Lawyers for Liberty: Asking migrant workers to wear identification wristbands evokes ‘memories of Nazism’

Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) has decried Putrajaya’s policy that requires migrant workers to wear identification wristbands. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) has decried Putrajaya’s policy that requires migrant workers to wear identification wristbands. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 19 — Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) has decried Putrajaya’s policy that requires migrant workers to wear identification wristbands, saying it “legalises prejudicial profiling”. 

Yesterday, Senior Minister (Security) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob stated during his daily recovery movement control order (RMCO) press briefing that the wristbands would make it easier to identify migrant workers and monitor their movements.

“This chilling suggestion essentially means that the government is legalising or formalising prejudicial profiling under the pretext of combating Covid-19.

“Such forced identification marks upon certain segments of the population raises disturbing memories of Nazism,” the NGO said in a statement released today.

LFL, in the same statement, went on to say that this not only makes migrant workers an easy target for possible harassment by the authorities, but also susceptible to discrimination by the general public.

“The government is incentivising xenophobic behaviour by again perpetuating fear-mongering that migrants are the cause for rising Covid-19 infection.

“Migrants cannot be blamed for a worldwide pandemic,” the statement added, before reiterating that no data suggests Covid-19 originates from migrant workers.

Instead, the legal group called on the government to take action against employers or agents who force migrants to stay in cramped places, as this has been proven to be a primary cause of the spread of Covid-19 infection, and improve enforcement of the current law.

“The government should take necessary and immediate steps to ramp up enforcement on employers who are in breach of the newly amended Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990,” the statement read.

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