Umum risau setiap hari semakin ramai pekerja yang terpaksa diberhentikan sama ada akibat penutupan tempat kerja ataupun tindakan majikan mengurangkan jumlah pekerja demi menyelamatkan perniagaan mereka.
Di era pandemik COVID-19, kita dapat melihat fenomena yang sama berlaku di seluruh dunia. Berjuta orang yang telah hilang pekerjaan.
Turut dirisaukan juga adalah kemungkinan meningkatnya kadar jenayah berikutan penambahan jumlah penganggur yang mendadak. Hakikatnya, kadar jenayah adalah semakin menurun.
Kadar pengangguran terkini setakat suku ketga tahun ini ialah 4.6 peratus dari jumlah pekerja. Menurut Jabatan Perangkaan Malaysia, jumlah pekerjaan dalam sektor swasta menurun sebanyak 181,000 menjadikan jumlah pekerjaan sektor swata sebanyak 8.47 juta berbanding suku ketiga 2019. Dari angka tersebut, 97.9 peratus jawatan telah diisi manakala 2.1 peratus masih kosong.
Ini bermakna, masih terdapat 179,000 kekosongan jawatan untuk pekerjaan separa-mahir manakala 21,000 pekerjaan baharu telah wujud untuk pekerja tanpa kemahiran. 100,000 kekosongan masih ada dalam sektor perkilangan.
Apa yang diperlukan hanyalah kesanggupan rakyat Malaysia yang telah kehilangan pekerjaan untuk mengkalibrasikan kemahiran mereka untuk menceburi bidang baharu.
Apa yang dapat kita lihat sejak bermulanya PKP pada 18 Mac 2020 ialah betapa ramainya para pekerja berkemahiran tinggi yang telah menyesuaikan diri dengan menjalankan perniagaan dan pekerjaan baharu seperti menjadi rider penghantar, taukeh tauhu bergedil yang berniaga dari rumah, dan menjalankan perniagaan detailing kereta dari rumah ke rumah.
Pengarah Jabatan Siasatan Jenayah PDRM dalam satu kenyataan mengenai penularan trend jenayah ragut berkata kes jenayah yang dilaporkan bagi tempoh dari 1 Januari 2020 hingga 15 November 2020 ialah sebanyak 56,117 kes berbanding 72,836 kes dalam tempoh yang sama tahun lepas. Ini bermakna jumlah keseluruhan kes jenayah telah menurun sebanyak 16,719 kes atau 23 peratus.
Bagi jenayah ragut pula, sebanyak 1,160 kes telah dilaporkan dalam tempoh yang sama berbanding 2,216 kes dalam tempoh yang sama tahun lepas. Ini menunjukkan penurunan sebanyak 1,056 kes atau 47.65 peratus berbanding tahun lepas.
Sama ada ianya berhubung kait dengan penurunan kadar jenayah secara langsung ataupun tidak, Jabatan Imigresen Malaysia (JIM) tahun ini setakat 2 November 2020 telah membuat pengusiran terkumpul Pendatang Asing Tanpa Izin (PATI) seramai 30,452 orang.
Tahun lepas sahaja telah menyaksikan seramai 192,260 orang PATI yang telah tampil untuk menyertai program ‘Back For Good.’ Jumlah kompaun yang telah diperolehi kerajaan ialah sebanyak RM134.6 juta.
Kerajaan, melalui inisiatif Rekalibrasi Pulang yang diumumkan oleh YB Menteri Dalam Negeri baru-baru ini, lebih ramai PATI dijangka akan tampil kehadapan untuk pulang ke negara asal mereka. Lebih baik juga bagi mereka kerana mereka akan menjalani saringan COVID-19 terlebih dahulu. Ini sekaligus menangkis tanggapan bahawa kerajaan tidak prihatin terhadap PATI yang dicanang oleh pihak-pihak tidak bertanggung jawab.
Inisiatif-inisiatif lain seperti Ops Benteng, Ops Kuda Laut dan lain-lain juga telah banyak membantu. Sebagai contoh, bagi tempoh 1 Januari 2020 hingga 21 Ogos 2020, Agensi Penguatkuasaan Maritim Malaysia (APMM) telah membuat sebanyak 127,930 pemeriksaan, 18,731 penggeledehan dan 565 tangkapan. Bagi tempoh tersebut, hasil denda, lelong dan nilaian kompaun adalah sebanyak RM11.12 juta.
