VILLAGERS from Yaha district in Yala have asked the Thai government for help in contacting 21 elderly women who were allegedly duped into working in Malaysia without proper documents and are now feared to be under arrest.
Mamakadi Sulong said his 57-year-old mother Hamida Salae and 20 neighbours were invited by a local labour broker to work in Johor. He said he has not heard from them since they travelled in cars to cross the border in Sadao in Songhkla on September 24.
He said relatives feared that Hamida and the others may have been arrested by Malaysian police as they did not have proper work permits. They urged Thai state agencies to help them locate the group.
“The broker claimed that they wanted elderly women to sell things in Malaysia and they should also prepare old clothes so people could buy items out of pity. But once they travelled there, we couldn’t reach them,” he said.
“I heard that my mother went to sell things but after only two days she was arrested in Johor. So we tried to help her and the broker promised to coordinate but, after losing tens of thousands of baht, we still haven’t had any progress.”
Mamakadi said his father became ill after they lost contact and he had just passed away in Yaha Crown Prince Hospital.
He said relatives also wanted to get in touch with Korya Kajemusor, 50, another woman who went with the group, but they couldn’t afford the broker’s demand that they pay Bt20,000.
Another relative of Hamida, Tuan-Hasan Doloh, said the family paid Bt50,000 plus Bt20,000 in travel costs to a person who claimed to be able to coordinate with Malaysian officials but nothing panned out. He said relatives of four other women also faced a similar demand of Bt50,000 – which would be returned to them if the negotiations collapsed – but they had been waiting without a result for three weeks.
Yaha senior clerk Amorn Chumchuay and officials from the Yala Social Development and Human Security Office and Yala Labour Office visited Hamida’s daughter yesterday to discuss the incident.
He said the 21 elderly woman and two labour brokers went to Johor to sell fish-flavoured crispy snacks but were arrested by Malaysian police for working without permission.
‘Up to 3 months to process case’
Amorn said they had already asked the Thai embassy in Malaysia to help determine where the women were detained. He said the case would require one to three months for Malaysian authorities to process, as charges had been filed. They would then contact Thailand when the people would be deported.
An informed source said that Ban Joh Kladee village headman Harong Mayi had travelled to Johor for four days after receiving complaints, but had not been able to find them.
He was told the women had been arrested and sent to a nursing home, the source said.
Aside from Hamida, the women include Liyoh Sulong, from Pattani, who is in her 80s; Salama Balo, 51, from Yala’s Kabang district; Leemoh Jehto, 65, from Kabang; and Koriya Samae, 53, from Yala’s Raman district.
Published : November 11, 2016
By : Nakharin Chinnawornkomol The Nation