Joint Statement – Halt Hiring of Migrant Workers until Safety can be Ensured

We the undersigned civil society would like to express our condolences for the family and friends of Adelina Lisao and call for the Government of Malaysia to immediately implement the recommendations by the Migrant Workers Right to Redress Coalition by civil society on the protection of migrant workers.

The issue of domestic workers subjected to abuse by unconscionable and despicable employers have plagued Malaysia for the longest time. Prior to Adelina’s untimely demise, Malaysia has witnessed and heard incidences of severe abuse of domestic helpers from Indonesia and other neighbouring countries.

Beyond the plight suffered by domestic workers in Malaysia, migrant workers in other field of work such as construction has consistently suffered from disregard for occupational safety and health by their employers which has led to tragedies such as the KL Eco City bridge, the landslide at Tanjung Bungah and hundreds other unreported incidents around the country.

The unconscionable act by a selected group of Malaysians which is enabled by various government institution and agency not only jeopardizes the safety and lives of innocent migrant workers but contribute to the continued decline in respect for human dignity and human rights across the board. When can we learn to respect these migrant workers, who have come from far away and leaving their loved ones, to fulfil a labour need of our country?

It is well beyond the time for all of us – citizens, Government, its ministries and agencies of Malaysia to acknowledge some basic truths:

  1. We have no right to enslave anyone;
  2. We have no right to exploit the desperation brought on by poverty;
  3. We do not own the labour of another person;
  4. The Malaysian government is duty-bound to ensure no person, regardless of Immigration status, nationality, socio-economic status and gender, is in any form of slavery in this country;
  5. The work done by domestic workers is not as a favour to us, but it is work and she must be respected and accorded all rights as any other worker.

Therefore, we reiterate the calls that we have made numerous times that the rights of domestic workers must be brought through a legal framework, and that the Government agencies involved in the discourse of migrant rights must cease with its delay in implementing recommendations to better protect migrant workers in Malaysia and ensure that the tragedy of Adelina Lisao be one of its last in Malaysia.

To this end, we the undersigned civil society call for:

1)     Implement a moratorium on the hiring of migrant worker in critical areas such as those in domestic roles until the implementation of protection mechanism for migrant workers is carried out;

2)     Immediately adopt the recommendations by Right to Redress policy recommendations;

3)     The development of a timeline for implementation of above mentioned recommendations;

4)     For stern criminal action to be taken against employers and those who abuse their workers or neglect to account for their occupational safety and health and the dignity of migrant workers;

For more information, please contact Sevan at [email protected] or Adrian at [email protected]

Endorsed by:


Association of human rights defenders and promoters (HRDP) – Myanmar


Building and Wood Workers’ International

Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights (CENTRAL) – Cambodia

Christian Development Alternative (CDA), Bangladesh

Electronics Industry Employees Union Southern Region (EIEUSR)

Hoa Nguyen (Individual)

International Domestic Workers Federation

International Trade Union Confederation

Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Semenanjung Malaysia (JKOASM)

MALAYSIAN Election Observers Network

Malaysian Trades Union Congress

National Union of Bank Employees

North South Initiative

Parti Soisalis Malaysia

Persatuan Sahabat Wanita

Persatuan Komuniti Prihatin Selangor, KL & Perak endorse

Pusat Komas

Safety and Rights Society (SRS)

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)


Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy

Vietnamese Women for Human Rights

Yayasan LINTAS NUSA  Batam – Indonesia

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