Detention in Cambodia a scam case — Wan Junaidi

Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Feb 10: Santubong MP Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar has asserted that as Cambodia is not financially superior to Malaysia, the job offer involving the 47 Malaysians being detained in a provincial prison is an obvious scam and not that of illegal immigration.

Wan Junaidi argued that illegal immigration would only occur when the country involved offers better financial opportunities, which Cambodia clearly does not.

“In the case of the 47 Malaysians, no way we can say that Cambodia could give better opportunities than Malaysia, including opportunities in Sarawak.

“Cambodia is certainly not the country that could give better offers than Malaysia or Sarawak. It is clearly a scam if one is more careful to scrutinise the truth of offer,” Wan Junaidi told DayakDaily today.

He said human trafficking was an international phenomenon and good local laws alone would not be able to solve the problem.

“Though I agree that several amendments need to be made to Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007 (Act 2007), harsh and severe punishment is not sufficient.

“Our Act 2007 is something done in a hurry because Malaysia was dropped to Tier 3 of the Watch List by the United States Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report in 2007. Two to three amendments were made since then, but it was deemed not adequate.”

Wan Junaidi, who was once Deputy Home Affairs Minister, said it was not easy to create a comprehensive anti-trafficking law as it involved the whole system of care, training, repatriation, sanctuary and even employment and reemployment.

“These would involve amendments to other legislation like immigration, Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and even the welfare rules and system.”

He opined that for Malaysia to have a comprehensive anti-trafficking law, the Home Minister ought to take the lead and other ministries, such as Women and Family Development, Local Government, and International Trade, must lend their support.

On the US’ rating of Malaysia in terms of anti-trafficking, he said the rating did not reflect the reality of the situation in Malaysia because employers in Malaysia breached many accepted international practices.

“For example, the prohibition against keeping passports of the employees and employing a person below 17 years in traditional local businesses is looked at with disdain by the rating agency.

“This is compounded by the lack of interaction, discussion and consultation between Malaysian authorities with the concerned US agencies and the United Nations Representatives.

“So, the US and UN representatives are relying on the NGO’s report, which is generally emotional, biased and one-sided.”

On regional co-operation, Wan Junaidi pointed out that strategic enforcement had not really been effective because the close working relationship was not well developed among Asean countries.

“For example, the Wang Kelian mass graves were the result of mass migration of the Rohingyas through Thailand to Malaysia, where the Rohingyas refused to settle in Thailand because of religious beliefs and practices. They wanted to come to Malaysia.

“To effectively manage trans-boundary human trafficking activities, there must be a strong enforcement relationship and understanding between Asean countries on enforcement.”

Citing the case of the 47 Malaysians being detained in Cambodia, he said the case was another good example that if Asean law enforcement had been well coordinated and harmonised, this case would have been easily settled and solved.

“Under Act 2007 of Malaysia, once a person is proven to have entered the country against his/her will, he or she should no longer be treated as an illegal immigrant. This is the guideline given by the UN Convention on Trans-border Crimes, which most Asean countries are signatory too.

“I was the chairman of an Asean Caucus for the Harmonisation of Laws in 2008, but I could not complete my work due to bureaucratic hurdles at the Asean Secretariat and lack of positive response by the Asean heads of government.

“Thus, our effort to harmonise some of the critical legislation met its demise when I became the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs. Now, obviously the Caucus has been disbanded, nothing is heard any more of it.” — DayakDaily