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Irene Fernandez was misquoted by the Jakarta Post

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Petaling Jaya (9th May) (TheSunDaily) Tenaganita executive director Irene Fernandez said today that she was misquoted by the Jakarta Post on statements made in an interview on the mistreatment of migrant workers in Malaysia.

“There were parts where they have misquoted me and they will rectify the matter (the interview statements),” she said.

Fernandez said the interview conducted on May 4 at Tenaganita’s headquarters was blown out of proportion.

Speaking to the media at Tenaganita’s headquarters today, Fernandez denied saying that Malaysian employers who withheld their maids’ passports felt free to do what they wanted because they bribed the police and bought court verdicts when workers sought legal redress. The statement should have read: “Employers tend to act with impunity”, she said.

She also denied saying that employers breached harsh immigration laws when employing undocumented workers, and have gone unpunished because the police and immigration officers were paid off to lay charges on workers.

Fernandez said the statement should have read: “Undocumented workers are the ones punished (not employers) and that employers were free to exploit migrant workers rights.”

She also denied giving any figures related to the 6P programme, and saying that gardeners were discriminated under the newly-issued minimum wage regulations.
Earlier, Fernandez said the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in a faxed letter to her expressed concern on her statements that were made public in the local dailies.

She will meet MACC with her legal team tomorrow to clarify the matter.

In response to the commission’s request, she said her main concern was with the corruption involved in the facilitation of migrant workers in Malaysia. “It is wrong (for MACC) to threaten human rights defenders,” she said.

In response to Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Maznah Mazlan’s statement on Monday that Fernandez’s remarks were unethical, inaccurate and unpatriotic, she said: “My statement was not unpatriotic. It will only be so if I allow bad governance to continue.”

said the errors which the daily English newspaper made included statements that were never made during the interview. She also

She added that her comments would not affect Malaysia’s bilateral ties with Indonesia and its neighbours because the perception that Malaysia is an unsafe place for migrant workers was already there.