Kita tidaklah mengatakan bahawa rakyat Malaysia langsung tidak terlibat dalam perbuatan jenayah ataupun menyalahkan PATI semata-mata di atas jenayah-jenayah yang telah berlaku, tetapi kita harus berfikir secara rasional dan melihat ‘the big picture’ sebelum membuat sebarang andaian.
Berlaku adillah terhadap barisan hadapan kita yang bukan sahaja bersengkang mata untuk menjaga keselamatan kita, tetapi juga terdedah kepada bahaya seperti virus COVID-19 semasa menjalankan tugas. Janganlah kerana satu kes maka diperbesarkan seolah-olah negara ini tidak lagi selamat untuk didiami.
IN light of the difficulties in obtaining manpower by employers in this pandemic era, the government has announced a programme to recalibrate undocumented immigrants in order to make them legal for employment.
This was announced by the Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin at his Ministry yesterday, after a meeting with the Minister for Human Resources Datuk Seri M Saravanan.
The recalibration programme that will be implemented from Nov 16 2020 through June 30 2021, will consist of two components; one which allows undocumented immigrants to register themselves to be employed in the four 3-D (Dirty, Dangerous and Difficult) sectors namely construction, manufacturing, plantation and agriculture, while the other allows them to return to their respective countries.
When asked about the difference compared to the previous amnesty programmes Hamzah stressed that this programme does not involve third-party vendors.
“All undocumented immigrants in this country who wish to participate in either component must register themselves directly with the Peninsular Malaysia’s Department of Human Resources. If they and their employers meet the pre-requisites, then they will be allowed to work,” he explained.
The government expects to collect RM90 million from compounds and fines through this recalibration programme.
Only undocumented immigrants from the 15 countries listed as allowed to be employed, who are already in Malaysia may participate in this programme.
There are about 20,000 undocumented immigrants being held at the immigration detention centres.
This move would definitely help the industries mentioned above. Early July, Malaysian Employers Federation Executive Director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said the plantation sector might lose RM142 billion in their operations this year due to a shortage of workers, while shortage of workers in the agriculture sector would lead to an increase in the price of vegetables.
Although both the Home Affairs and Human Resources Ministries have said that employers interested in the recalibration programme will have to abide by a certain ratio of foreign versus local worker limit that is to be set, it is interesting to see how many Malaysians would actually be interested in the 3-D jobs.
When the Selayang wholesale market faced a shortage of foreign workers a few months ago due to the area coming under the Enhanced Controlled Movement Order, there was a lukewarm response by Malaysians to fill in the vacancies.
Datuk Shamsuddin explained that this was not just about the wages offered.
Although Malaysians earn double that of their foreign counterparts, the former are not used to working in such environments.
“Locals are not keen on staying long in these kinds of jobs. They need to be brave and strengthen their attitude towards working less favourable jobs and should treat all jobs with respect.”
His main worry is that once the economy improves, the Malaysians would not want to stay in those 3-D sectors. Therefore, Malaysia will always have that reliance on foreign workers.
Malaysians are, of course, sceptical about any such programme. Previous amnesty programmes, especially those run by third-party vendors have always been open to abuse.
Despite having the 6P amnesty programme in 2011, the number of immigrants, both legal and undocumented, increased by 1.013 million between 2010 and 2019.
To allay this fear, Hamzah said that the wages that are to be paid to the legalised immigrants under this recalibration scheme will only be done electronically (e-Wages).
“When there is no money being deposited by the employer, then we will know that they are no longer being employed. It would be easier for us to track them down.”
Any employer caught employing an undocumented immigrant after June 30 2021 will be fined RM50,000 or a jail term of up to 12 months per worker. If they are caught with five or more undocumented worker, the penalty shall include whipping.
Just before midnight on Sunday, 4th May 2014, four heavily armed men dressed in army fatigues robbed four fishermen of their boat engines off Tanjung Labian, the scene of last year’s bloody incursion by armed Filipino men. Around 2.45am on Tuesday, 6th May 2014, just 51 hours after Sunday’s incident, five armed men also dressed in army fatigues kidnapped Chinese national, Yang Zai Lin from his fish farm on Pulau Baik south west of Lahad Datu. The Marine Police sent two fast patrol craft, a PA-class and a PSC-class, to intercept the boat the armed men used. There was an exchange of gunfire between them near Pulau Mataking but the armed men evaded capture in international waters after reaching the Sibutu islands, some 10 nautical miles from Mataking, quoting the Sabah Police Commissioner, Datuk Hamza Taib in The Star newspaper.
