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KUALA LUMPUR: The contracts of errant sub-contractors who failed to pay foreign workers hired to build the RM800mil Istana Negara project here should be terminated, said Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng.

“The main contractor of the project should terminate the sub-contractors who failed to pay the foreign workers immediately,” said Lim.

Lim, who is also a lawyer, said that under the law the main contractor could dismiss errant sub-contractors who failed to ensure the welfare of the workers.

“By ignoring the workers, the main contractor is just as irresponsible as the sub-contractors,” said Lim, who had alerted The Star about the plight of the foreign workers.

The Star reported that hundreds of foreign workers at the construction site of the new palace had not been paid their wages for three months.

Concerned MP: Lim talking to some of the workers at the work site, inquiring mostly about their welfare.
The workers alleged that they were exploited because many of them did not have work permits.

Despite being asked by police to come forward and lodge a report about the harassment, many of the foreign workers had refused to do so for fear of being deported.

Other workers told The Star that they were being moved to another construction site in another state.
Meanwhile, Tenaganita president Irene Fernandez said it was understandable that the workers were fearful of losing their jobs.

“The main contractor must take responsibility and investigate the matter immediately,” she added.
Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Commissioner James Naya­gam expressed concern over the issue and said that Suhakam would not tolerate such abuse.

“It is the duty of the employer to ensure that the basic rights of their workers, such as wages, accommodation and rest days, are provided. I am embarrassed to hear of such things happening in Malaysia,” he said. The project’s main contractor, Maya Maju Sdn Bhd, said it was the responsibility of the sub-contractors to pay their workers.

In GEORGE TOWN, DAP chairman Karpal Singh said the Labour Department should investigate the matter and ensure that the foreign workers were paid their dues.

“There is something wrong with our system when workers are not being paid for the work they are doing, especially when foreign workers are involved.”


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