KUALA LUMPUR, July 25 — A motion to debate Malaysia’s Tier 3 ranking in the US State Department’s annual human trafficking report for the second year running was shot down by Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Azhar Azizan Harun today.
Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Rashid Hasnon told Parliament that the motion — put forward by Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim — was denied by Azhar in a written notice to Sim, who put forward the motion under Standing Order 18(1) to seek leave to discuss a matter of urgent public importance.
“As you mentioned, the Speaker has replied to you and rejected the motion. If you are not satisfied, you can file an appeal,” Rashid said in Parliament today.
Sim said that he had submitted a notice in writing to the Speaker’s Office to debate the matter, but was denied by Azhar on the basis that he did not provide enough evidence to show that it is of public interest and importance.
“Before I close my motion, this Tier 3 ranking does not just tarnish the Malaysia’s image as a country that has a human trafficking industry. It is an industry that is evil and inhumane, and brings major economic and social implications.
“A lot of countries that supply workers have stopped sending them, to the point the country has an employment issue. Just last week this Parliament heard that the national palm plantation industry made a loss of RM10.4 billion in the first five months.
“This is time bomb that could be very dangerous for the rakyat, so I feel that it is important for us to debate because its two years in a row that we are in Tier 3. This means the government has done nothing to improve this,” he said.
On July 20, the US State Department’s annual human trafficking report said the government did not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so, even considering the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the country’s anti-trafficking capacity.
Malaysia was placed on the Tier 2 Watchlist from 2018 to 2020 before dropping to Tier 3, the lowest tier, last year.
The US State Department places each country into one of three tiers based on the extent of government action to combat trafficking and on the size of the problem.
A Tier 1 ranking indicates that a government has acknowledged the existence of human trafficking and has made efforts to address the problem. Tier 2 countries are those whose governments do not fully comply with the US Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.
Tier 3 countries are those whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.