I cannot but agree with Kalabakan MP, Datuk Ghapur Salleh who was quoted to have said the following:
““Esscom is a toothless tiger. They have no command of the police or the army. It is better to get someone who has power.”
For those who have never been to that part of the world, let me first orientate you on the landscape.
As you can see in the map above, Pulau Baik (where the incident took place) is at the bottom left of the map, definitely more than 30 nautical miles away from Lahad Datu.
The distance between Pulau Baik and the fringe of the Sibutu islands is approximately 50 nautical miles. In calm seas and in a really fast boat, it should take an hour from Pulau Baik to the Philippines.
The distance between Mataking and the Sibutu islands is around 8 nautical miles.
Looking at the landscape, it would be erroneous to treat the whole area like any other borders that Malaysia has with its neighbours. And appointing a civilian to head trans-border armed incursions is downright negligence.
The marine police dispatched two patrol craft to intercept the armed intruders but stopped once the armed men were in their territorial waters for reasons only known to them. This morning’s incident is the third cross-border kidnapping incident in the areas controlled by ESSCOM.
The two fast patrol craft sent to intercept the armed men are very fast ones indeed (see photos below). Why they stopped once the armed men crossed into Filipino-waters puzzles me. I do not know how well read the people running ESSCOM are, but maybe they only read certain parts of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) such as Paragraph 3 of Article 111 of the Convention that states the following:
“The right of hot pursuit ceases as soon as the ship pursued enters the territorial sea of its own State or of a third State.
Perhaps, Paragraph 2 of the same Article should have been read too! It says:
“The right of hot pursuit shall apply mutatis mutandis to violations in the exclusive economic zone or on the continental shelf, including safety zones around continental shelf installations, of the laws and regulations of the coastal State applicable in accordance with this Convention to the exclusive economic zone or the continental shelf, including such safety zones.“
In this case, in fulfilling with Article 98 of UNCLOS, a breach by our patrol craft into the waters of the Philippines would have been a technical breach, with mutatis mutandis applied, based on an agreement between the Philippines (then Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Carlos P Romulo) with Indonesia and Malaysia in July 1977 allowing cross-border hot pursuits and a system for families to cross the borders, while Article 100 of UNCLOS empowers the Philippines to allow that arrangement to be in place.
With regards to this, the former Chief of Navy, Admiral Tan Sri Ramlan Mohamed Ali RMN, proposed in 2000 (after the first kidnappings in Sipadan) specific designated sea routes for vessels to enter Sabah, and enhancing monitoring capabilities by installing surface search radars (Project 1206) on islands off Sabah. This was proposed in a meeting with the then-Chief Minister of Sabah, Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat. This proposal would have enhanced security in Sabah, especially in areas now under the jurisdiction of the ESSCOM. However, when Chong Kah Kiat was replaced in 2003, the proposal was mostly forgotten.
Kidnapping for ransom in an area that had seen the death of several Malaysian servicemen defending the nation and later sworn to be defended from further incursions by armed Filipino men is unacceptable. Three kidnappings involving four hostages in a span of six months is disgusting. I am not sorry for standing by my opinion that the ESSCOM should not be headed by a civilian. ESSCOM, in my opinion, is not RASCOM. Although the RASCOM (Rajang Security Command) was set up by the National Security Council in 1972 to combat communist insurgency by the Kalimantan Utara People’s Party (PARAKU) chiefly in Sibu, Sarikei, Kapit and Mukah areas. There was not much cross-border incidents as the terrorists were mainly domestic, unlike in Eastern Sabah. In the ESSCOM area, the security forces struggle to deny people from the Philippines from landing in Sabah for both economic and malicious reasons. No matter how developed the ESSCOM areas may be, you will still get Filipinos who would do anything in Sabah for personal gains. The gold that can be found in Sabah is worth risking their life for, and there are tens of thousands just 50 nautical miles away who are willing to take that risk once in a while, group by group.
