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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09KUALALUMPUR704 2009-08-19 09:31:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kuala Lumpur
Cable title:  

TIP: MALAYSIA TIER 3 REASSESSMENT

Tags:   PGOV PHUM KTIP ELAB SMIG MY 
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VZCZCXRO6017
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHKL #0704/01 2310931
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 190931Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY KUALA LUMPUR
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3133
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KUALA LUMPUR 000704 

SIPDIS

FOR G/TIP, G-ACBLANK, EAP/MTS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/19/2019
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KTIP ELAB SMIG MY
SUBJECT: TIP: MALAYSIA TIER 3 REASSESSMENT

REF: A. KL 521: DCM PRESENTS TIP ACTION PLAN TO GOM

B. STATE 81476: TIP REASSESSMENT FOR TIER 3 COUNTRIES

C. KL 583: ATTORNEY GENERAL ON TIP ENGAGEMENT

D. KL 600: ARRESTS OF IMMIGRATION OFFICIALS

E. KL 596: INCREASED GOM RESPONSIVENESS ON TIP

F. KL 632: TIP: GOM INTENSIFIES PUBLIC EDUCATION

G. KL 652: TIP UPDATE

Classified By: Ambassador James R. Keith for reasons 1.4 b and d.



1. (C) SUMMARY/INTRODUCTION: During June-August 2009, the
Government of Malaysia (GOM) made significant efforts toward
implementing the June 26 Action Plan on human trafficking
(ref A). Prime Minister Najib, who took office in April
2009, has established a National Council for Trafficking in
Persons (TIP) Issues charged with developing a National
Action Plan for TIP and has conveyed a strong sense of
importance and urgency to his government and the public about
addressing human trafficking. GOM reaction to our Tier 3
designation on June 15 has been unprecedentedly constructive,
with senior level officials across agencies making themselves
available to the Ambassador and USG officials for substantive
discussions on what are for the Malaysians internally
sensitive issues. The Home Minister, with jurisdiction over
the Police and Immigration, Attorney General and others have
made clear both in meetings with USG officials, public
statements and through arrests of GOM officials implicated in
refugee trafficking that combating trafficking in persons
(TIP) is a priority, setting a new tone on the issue. While
the GOM still has work to do to fully implement the Action
Plan, especially in the area of labor trafficking, there is
forward momentum that justifies reassessing Malaysia to Tier
2 Watch List now. Our overriding priority is to maintain
current GOM momentum on TIP and an effective way to
accomplish this would be to recognize the PM and his
government,s positive performance to date by upgrading
Malaysia to Tier 2 Watch List. If Malaysia were upgraded,
the Embassy would deliver to Malaysian authorities a clear
message that if progress in key areas of the action plan is
not sustained and expanded, redesignation to Tier 3 in 2010
would be a given. We believe this would be the most
effective means of maximizing our leverage with the Tier 3
designation. This message responds to ref B tasking and is
queued to our action plan and GOM efforts to respond to that.
END SUMMARY/INTRODUCTION.

Action Plan: GOM Efforts to Implement


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





2. (C) TRAFFICKING OF BURMESE REFUGEES: In July, Attorney
General Abdul Gani Patail assured the Ambassador that
Malaysian officials involved in Burmese refugee trafficking
would be investigated and prosecuted (ref C). On July 20,
the GOM announced the arrest of five immigration officials,
and four other persons, under Malaysia's Trafficking in
Persons Act (ref D). The suspects, alleged to have brought
Burmese Rohingya migrants from government detention centers
to the Malaysia-Thai border where they were forced to pay a
fee or be trafficked, along the lines described in the April
2009 Senate Foreign Relations Committee Report "Trafficking
and Extortion of Burmese Migrants in Malaysia and Southern
Thailand," are being investigated under Section 13 of the
Act, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years and a fine.
Sending a message to civil servants, Deputy Home Minister
Abu Seman Yusop told an ASEAN group of judges in July that
"Malaysia will not hesitate to act against human traffickers
whether they are government officers or not." NGO contacts
told us in early August that trafficking of Burmese refugees
to the Malaysia-Thai border had declined recently. The GOM
announced in August that immigration officials in contact
with refugees would be rotated regularly, and has indicated
that refugees are no longer subject to trafficking to the
Malaysia-Thai border.



