Malaysia: Court to rule whether an undocumented migrant worker has right to claim unpaid wages

Author: Free Malaysia Today, Published on: 9 March 2019

"Undocumented maid takes complaint on unpaid wages to High Court", 6 March 2019

The High Court in Shah Alam will rule...on whether an undocumented migrant worker without a work visa has the right to claim unpaid wages, a first for the court in such matters.

However, it will seek clarification from Wisma Putra and the human resources ministry as to whether Malaysia is a party to the ILO Migration for Employment Convention and Migrant Workers Convention before delivering its decision....

...The NGO, which champions the plight of migrant workers, was referring to an appeal filed by an Indonesian maid whose salary was withheld by her employer for almost five years.

...However, a labour officer who heard the case declined to act on Nona's complaint on grounds that she did not have a valid work permit.

...[T]he tribunal ruled that without a work permit, all transactions or actions carried out by an undocumented worker are invalid and the complainant cannot make a claim.

...Joseph Paul from Tenaganita, who is managing Nona's case, said the Employment Act provides the right to redress for all employees regardless of immigration status.

"The Immigration Act should not have overriding authority to be used to deprive a worker of her wages for work that has been done," he said.

He said the Federal Constitution also provides that all persons are entitled to basic human rights, including the right to life and livelihood.

"This applies to all persons in the country and does not discriminate against those who are undocumented," he added.

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