IID, as a Bangladeshi civil society organization working on migration and development, expresses deep concern over Malaysian government’s harassment of journalists and migrant workers following the broadcast of an investigative documentary published by the international media Al Jazeera about the mistreatment of migrant workers in Malaysia.
On Tuesday, it was reported that the Immigration Department of Malaysia issued a search warrant for the young Bangladeshi migrant Rayhan Kabir (25). He was recently interviewed by Al Jazeera for the investigative documentary titled “Locked up in Malaysia’s Lockdown”. The documentary, broadcasted on July 3 2020 as part of Al Jazeera’s “101 East” documentary strand, presented that the Malaysian government was discriminating against migrants during the epidemic through the Movement Control Order (MCO).
Shortly after the broadcasting of the documentary, the government of Malaysia embarked on a manhunt. The Immigration Department of Malaysia issued a search warrant for Rayhan Kabir, the local administration issued an order to seek his personal information along with a notice in the newspaper. Six media workers of Al Jazeera were also called to Malaysia Central Police Headquarters on July 10 for questioning. They are being investigated for alleged defamation and sedition by the Malaysian police.
Following these horrendous events, IID, along with 20 other Bangladeshi civil society organizations on migration and development, released a joint statement on 11th July stating the manhunt of Rayhan Kabir “a blatant attempt to muzzle freedom of the press and human rights abuse by the Malaysian authorities.”
Download the joint statement
In the joint statement IID mentions, “We’re concerned about the safety of this young Bangladeshi migrant.” The statement continues, “We want to make it clear that giving an interview to the media is not a crime and Rayhan Kabir did not commit any crime.”.”He is staying there legally, although the Malaysian authority has launched a manhunt as if he is a big criminal. We’ve learned that several Bangladeshis are also being harassed during this unethical manhunt”
IID thanked human rights organizations in Malaysia who stood by the expatriates and urged the lawyers, journalists and human rights activists there to keep an eye on the issue. IID also urged the Bangladesh High Commission of Malaysia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment (MoEWOE) in Dhaka and international organizations to take necessary actions in this regard. Finally IID called on the Malaysian government and law enforcement agencies to investigate the harassment of the expatriate workers in Malaysia which has been shown in the Report.
The joint statement was made by IID Migration Policy Unit, Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU), WARBE Development Foundation, BRAC, Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF), Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program (OKUP), Bangladesh Nari Sramik Kendro (BNSK), Human Rights Support Society (HRSS), Bangladeshi Ovhibashi Mohila Sramik Association (BOMSA), BASUG, INAFI Bangladesh, Karmojibi Nari, Bangladesh Nari Progati Sangha (BNPS), Devcom, IMA, Awaj Foundation, Rights Jessore, BILS, Bastob, Film for Peace Foundation and Migration News.