Ministries Crack Down On Cheras Firm For Offering 93 Bangladeshis Jobs & Abandoning Them

The victims had reportedly paid up to RM20,000 to work in Malaysia.

Cover image via Sayuti Zainudin/Malay Mail & Andy Hall/Free Malaysia Today

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The Home Ministry and the Human Resources Ministry are taking legal action against a construction firm in Cheras for bringing 93 Bangladeshi men into the country and abandoning them without employment or proper housing

According to Malay Mail, the ministries launched an investigation into Pembinaan Ricoler Sdn Bhd, following media reports earlier this week about foreign workers left stranded without work or income since they were brought into the country in November 2023.

"The employer also failed to ensure the welfare of its workers in terms of accommodation and meals," said Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail and Human Resources Minister Steven Sim Chee Keong in a joint statement on Monday, 26 February.

The ministries have outlined six charges against the employer, including legal measures under the Passport Act 1966, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007, the Employment Act 1955, and the Employees' Minimum Standards of Housing, Accommodation, and Amenities Act 1990.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail chairing a joint meeting with Human Resources Minister Steven Sim Chee Keong in January 2024.

Image via Sayuti Zainudin/Malay Mail

The issue was first brought to light by migrant labour rights activist Andy Hall, who published photos and details about the dire conditions the foreign workers were left in

In a report by Free Malaysia Today, Hall said more than 100 Bangladeshi workers had paid recruitment fees of between RM19,500 and RM21,700 to work in Malaysia, where they were promised high-paying jobs and good living facilities.

However, they found themselves without work, their passports confiscated, and forced to live in a confined space with only one toilet to share among 100 of them since arriving in Malaysia.

Hall said they were only given inadequate food of mostly rice, lentils, and mashed potatoes for the last four months, and one worker claimed he was even starved for four days after asking for updates on his job situation.

According to Hall's report, they were also subjected to physical and verbal abuse, in addition to death threats.

The Home and Human Resources Ministers said the Bangladeshis have since been rescued and given immediate food and shelter

The rescued victims were also brought to the Immigration Department in Putrajaya for documentation before obtaining an interim protection order.

"Our ministries are issuing a stern warning to all employers who hire foreign workers to always maintain their welfare and to comply with the laws of the country," added the ministers.

Many Malaysians have also fallen victim to job scams after being lured in with the promise of a high-paying position:

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