Over 50 Indian workers stranded in Malaysia after being cheated

February 27th, 2009 - 1:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 27 (IANS) Over 50 workers from India are stranded here, with 43 of them being detained for overstaying, after their Malaysian agent purportedly cheated them.
They were also prevented from lodging a complaint with the Indian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur.

The workers said their employment agent failed to send them home after their work permits expired seven months ago, a media report said Friday.

The agent also allegedly did not pay their last drawn salaries amounting to about $14,000.

After eight of the workers lodged a report with Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC), its secretary-general G. Rajasekaran sent a letter Monday informing the immigration department of the plight of the workers.

He said the Indians worked in a factory in Johor Baru between July 2005 and July 2008. The employment agent was to have sent them home after their three-year contract came to an end.

Instead, they were asked to continue working until December last year, but their work permits were not renewed, The Star newspaper said.

“The salary due to them, amounting to RM43,350 ($11,790), has also not been paid and their passports were seized,” Rajasekaran told reporters.

The workers decided to lodge a complaint with the Indian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur.

However, the bus they were travelling in was intercepted by the police in Muar Jan 17.

Forty-three of them were arrested and handed over to the immigration department that detained them.

While in detention, the workers were asked to hand over large sums, purportedly for airfare to send them home.

“Those without cash were forced to hand over their bank savings books,” Rajasekaran said.

He added that MTUC was giving the immigration department one week to take action against the employment agent, failing which reports would be lodged with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the police.

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