak saya tinggal di hutan di selatan Thailand.

"Saya bersyukur, mereka tidak diapa-apakan oleh agen," kata Abu Shahid yang mendakwa ditahan oleh agen di satu kawasan hutan di Tak Bai.

Bagaimanapun, beliau berkata, apa yang dialaminya di tangan agen adalah tidak seberapa, berbanding kejadian menimpa dua lelaki Rohingya yang gagal melunaskan bayaran sebagaimana diminta oleh agen terbabit.

"Kedua-dua lelaki itu ditembak di depan mata saya dan mayat mereka dibawa ke suatu tempat di dalam hutan tebal itu oleh agen-agen terbabit," dakwanya sambil menambah, agen sanggup bertindak ganas untuk mendapatkan bayaran.

Presiden Pertubuhan Pro-Demokrasi Masyarakat islam Rohingya Islam (CRIPDO) Mustafa Kamal Abu Basir, 36, berkata, ramai di antara pelarian Rohingya yang gagal melunaskan bayaran kepada agen akan dijual kepada pemilik-pemilik kapal nelayan di selatan Thailand.

"Mereka akan bekerja di kapal nelayan itu sehingga menemui ajal. Mereka akan hidup selagi sihat untuk bekerja, jika jatuh sakit pemilik kapal akan ambil jalan mudah dengan menembak mati dan mayat mereka dihumban di lautan," katanya.

Beliau yang telah 25 tahun berada di Malaysia berkata, kisah-kisah menyayat hati itu adalah lumrah di kalangan bangsa Rohingya berikutan sikap masyarakat dunia yang tidak mengambil peduli tentang nasib mereka.

CRIPDO merupakan salah satu daripada beberapa pertubuhan yang ditubuhkan oleh pelarian Rohingya di sini untuk menjaga kebajikan kira-kira 15,000 pelarian bangsa itu yang berada di Malaysia pada ketika ini.

Mustafa Kamal berkata, pelarian Rohingya di Malaysia berasal dari wilayah Arakan, Myanmar yang meninggalkan negara itu berikutan kekejaman dan penindasan yang dilakukan oleh kerajaan tentera Yangon. Bernama
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Published: Monday July 20, 2009 MYT 8:21:00 PM
Five Immigration offices nabbed for human trafficking .
KUALA LUMPUR: Nine people, including five Johor Immigration Department officers, were arrested in several locations in the state since Friday, for alleged involvement in an international human trafficking syndicate.

The suspects were believed to have received payments from a syndicate for the 'sale' of a group of people, comprising mostly Rohingya refugees, as forced labour in various sectors like the fisheries industry.

Bukit Aman CID director Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Zinin said Monday the police had been monitoring the activities of the suspects, aged between 25 and 40, since March this year.

"According to a victim, the suspects were directly involved in human trafficking, starting from the Malaysia-Thai border to the rat trail believed to be their exit point to international countries.

"Upon reaching the exit point, the victims were handed over to a syndicate before being taken to a neighbouring country or sent back to Malaysia to work as forced labour," he told a press conference here.

The suspects have been remanded until Friday, and would be investigated under Section 13 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act 2007 which carries an imprisonment for a term which may extend to 20 years and fine, if convicted.

Bakri said the suspects were believed to have worked closely with the syndicate which had been active since last year, adding that the police were in the midst of tracking down syndicate members and their accomplices.

Last month, the United States put Malaysia back on its list of countries suspected of not doing enough to combat human trafficking, together with six African countries, namely Chad, Eritrea, Niger, Mauritania, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

In another development, Bakri said 772 foreign nationals and illegal immigrants were nabbed over the past four years, in connection with several rape cases.

