Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Malaysia bans recruitment of Indian workers after unrest by ethnic Indians

Malaysia bans recruitment of Indian workers after unrest by ethnic Indians
1 hour ago
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Malaysia has frozen the recruitment of Indian workers, including temple priests, sculptors and musicians, an official said Tuesday, in a move apparently linked to unrest by Malaysia's ethnic Indians.
The decision, made by the Cabinet on Dec. 18, became public the day India's Defense Minister A.K. Antony ended a three-day visit, which both sides hailed as a boost to rapidly growing bilateral relations, including military links.
The decision was not conveyed to Antony during his talks with Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak and Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar, and apparently caught the Indian High Commission by surprise.
The Cabinet decision was made Dec. 18, but was not officially announced. It was confirmed by a Home Ministry official only when reporters called for clarification on a statement by a religious group that Indian temple workers were being denied permission to work in Malaysia.
An Indian High Commission official said the mission is in touch with the "authorities concerned on the reported circular." The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity citing protocol, did not elaborate.
The Home Ministry official said Indian workers who are already in the country will be allowed to carry on, but their permits will not be renewed.
He said the ban is related to a recent unrest by the country's minority ethnic Indians, who are demanding racial equality in the Muslim majority country. The official also spoke on condition of anonymity, citing protocol.
About 140,000 Indians from India work in Malaysia, constituting the third largest foreign work force. Most work in low-paying jobs as waiters, barbers and gardeners. however, some hold top professional posts in banks and information technology industries.
The ban did not specify whether professionals were also included, but the order is believed to cover all categories of workers from India, the Home Ministry official said.
He said the three categories of Hindu temple workers were specifically mentioned in the order because some of them were believed to have fanned emotional anger in the local Indian community through their sermons and support.
About 20,000 ethnic Indians, most of whom are Hindus, demonstrated on the streets on Nov. 25 in a rare and open challenge to the government. Subsequently, the government arrested the top five leaders of the group that organized the protest, the Hindu Rights Action Force.
They are currently being held under a law that allows indefinite detention without trial.
Home Affairs Minister Radzi Sheikh Ahmad couldn't be reached for comment.
Ethnic Indians in Malaysia say they face discrimination in jobs, education and business because of an affirmative action program for the majority Malays, who are Muslims. The Indian also say their religious rights are being trampled by Islamic officials.
Malays form about 60 per cent of Malaysia's 27 million people while ethnic Indians make up eight per cent.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Malaysia has indeed instituitionalised apartheid against Indians and more than one state policy is its evidence as is experience of Indians who have lived there. If they dont want our workers let them also not have our tourists. Government of India as a policy had banned travel by Indians to South Africa until that country changed its policy. Malaysians must be subjected to similar denial in a swift and sure move. It is time that we as a Nation assert our pride at our own initiative and not wait for international community's lead.


Naveen Sood

RE: Apartheid in Malaysia

Dear Editor,

Even during my brief professional stint in Kuala Lumpur, it soon became evident that ethnic Indians were subjected to discrimination. It is indeed a "colour" issue. In Malay mind, Indians are "dark skinned". North Indians including Sikhs do OK and that's why there are no barbs like "Pakis". Whites, yellows, and light browns is indeed the prevalent pecking order. Malaysia has acquired the veneer of a "first world" country as a stated national goal and while declaring ethinc cleansing would be politically disastorous, discouarging darker shades to surface is certainly on, in a country conditioned by colonisation and currently emulating Arab model of native nepotism.

The best way to urge Malaysians to introspect and "right" the wrongs is to boycott tourism to the country. Jago India, Jago !!. Indian passports were specifically stamped to prohibit travel to South Africa, to support the same cause. Malaysia, too, is practising apartheid.

Naveen Sood