If you look again at the maps above, both kidnappings took place on islands very close to the mainland. This did not happen on the peripheral islands such as Mataking, Mantabuan, Boheydulang or even Timba-Timba. It is a well-known fact that our waters in Eastern Sabah are very porous in nature. I however suspect that the kidnappings were executed by people on the way back to Sibuti from either the Lahad Datu or Semporna areas.
Last month, I was in Eastern Sabah and managed to speak to a few personnel involved in guarding the islands in that area. What I noticed different this time is that even the Army no longer has its Rover RHIB interceptors stationed on the islands of Siamil and Sipadan. In the course of a week I was in that area, five fish-bombing incidents took place in Siamil alone and there was nothing the Army could do about it as they did not have a boat to pursue the perpetrators. Red tapes caused by the formation of ESSCOM has slowed down procurement processes. I was also told by senior operations people on the mainland that they are even frustrated by the Director-General of ESSCOM for rejecting the military’s need to conduct clandestine operations in Lahad Datu and Semporna to flush out suspected sleepers (as I would term them). This clearly shows the lack of understanding by the DG of ESSCOM of military operations, and certainly of creating ESSCOM without giving due respect for defining its raison d’être with clarity and utmost conviction. You cannot run an agency that fights trans-border armed intruders like a government department. You are bound to fail miserably.
As mentioned in a blog post of mine that I wrote last year, Defence-in-Depth is the method that should and must be employed in Eastern Sabah. The first layer would have to be that of Force Projection – a term used to describe a nation’s ability to project power and exert influence in the ESSCOM area. This has to be achievable and has to be sustainable in nature. Firstly, all cross-border family members need to have their boats registered and each boat is assigned with a registration number that is stored into a database that can be easily accessed by patrol crafts, surface and aerial combat units. These registration numbers must be displayed on the bow of their pump boat. They can only enter via the designated routes that Admiral Ramlan proposed back in 2002. We have many shallow reefs in that area and manned stations or posts can be built where each boat wanting to enter will have to report to first layer posts to register their intention. Once their destination is made known, they will be issued with a colour-coded pass that they need to surrender at the second-layer post which would be at their destination. The process is reversed when they want to return to the Philippines. These first layer posts should be manned by the equivalent of an infantry section with RHIB interceptors at hand to intercept violators. Each of these posts would also house surface search radars that transmits radar data to a sectoral command center. Radar picket vessels should be on station to cover the approaches to and from Eastern Sabah and should cover all 1400 kilometers stretch. This is where the two of the Principles of War come into play: the Concentration of Force, and Economy of Effort. Obviously, based on my observations at Siamil and Sipadan, the Angkatan Tugas Bersama 2 (ATB2) is ill-equipped to carry out such tasks.
Basing of assets also need to be considered. While it is good to have major surface units such as the navy’s NGPV to be on station, these vessels are limited in endurance unless supply vessels are also available to re-supply and re-fuel. These vessels need to be on-station for weeks before they can be replaced by another surface unit. Major islands along the approaches from the outer limits all the way in should also have combat helicopters stationed on them. Combat helicopters carrying two PASKAL snipers each can be airborne in under ten minutes to intercept armed intruders. Certainly in the incident early this morning, the availability of such asset would have helped prevent the kidnappers from seeking refuge in their own territory. Auxiliary ships, perhaps smaller versions of the Bunga Mas 5 and Bunga Mas 6 operated by the Navy with the assistance from MISC need to be employed in these areas to support operations.
Good intelligence is important. There is nothing as valuable as good intelligence. More often than not, even during the February 2013 incursion that led to the Ops Daulat, intelligence played an important role. The coordination of good intelligence is equally important but I was told that such a thing does not exist under ESSCOM. Valuable intelligence remain valuable only if they are acted upon in the quickest possible time, thus commanders need to have a good grasp of strategic and tactical knowledge that their Decision-Action tempo has to overcome that of the enemy they are fighting. However as it is, the soldiers on Siamil and Sipadan can only watch if intruders sail past them at a safe distance.
On land, villages that may be used as hiding places for sleepers and intruders should be relocated at new villages and that would make effective the Chief Minister’s plan to introduce curfew in high risk areas. Cutting off the locals from the intruders would also help in identifying them and distinguishing them from locals. This is the area Mentek should be concentrating on as an Immigration officer and as an act for the Sabah people – weed out the illegals.
