Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
09KUALALUMPUR596
2009-07-17 10:06:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Kuala Lumpur
Cable title:  

INCREASED GOM RESPONSIVENESS ON TIP

Tags:  KTIP KCRM KWMN MY PGOV PHUM PREL SMIG 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO9968
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHKL #0596/01 1981006
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 171006Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY KUALA LUMPUR
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2994
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KUALA LUMPUR 000596 

SIPDIS

FOR EAP/MTS AND G/TIP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/17/2019
TAGS: KTIP KCRM KWMN MY PGOV PHUM PREL SMIG
SUBJECT: INCREASED GOM RESPONSIVENESS ON TIP

REF: KL 583

Classified By: ADCM Marrie Schaefer for reasons 1.4 b and d.

Summary
---------

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KUALA LUMPUR 000596

SIPDIS

FOR EAP/MTS AND G/TIP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/17/2019
TAGS: KTIP KCRM KWMN MY PGOV PHUM PREL SMIG
SUBJECT: INCREASED GOM RESPONSIVENESS ON TIP

REF: KL 583

Classified By: ADCM Marrie Schaefer for reasons 1.4 b and d.

Summary
--------------


1. (C) In recent weeks the GOM has shown notably increased
responsiveness on TIP issues. At a meeting with the
Ambassador on July 13 (reftel) , Attorney General Gani
reached out to us for assistance and active involvement,
extending an invitation for emboffs to sit in at an
unprecedented July 15 meeting between AGC officials, other
relevant GOM agencies, and, most notably, local NGOs, to
develop strategies for addressing TIP. This meeting
identified many obstacles to be overcome but also provided
evidence of sincere efforts by GOM officials to confront
these issues. Recent weeks have seen increased arrests in
TIP- related cases and the Prosecutor indicated that arrests
of numerous immigration officials are expected soon . End
summary.


2. (C) Comment. There is no doubt that in the wake of the
Tier 3 designation the GOM is making extensive efforts to
demonstrate a commitment to making progress on TIP
enforcement issues. Time will tell how well these
intentions will be implemented in terms of prosecutions of
officials , appropriate sentences and moves to identify and
assist victims as well as begin work on longer term goals.
We have made a priority to follow up and assist wherever
possible in this process . End comment.
Unprecedented Engagement with NGOs
-- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - -


3. (C) LEGAT and acting Polcouns were invited by the AGC to
attend as observers the first meeting of the "Legal
Committee of Anti-trafficking in Persons" at the Attorney
General,s Chambers (AGC) on July 15. The meeting was
chaired by Head Prosecutor Tun Majid, who stressed that this
committee did not supplant the cabinet-level National
Council for TIP issues, chaired by the DPM. Attendees
included representatives of the Police, Internal Security,
Immigration, Ministry for Women, Family and Community

Development, and most notably , two NGOs, Tenaganita and NCWO
(National Council of Women,s Organizations). This
constituted the GOM,s first engagement with NGOs on the TIP
issue at this level, and, as noted in Reftel, given the
GOM,s historical animosity toward NGOs such as Tenaganita,
constitutes a major breakthrough.

Shelters a Key Issue
-- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

4. (C) As Tun Majid indicated , a key ingredient of
successful prosecutions under TIP is provision of shelters
to securely house the victimized witnesses. The Women,s
Ministry has established shelters for vulnerable women and
children but the need to shelter men victims of labor
trafficking has not been addressed . In practice, because
they have no accommodation or means of support , men victims
of TIP are typically deported before they could provide
testimony in any prosecutions of traffickers. Majid noted a
plan for government quarters to be converted for this
purpose, currently awaiting approval from the Prime
Minister,s office and involving numerous bureaucratic and
financial issues . As the discussion progressed it became
clear that the red tape involved would significantly delay
the opening of government shelters for men . Majid stressed
that the government quarters could be a long term solution
but there was no time to wait for the bureaucratic processes
required-- more immediate action was needed if he was to
order that all cases involving foreign workers be prosecuted
under TIP.

5. (C) Majid asked if Tenaganita, which currently
operates shelters for women and children, could assist the
GOM in the meantime by opening shelters for men. Tenaganita
TIP coordinator Aegile Fernandez cautioned that much greater
numbers were involved in labor trafficking, that such
shelters would require government gazetting to provide the
necessary legal safeguards, and financing also would be an
issue. Majid said he could insure that Tenaganita would be
reimbursed by the government, and suggested that the
gazetting issue could be put off. Women,s Ministry
representatives seemed wary of such a solution, questioning
whether their protection officers could be responsible for
TIP victims being sheltered by non-government organizations
and adding that any decision on this matter has to come from
the National Council for TIP issues. Tun Majid expressed
confidence these obstacles could be overcome and asked for
responses on these issues in a week,s time.
Immigration an obstacle

KUALA LUMP 00000596 002 OF 002


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

6. (C) It was clear from the proceedings of this meeting
that lack of knowledge and the traditional approaches to
these issues by immigration officials were major obstacles
to progress on TIP enforcement. Immigration has targeted
only one link in the TIP chain-- the migrant laborer
victims-- for deportation and detention, but has not focused
on the employers or agencies involved. A frustrated Majid,
complaining that immigration officials were mired in
bureaucratic inertia regarding TIP, "ordered" the
representative from Immigration to ensure that this approach
be changed but the Immigration official argued that there was
no basis in law to go after the employers or agencies. The
NGO representatives pointed out that labor permits often were
not in name of actual workplace but in name of agencies and
frequently even some agency names were false. The
immigration representative conceded that there was no
monitoring of where the workers actually ended up. NGO
representatives stressed that unfortunately bringing in
foreign workers under false pretenses was a very lucrative
business, for agencies both here and in the source countries,
as well as for the factory managers. ((Note. Other embassy
sources also stress that the Malaysian foreign worker
recruitment agencies have good connections to ruling party
and GOM officials. End note)).
TIP Prosecutions-progress to date
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


7. (C) Majid said in regard to prosecutions under the TIP
law there were:
--16 pending trials.
--13 cases under investigation.
-7 cases that could not proceed due to victims unwilling to
testify.
-3 cases determined not to be trafficking.
-Some cases under state prosecution being done under the
normal penal code..
He said police investigations of immigration officials
involved in TIP currently were underway and he expected
results in the coming days.
KEITH