For the first six months of this year, he said 134 foreigners and illegal immigrants were arrested for murder. - Bernama

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Five senior Johor Immigration Department officers Arested


POLICE have arrested nine people for alleged involvement in an international human trafficking ring. Five senior Johor Immigration Department officers were among those arrested. The suspects were believed to have received payment for the ‘'sale'' of Rohingya refugees, as forced labour in the fisheries industry.
Contacted by Malay Mail yesterday, Immigration Department director-general, Abdul Rahman Othman said he was unaware of the arrests. He maintained that the Immigration Department had set up internal investigations into the alleged involvement of its officers "We have always been cooperating with police to curb this problem. We have had our sights on officers at the Malaysian-Thailand border as we don't want this kind of act tarnishing our image," he said.
Bukit Aman CID director Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Mohd Zinin told the media yesterday that the arrests came about after police received a report in March about the possible involvement of immigration officers in human trafficking. Bakri said the suspects - aged between 25 and 40 - were arrested last Friday at various locations in Johor Bahru.
"Besides the five senior immigration enforcement officers, police also detained four others who were workingas drivers for the department." These suspects have allegedly been aiding a syndicate transporting immigrants- mostly Rohingyas from Myanmar - to the northern States of Peninsular Malaysia.
"The syndicate has been active for about a year," Bakri said.
He said that an immigrant would usually pay between RM300 and RM2,000 to the local syndicate to manage his entry via Perlis or Kelantan. "If the immigrants cannot pay the fees, they are forced into labour at some fishery operations."
The suspects are under police remand until July 24 and police are also pursuing other syndicate members.
"We have not ruled out the possibility that the suspects could also be involved in document forgery," Bakri said.
The crackdown against human trafficking was triggered by a stinging report by the US earlier this year that Malaysia was not doing enough to address human trafficking in the country.
The US State Department had, in its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, placed Malaysia with Zimbabwe, Cuba and North Korea, among others, on the list of worst offenders for human trafficking.
The TIP report also referred to another report by the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee three months ago, which accused Malaysian Immigration officers of selling Myanmar refugees for about US$200 (RM700) a person to traffickers operating along Thailand's southern border.
The Prosecution Unit head at the Attorney-General's Chambers, Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah, had then saiderrant immigration officers, in various locations in Peninsular Malaysia, face prosecution for their role in theactivity .
He had said investigations into their activities were ongoing and "it was just a matter of time" before they werehauled up.
===========================================================
UNHCR Urged To Expedite Relocation Of Rohingya Refugees.
By Mohd Haikal Mohd Isa KULAIJAYA, Feb 27 (Bernama) -- The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is urged to expedite the relocation process for about 15,000 Rohingya refugees in Malaysia to third countries.Community Rohingya Islam Pro-Democracy Organisation (CRIPDO) president, Mustafa Kamal Abu Basir said, the long-standing problem of resettlement for the refugees had persisted for years without a solution."We (Rohingya refugees) don't want to stay in Malaysia much longer. We have agreed to be relocated to other third countries willing to accept us."We ask that the UNHCR office in Kuala Lumpur find an immediate solution to our problem so that we and our children can start a new life," he told Bernama in an interview today.CRIPDO is one of several organisations formed by Rohingya refugees in Malaysia to care for the welfare of these refugees from Myanmar.According to Mustafa, the official number of Muslim Rohingya refugees in Malaysia was 15,000, but the real figure might exceed 21,000, including new arrivals in the country.He said the number of Rohingya refugees in the country was small compared to about two million in Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia, 150,000 in Thailand and hundreds of thousands in India and other middle-east countries.Although he was thankful for the concern shown by the Malaysian government, Mustafa said the refugees continued to experience various pressure while in this country."Rohingya refugees in Malaysia are not allowed to work and our children aren't allowed to go to school. How can we bear the costs of living if we don't work," he said.He said because of this, some of the refugees got involved in criminal and immoral activities to support their family.Their situation had become worse, he said, because the refugee card issued by the UNHCR office in Kuala Lumpur was not recognised by local authorities in Malaysia.Mustafa claimed that this had resulted in many of the Rohingya refugees to be detained by the authorities in illegal immigrants detention centres before being deported."We are refugees, not illegal immigrants. If we are sent back home we will be killed (by Myanmar military). Have pity on us," he said, adding that he had been arrested 18 times by Malaysian authorities during his 25 years in the country.He said the Rohingyas were an ethnic minority in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar. Home for them was a part of the Arakan state in the western reaches of the military-ruled Myanmar.Having been denied the rights as a Myanmar citizen, the Rohingya people in Arakan faced oppression and hardship including killings by the country's military regime, claimed Mustafa."This has caused thousands of Rohingyas in Arakan to flee by boat to Ranong or Mae Sot in Thailand, before starting their mainland journey to the Malaysian border," he said. Bernama
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Pelarian Rohingya tunggu permohonan dapatkan kad 1M13
19/03/2009 4:33pm
KULAIJAYA 19 Mac — Kira-kira 4,800 pelarian Rohingya yang berada di Malaysia masih tertunggu-tunggu dengan permohonan mendapatkan Kad IM13 yang dibuat tiga tahun lepas dengan Jabatan Imigresen.
Presiden Community Rohingya Islam Pro-Democracy Organisation (CRIPDO) Mustafa Kamal Abu Basir mendakwa permohonan beserta bayaran sebanyak RM90 untuk permohonan itu dibuat di Pusat Tahanan Imigresen, Sepang pada Ogos 2006.
“Di dalam tempoh dua minggu mulai 1 Ogos 2006, 4,800 daripada kami telah membuat bayaran terbabit di Pusat Tahanan Imigresen Sepang untuk mendapatkan Kad IM13 itu.
“Kini selepas tiga tahun dan bayaran sebanyak RM90, termasuk RM50 untuk bayaran ejen, kami masih tertunggu-tunggu sebarang berita tentang permohonan Kad IM13 itu,” katanya kepada Bernama dalam satu temuramah di sini, baru-baru ini.
Mustafa Kamal, yang mewakili pelarian Rohingya di Malaysia, mendakwa kumpulan terbabit membuat permohonan Kad IM13 itu selepas mendapat kelulusan daripada Bahagian Keselamatan Negara (BKN), Jabatan Perdana Menteri. - Bernama
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Pelarian Rohingya Mahu Kehidupan Baru Di Negara Ketiga.

