THE indiscriminate arrest of 1,200 Filipina workers on March 27, at the St John's Cathedral in Kuala Lumpur is indicative of the attitude of the Malaysian Government towards migrant labour. Its bad timing (conducting the arrests on Palm Sunday and in church premises) and the ruthless mishandling of workers was uncalled for.
These women migrant workers are victimised by conditions beyond their control. They have taken the risks of separation and the uncertainty of workers protection just to earn enough to support their families. They are the invisible yet valuable force in fuelling Malaysia's economic development. Historically, Malaysia has been dependent on migrant labour to mobilise its resources.
We urge all branches of government in Malaysia and in all receiving countries of migrant labour, to uphold the rights and welfare of workers rather than sanctioning discrimination and the dehumanising treatment of this sector of the labour force. Any of the women migrant workers still in custody in Malaysia should be unconditionally released. Protective labour laws for migrant workers must be implemented.
THE ASIAN MIGRANT CENTRE Kowloon