|Sunday Star 21st Aug 2011 Headline|
The figures available to date show that out of the 2 million or so foreign workers who have registered, more than half are illegal ones. We do not know exactly how many illegal foreign workers there are because the registration exercise is still on. Some may never register themselves. So, it may be possible that illegal foreign workers may be double or even triple the legal ones.
But why should the authorities be surprised? Malaysians already know that there are too many foreign workers around, legal or otherwise. You see them everywhere. In fact many Malaysians feel uncomfortable, even unsafe, with their presence.
On typical weekends, you see them congregating in large numbers especially in downtown Kuala Lumpur. Jalan Silang, for example is practically a Nepalese enclave. Even Chinatown, Petaling Street, has lost its Chinese character. The guys tending the stalls, including the eateries, are practically all foreigners.
And large numbers of foreigner workers, including Vietnamese, congregate at KLCC during weekends and public hoildays.
And in many apartment complexes you see them too, some of them making a nuisance of themselves.
This influx of foreign workers has led to what some claim is an increase in crime rate.
The question that ought to be asked now is whether we should in fact stop the inflow of foreign workers and instead find other ways to cut the costs of production and not just rely on cheap foreign labour.
And what have the authorities been doing if they are that surprised about there being more illegal than legal foreign workers here? Have they been sleeping on their job?
But what is even more disquieting is that there are claims that some of these foreigners have been given instant citizenship and that they have been registered to vote.
PasYouth, for example, has revealed suspicious irregularities in the Malaysian electoral roll. It has revealed for example that in Penang state alone, about 14,000 foreigners have been registered to vote. And out of these, 12,000 of them have no known country of origin!
There are also about several hundred voters aged 100 or above in Penang alone! Two of these are said to be 127 years of age and one of them is listed as having her place of residence as Pusat Serenti, a half-way house for drug addicts!
But what have the authorities done? PM Najib has proposed the formation of a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to look into the matter. But he quickly came out later to say that a general election might be called anytime. What is the use of having a PSC should a general election be called before the PSC can do its job? Is Najib sincere about the PSC especially when in announcing it he had said that he wouldn't want to be the PM if Barisan had won because of electoral irregularities.
And what has the Malaysian Election Commission done other than to maintain that the Malaysian electoral roll is accurate to 0.0000 something percentage. That is to say that out of the 12 million so registered voters there are only about 12 mistakes! A claim that had led a human rights lawyer to say that even her toes were laughing!