Oleh Mohd Haikal Mohd IsaKULAIJAYA, 27 Feb (Bernama) -- Seramai 15,000 pelarian Rohingya yang kini berada di Malaysia memohon agar Suruhanjaya Tinggi Pelarian Pertubuhan Bangsa Bersatu (UNHCR) mempercepatkan proses penempatan mereka ke negara ketiga.Presiden Community Rohingya Islam Pro-Democracy Organisation (CRIPDO) Mustafa Kamal Abu Basir berkata masalah mengenai penempatan semula mereka telah berlanjutan bertahun-tahun tanpa penyelesaian."Kami tidak mahu tinggal lebih lama di Malaysia. Kami semua telah bersetuju mahu ditempatkan ke negara-negara ketiga yang sudi menerima kami."Kami meminta supaya pejabat UNHCR di Kuala Lumpur mencari penyelesaian segera terhadap masalah ini supaya kami dan anak-anak kami mendapat kehidupan yang baru," katanya kepada Bernama hari ini.CRIPDO merupakan satu daripada pertubuhan mewakili pelarian Rohingya di Malaysia dengan tujuan untuk menjaga kebajikan mereka yang berasal dari Myanmar.Menurut Mustafa, walaupun bilangan rasmi pelarian Rohingya beragama Islam di negara ini adalah 15,000 tetapi jumlah sebenar mungkin mencecah 21,000 termasuk "pelarian yang baru tiba".Bilangan itu, katanya, adalah kecil berbanding dua juta yang berada di Bangladesh dan Arab Saudi, 150,000 di Thailand dan ratusan ribu yang lain di India serta beberapa negara Timur Tengah.Walaupun menghargai keprihatinan kerajaan Malaysia terhadap penderitaan yang mereka alami, Mustafa berkata, pelarian Rohingya di neagra ini terus mengalami pelbagai "tekanan"."Pelarian Rohingya di Malaysia tidak dibenarkan bekerja untuk mencari rezeki manakala anak-anak kami pula tidak dibenarkan bersekolah. Bagaimana hendak menampung kehidupan jika tidak ada kerja," katanya.Disebabkan kesempitan itu, kata Mustafa, ada antara pelarian Rohingya di Malaysia telah terbabit dengan kegiatan jenayah dan tidak bermoral untuk menampung kehidupan keluarga.Beliau berkata kad pelarian yang diberikan kepada mereka oleh pejabat UNHCR di Kuala Lumpur tidak diiktiraf oleh pihak berkuasa negara ini.Kesannya, menurut Mustafa, ialah ramai pelarian Rohingya yang tinggal di Malaysia telah ditahan oleh pihak berkuasa sebelum dihantar pulang."Kami adalah pelarian dan bukan sesekali pendatang asing tanpa izin. Jikalau kami dihantar pulang, kami akan dibunuh. Kasihanilah kami," katanya.Mustafa berkata beliau sendiri telah ditahan sebanyak 18 kali oleh pihak berkuasa Malaysia sejak 25 tahun berada di negara ini.Bangsa Rohingya yang berasal dari sebuah kawasan bernama Arakan tidak diiktiraf sebagai warga negara Myanmar dan sebab itu mereka menghadapi pelbagai bentuk penindasan termasuk pembunuhan oleh rejim tentera negara itu."Kesannya, ribuan penduduk Rohingya di Arakan telah melarikan diri dengan belayar menggunakan bot nelayan ke Ranong atau Mae Sot di Thailand sebelum memulakan perjalanan darat ke sempadan Malaysia," kata Mustafa.
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US Senate beat Malaysia in acting on the 'corruption and refugee' allegations
There are many refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia today - FACT.