Of course, diplomacy has to be one of the layers of defence-in-depth. In pursuant of Article 100 of UNCLOS, the Philippines must render all assistance in the repression of piracy as well as in upholding the 1988 Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts at Sea (SUA) that came into force in 2005.
Ops Daulat was not the first time that we have had armed incursions. on the 25th September 1985, 21 armed intruders dressed in Army fatigues attacked Lahad Datu town at 12 noon. The Royal Malaysian Police’s patrol boats PX29 and PX16, later supported by PZ14 cornered the intruders at Mataking and decimated them. While in pursuit, the marine policemen received an order from the then-Sabah Commissioner of Police to “not allow the pirates to live.” Such was the statement of the aim, clearly defined, and that order determined the outcome of the battle.
Eastern Sabah is not just any security zone. It is a zone that faces members of battle-hardened paramilitary groups that have been fighting the Government of the Philippines since the late 1960s. Therefore, protecting this zone means having to conduct military-like operations that should be handled by professional combatants and not by civilians. If the statement of aim of the strategy is to deny incursions, then it would have to be conducted with resolve and not through half-baked approaches or emulating other security zones whose methods are peculiar only to those areas, but not in areas managed by ESSCOM.
If you think it is disgusting that armed men believed to be from the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf could infiltrate our borders of the east coast of Sabah last November, shoot dead a tourist from Taiwan and kidnapped his wife, then again a few days ago taking a tourist from China and a resort worker away, guess what is even more disgusting? That the man above, the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, had the cheek to say the following (as quoted by The Star:
Who are we to blame then, Wan Junaidi?
May I remind the Deputy Minister that ESSCOM was created on 7th March 2013 to ensure the security of the ESSZONE is taken care of in a holistic manner so there would be no recurrence of the Lahad Datu incursion and of other similar incidents. Maybe I can provide the Deputy Minister with a statement by the Prime Minister on Police Day 2013 that was posted on ESSCOM’s website.
ESSCOM is an agency under the Prime Minister’s Department to undertake the enhancement of security in the ESSZONE defined as 10 districts from Kudat to Tawau spanning 1,733.7 kilometers, to prevent recurrence of any form of intrusion by unwanted foreign elements. The method that should be employed to affect this is by applying the Defence-in-Depth concept that I wrote about in March of 2013 when ESSCOM was first formed. The military has worked with the police in a support role on numerous occasions starting with the First and Second Emergencies of 1948-1960 and 1968-1989 periods respectively, in various UN missions such as to Cambodia, Liberia, and Timor Leste. The military also supported the operations conducted by the police in Ops Daulat last year, and since then the military and police have conducted basic recruit training jointly at the Army Recruit Training Centre in Port Dickson to enhance better understanding between the two. Therefore, the issue of one not being able to accept orders by the other does not arise. In any case in peacetime, the command of the police prevails and the military plays a supporting role, and this has always been case. The Immigration however, does not have any experience in operational security as they only act as filters to immigration, and not experienced nor trained in deploying combat assets. It is no secret that the southern Filipinos have no respect nor fear for our Immigration Department. They only fear our police and the military.
I don’t subscribe to Wan Junaidi’s remark that the resorts should close down. They have been in existence even before the formation of ESSCOM. They are still located within our littoral zones. Should they not be protected? Should there not be security forces stationed at these resorts as there is on Mataking, Mabul, Sipadan, SiAmil and other islands? If the resort owners do not cooperate, what is the problem? Who makes the policies? Can’t action be taken against resort owners who do not respect policies? Stop giving stupid excuses, Wan Junaidi, and start behaving like a Deputy Minister. If ESSCOM cannot even get the buy-in because it does not have the will to enforce and execute policies, it should be disbanded and leave it to the police and military to run an enhanced version of Ops PASIR. The Immigration Department should just go back to stamping passports and weed out illegal immigrants.
So, who is to be blamed, Wan Junaidi? Who is to be blamed for appointing a non-combatant to take charge of a combat situation? Who is to be blamed if as a result of the appointment two armed incursions have taken place resulting in the kidnapping of three people and the death of one? I will blame Wan Junaidi for making stupid statements, one after another, and blame the government for making him a Deputy Minister.