3. (C) LABOR TRAFFICKING: GOM officials acknowledge that
they need to make progress on preventing and prosecuting
labor trafficking, citing difficulties in identifying both
victims -- many of whom are migrants who entered Malaysia
willingly but may have later ended up in forced labor -- and
perpetrators. By force of habit, most labor-related
prosecutions continue to be under labor law rather than
Malaysia's new TIP law. For example, cases that could be
considered as labor trafficking have so far been dealt with
as violations of an employment contract. In contrast, the
head of the Police Criminal Investigation Division Mohd Bakri
Zinin told us in July, police had launched 53 investigations
for alleged sex trafficking since the Malaysian TIP law was
fully implemented in March 2008. In a July 15 GOM
interagency meeting -- which the Attorney General invited
Embassy officers and NGO representatives to attend -- Chief
Prosecutor Tun Majid expressed frustration about bureaucratic

KUALA LUMP 00000704 002 OF 002


obstacles that were delaying the effort to address labor
trafficking, such as what immigration officials said was the
lack of legal basis to target employers. He also called on
colleagues to overcome bureaucratic obstacles -- such as the
fact that the Women's Ministry has responsibility for
shelters but has no mandate to shelter men -- so that a
shelter for male victims of labor trafficking could be
established.



4. (C) ANTI-TRAFFICKING AWARENESS CAMPAIGN/IDENTIFYING
VICTIMS: Since June, the state-controlled Malaysian media
has featured the GOM's focus on TIP with articles such as one
in June headlined "Enforcement Agencies Serious in Combating
Human Trafficking" (ref F) and one in July quoting Deputy
Public Prosecutor Mohd Dasuki Mokhtar asking courts to deny
bail in trafficking cases. On July 26, the "Star" newspaper,
owned by one of Malaysia's governing coalition of parties,
carried three articles focusing on trafficking in one
edition. A "New Straits Times" editorial on July 28 praised
the July 20 arrests of immigration officials on human
trafficking charges, noting that there had been "a
conspicuous absence of such cases in the past." On August 2,
the "Star" published a TIP-related interview with the
Ambassador in its entirety. Although such articles are no
substitute for credible anti-TIP law enforcement, they are
important in the Malaysian context where awareness of
trafficking in persons is still low. To aid in identifying
trafficking victims, the GOM announced in July that it would
distribute a 10-language pamphlet aboard flights bound for
Malaysia that lists ways to spot victims of labor
trafficking, such as not having an official offer of
employment; the Embassy will provide a sample to the G-TIP
office. In the international context, Foreign Minister
Anifah Aman told Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) fellow ministers
at a July meeting in Egypt that Malaysia regarded "human
trafficking very seriously and remains firm and consistent in
taking decisive action in order to address this problem."



5. (C) TRAINING OF LAW ENFORCEMENT/COOPERATION WITH USG:
Deputy Minister Abu Seman, whose Home Ministry has the lead
on anti-TIP efforts by virtue of its supervision of the
Police and Immigration Departments, sought out the DCM in
June to explain that the GOM wanted to work constructively
with the USG in addressing the TIP issue and to request U.S.
training and technical assistance (ref A). On August 5, as
part of the three-day GOM TIP training seminar, an Embassy
officer with prosecution experience presented the U.S.
perspective on TIP to a group of prosecutors, who asked
probing questions about topics such as victims' reluctance to
testify (ref G). GOM officials are eager for more anti-TIP
training. DOJ/OPDAT and other training opportunities are
pending.
KEITH