PUTRAJAYA, Sept 20 — Minister in the Prime Ministers Department (Special Functions) Datuk Abdul Latiff Ahmad today said that he would bring up the job scam issue involving Malaysian victims abroad to Cabinet tomorrow.
He said this after chairing a meeting with several NGOs who have been pushing the government to step in, assist and safely bring Malaysian victims back home.
“The government takes this matter seriously as it involves Malaysia in what is being called modern slavery in Asean countries. The Prime Minister has asked me to look into the matter, and I would like to thank several NGOs led by Tan Sri Musa Hassan, and I will bring what we discussed together to the Cabinet tomorrow.
“The victims come from various ethnicities, but they are all Malaysian, and this has to be given attention and taken seriously,” he said in a press conference today.
Abdul Latiff also thanked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for taking the lead on the issue, as he said looking into this overseas job scam issue requires great teamwork and understanding because it involves dealing with other countries.
At the same time, the Bersatu minister urged those whose family members have fallen into these scams to come forward and lodge a police report so that they can be repatriated.
He said that only about half the cases have been reported to the police, making authorities unable to put an exact number of Malaysian victims who have fallen for the scam.
“I believe that this issue can be solved more holistically tomorrow when I bring this to Cabinet,” he said.
Abdul Latiff said that the governments of Cambodia and Laos have been cooperative with Malaysia's plea of assistance to bring back Malaysians stuck overseas, with Myanmar the only country currently putting up a wall in its efforts to repatriate Malaysian victims.
He added that there are currently 58 Malaysian victims in Myanmar as of today, primarily in Myawaddy, in southeastern Myanmar.
Joanna Lim, a family member of one of the victims pleaded with the government to implore its embassies in these Asean countries to reach out and protect Malaysian victims there.
“We are so sad now, as are the families of these victims, and we hope they can come back safely.
“God bless these children, we hope they come back safely because they are priceless, and I want to say that there should be no more slavery in this world because it's 2022,” she said.
She then joined Abdul Latiff's call to urge families of these victims to come forward and lodge reports to safely bring their loved ones home.
“I know there are a lot of parents and families out there, you are afraid, stuck and helpless. But if you are facing the same problems, please speak up, go to the police and report to them,” she said.
Datuk Hishamuddin Hashim, secretary general of the Malaysia International Humanitarian Organisation — one of the NGOs pushing for the government to get more involved in the issues — said that it is important for the Prime Minister to step in and take charge of this issue.
“This is what we want, because, based on our research, we do not see any solution without the involvement of government leaders.
“But I am confident, with the Prime Minister stepping in, in the spirit of Keluarga Malaysia, he can directly contact other heads of governments in Asean and discuss properly to find a solution to his issue,” he said.
Malaysian Community Crime Care (MCCC) president Tan Sri Musa Hassan thanked the government for taking this matter seriously in its efforts to rescue Malaysian victims of these scams.
The former inspector general of police said that he has already been in contact with Action Against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants (ATIPSOM) to get more information.
Yesterday, a group of non-governmental organisations sent a memorandum to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to seek the government’s assistance and intervention in the job scam issue abroad with Malaysians as the victims.
The memorandum was given to the prime minister’s political secretary, Khaizulnizam Mohamad Zuldin at the Perdana Putra building here with over 30 family members of the victims also present.