These refugees come mainly from Burma (Myanmar), Southern Thailand, Southern Philippines,...

Refugees normally just run for their life and liberty, and this means that many would have not left their country 'legally' or entered Malaysia "legally". Most will not even have passports.

How many refugees are there? Between 100,000 to 400,000...we really do not know.

Malaysia treats many of these refugees as undocumented migrant workers - but really they are not. They are refugees and asylum seekers, and they should be seen as such.


Remember Malaysia has 2.4 million documented migrant workers [and maybe another 3-5 million undocumented migrants]


The problem today is the UNHCR - who only registers refugees, and let them go. Where would they get money for food and board? Where would they stay? With the Vietnamese refugees in the 70s and 80s, there were UNHCR Refugee Camps where the refugees stay until they are sent to a third country...(or until they were sent back to Vietnam...)

UNHCR controls the branding of persons who are refugees - but alas, they too have their prejudices and politics.

I believe that the Malaysian Government should take on the role of giving recognition as refugees/asylum seekers. In fact, State Governments can also do so - maybe Pakatan Rakyat should start...

Of late, over and above the hardships that these migrants suffer - there was news about Malaysian officials involved in asking for money, and if not they will be 'sold' like slaves...Allegations have been made sometime ago - but alas, Malaysia have been slow to act, to investigate, to act against those errant officers, and put a stop to it.

Shame - shame Malaysia - for some US Senate Committee have looked into it before us - and have released a damning report...

It should have been SUHAKAM, some Parliamentary Select Committee, some Commission of Inquiry in Malaysia ....

