Biweekly Human Rights Roundup

Modern Slavery in Malaysia, Challenge over Shariah Law, Rohingya Protection Report … Human Rights Round-up (29/05/2020)

1. Modern slavery in Malaysia

(The Star)


Tesco’s slavery review reports abuses in Malaysia. Among the 168 migrant workers interviewed, the allegations consist of: passport retention, unexplained and illegal wage reductions, heavy indebtedness to labour brokers in home country, and excessive overtime. 

Tesco has developed a plan, entailing detailed investigations of alleged abuses, setting up support lines and grievance mechanisms for agency workers and guidelines to ensure workers have access to passports whenever needed.

2. Constitutional challenge over Selangor’s Shariah law criminalizing unnatural sex

29 May 6
(Queer Lapis)


The Federal Court recently decided that it will hear a man’s constitutional challenge over a Selangor state law that makes it a Shariah offence to have unnatural sex, specifically on whether the Selangor state legislative assembly has the powers to enact this state law in the first place.

Check out Queer Lapis for more info!

3. Period Poverty and Covid-19

29 May 7
((Vimala Kanagaratnam  – Picture courtesy of Kotex Malaysia; The Star)


Social Marketer, Ms Kanagaratnam, and Kotex Malaysia have teamed up to provide 384 packs of sanitary pads to women and girls in need across the Klang Valley, including the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) zones.

Those from the B40 communities have benefited – due to COVID-19, many have either lost their income or had to rely on limited financial resources.

4. Private hospitals fined RM200,00 under Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011

29 May 4
(Free Malaysia Today)


The Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) was handed a RM200,000 compound fine for charging patients RM201.60 for 18 pieces of 3-ply face masks used by the nurses during treatment. It was RM11.20 for each mask, almost 10 times higher than the government’s ceiling price of RM1.50.

5. Myanmar submits first Rohingya protection report

29 May 8
(The International Court of Justice; The Irrawaddy)


Myanmar has submitted its first report to the ICJ on the measures it is taking to protect the Rohingya as required by a court order in January. 

Previously, the ICJ issued 4 urgent measures against Myanmar requiring it to comply with the UN Genocide convention and to report them, after Gambia filed a case against Myanmar.

6. Rohingya refugees yearn for Myanmar at Hari Raya

29 May 9
(Free Malaysia Today)


In Malaysia, the Rohingya get to freely celebrate Hari Raya, not only with festive food and visiting friends, but also colorful lights on the streets 

These are non-existent in Rakhine – regularly closed mosques, jailed relatives and police harassment are usual all year round, even during Ramadan.

Rahman, who has been in Malaysia for three years with his wife and two sons, said he is happy living in a Muslim-majority country and going to mosques unimpeded by the police, but he readily admits he would trade it all for a chance to return to Myanmar.

“Malaysia is helping us in a way no other country is, and I appreciate all the help we have received. But this is not our country and we are all just living here temporarily… Definitely, if we can go home, we will…,” he said.

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