Malaysia must now look into this and act against the perpetrators ...(but we may be hoping for too much, for Najib just appointed person/s found guilty for 'corruption' or corrupt practice into the UMNO Supreme Council. So serious was the wrong that the Disciplinary Committee did not stop at a stern warning but barred him from contesting for the No.2 post in UMNO.) ================================================================
US view on human trafficking in Msia ‘a fair account’
By SHAILA KOSHY
KUALA LUMPUR: The US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report 2009 that downgraded Malaysia to the Tier 3 Watch List is a fair account of Malaysia’s “limited efforts” in trying to stem human trafficking, says a human rights activist.
“It is especially true in relation to labour trafficking, which is a form of slavery.
“Civil society has brought up this problem many times in dialogues with Suhakam (the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia) and the Bar Council,” said Tenaganita director Dr Irene Fernandez.
“We have also had roundtable discussions with the government agencies but nothing has moved,” she said on Wednesday when asked to comment on the 324-page TIP report released in the United States on Tuesday that warned that those on the Watch List might face US sanctions.
Tier 3 countries are those whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.
Listed with Malaysia are Burma (Myanmar), Chad, Cuba, Eritrea, Fiji, Iran, Kuwait, Mauritania, the Republic of Niger, North Korea, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Zimbabwe.
The TIP Report states that, as a regional economic leader approaching developed nation status, Malaysia has the resources and government infrastructure to do more to stem the tide of human trafficking.
It adds there were no visible measures taken by the Government to reduce the demand for forced labour or for commercial sex acts.
“For the last 15 years we have cautioned that allowing employers to withhold a workers’ passports opens them to exploitation and bondage but this has not been addressed,” said Fernandez.
She added there was a lack of transparency in investigations, for example, in the sale of refugees along the Thai-Malaysia border.
“The Government is in a state of denial. It should have at least engaged with us since we released the report on the sale of refugees in December but it has not happened,” she said.
Hookers for SingaporeAmong the things Malaysia should do to improve its ranking would be to reform the recruiting and employment of migrant workers, better define their contracts and the structure of their employment clearly, said Fernandez.
“We also need to move in line with the standards set by the International Labour Organisation,” she said.
She confirmed the statement in the report that “some Malaysian women, primarily of Chinese ethnicity and from indigenous groups and rural areas, are trafficked abroad” to countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, France and Britain for “commercial sexual exploitation.”
“Yes, we know of Sabahan women who were trafficked to Singapore for commercial sexual exploitation but when we raised it with the Singaporean Government they told us it was not trafficking because prostitution was legalised there.
“There have also been cases of women from the hinterland in Sarawak being taken to the logging camps in the state for sexual exploitation,” she said.
A positive note for Malaysia in the report is the mention of Alice Nah under the section Heroes acting to end modern-day slavery.
Nah, who wrote about the trafficking of Myanmar refugees along the Malaysia-Thailand border, is a founding member of the Migration Working Group, a network of lawyers, academics, and volunteers focused on caring for, protecting and defending the rights of refugees and migrant workers who are especially vulnerable to becoming victims of forced labour.
In the main report and in the country narratives, Malaysia gets quite a lot of mention as a destination country and to a lesser extent as a source and transit country for either commercial sexual exploitation or forced labour (use ‘Malaysia’ as your search keyword).
Among the reasons for the downgrade from the Tier 2 Watch List were that the Malaysian government had:
*NOT fully addressed trafficking in persons issues, especially labour trafficking, although it took initial action under its Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act 2007, against sex trafficking;
*NOT arrested, prosecuted or convicted any immigration officials said to be involved in the trafficking and extorting of Myanmar refugees although the police and Prime Minister had confirmed there were investigations; and
*NOT developed mechanisms to screen effectively victims of trafficking from vulnerable groups.
Malaysia wants explanationIn an immediate response, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said Malaysia would get the United States to “explain” why the country has been downgraded, reports MAZWIN NIK ANIS from PUTRAJAYA.
He said officials would be visiting the US Embassy to “get the real picture” on why Malaysia was placed on the list again.
“We want to determine what is the offending act or non-action on our part that warranted Malaysia being blacklisted.
“It is incumbent on us to address the issue because we have a responsibility to the international community as far as human trafficking is concerned.
“In fact, Malaysia, Australia and Britain are exploring the possibility of having a tripartite agreement on human trafficking to show our commitment to dealing with the issue,” he told reporters after chairing his ministry’s post-Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
Last year, the report elevated Malaysia to a “watch list” from the 2007 blacklist after finding that it was “making significant efforts” to comply with standards.
Hishammuddin said while the Government would do “whatever possible” to curb human trafficking, he admitted there were limitations, especially with Malaysia’s “vast borders and long shorelines.”
“Nevertheless, with most agencies involved in this being under my ministry, we will make adjustments to curb the problem. But first, we need to find more from them why we have been blacklisted,” he said.
His deputy, Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusof, took a stronger stance, saying that Malaysia should not have been put on the list and that the US Government was “unjustified” in doing so.
“We’re denying that Malaysia should be put on the list of human trafficking countries. It is not justifiable,” he told reporters in the Parliament lobby, LOH FOON FONG and LESTER KONG report from KUALA LUMPUR.
Nonetheless, Abu Seman said his ministry would spearhead an inter-ministerial council to deal with human traffickers that use the country as a transit point.
The first Asean Inter-Parliamentary Assembly Caucus chairman Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (BN-Santubong) refuted the allegations that government officials were involved in human trafficking.

2 comments

  1. very interesting site..,Pls make some corrections 4 ur site... which may b becoz of no spelling check b4 publishing to make more interesting n standard.

    TQ..

     
  2. Some of the words i found which r different from standard English in ur site are-
    populer (popular), frend (friend), sosaity (society), ertanic (ethnic), etc.

    the word Malaysian means the citizen of Malaysia n it doesn't mean people in Malaysia so i think we need to find another word to name ur very interesting site to make clear meaning.

    lets work 4 betterment of the society.

    TQ ... wassalam.

     

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