Sony EMCS withholds passports from 32 Myanmar migrant workers in Malaysia

“We, employees of Myanmar hereby request the responsible person of this organization to assist with our hardships”. Through this message, GoodElectronics learned about an alarming situation in Malaysia concerning 32 Myanmar factory workers of Sony. These workers argue to be in conflict with the Human Resources Department of the company, that is refusing to give back the workers’ passports.

Sony EMCS withholds passports from 32 Myanmar migrant workers in Malaysia

“We, employees of Myanmar hereby request the responsible person of this organization to assist with our hardships”. Through this message, GoodElectronics learned about an alarming situation in Malaysia concerning 32 Myanmar factory workers of Sony. These workers argue to be in conflict with the Human Resources Department of the company, that is refusing to give back the workers’ passports.

The passports were collected by a company official, supposedly to renew them. During this time, the HR issued fake work permits and deducted monthly fees for it. Worried about this situation without both a passport and a legal work permit,  the workers approached the HR department and were then brought to the embassy. There, they were forced to apply for a Certificate of Identity (CI) and to go back to Myanmar. The HR official stated that the company “couldn’t take any responsibility in case the workers got arrested by police”, which, according to the Myanmar Migrants Rights Centre, made the workers feel scared and threatened. Intervention by Ko Soe Win, labour attaché of Myanmar’s embassy, did not work out.

Blacklist

The workers now demand – even if they are going back home – to go home legally, the same way as they entered the country legally. One of the female workers explained to the Myanmar Migrants Rights Center, that if she would apply for the CI and return to Myanmar, she will not be let into Malaysia again. “It means the Malaysian government puts us on a blacklist. But I signed a legal agreement with Sony Emcs and came here”.

SONY EMCS

Sony EMCS, based in Tokyo, has approximately  4000 workers from Asian countries, including 800 from Myanmar.  All of the Myanmar workers in this case were sent to Sony EMCS through an agreement between the Myanmar company Ling Yawng Chi INT’L Service Co.LTD . However, when the workers reported the matter to Ling Yawng Chi, the company didn’t do anything, replying that the contract with Sony EMCS has completed.  

Workers whose contracts currently expired have been told by Sony officials to continue to work for Sony. These workers are experiencing hardships on a daily basis and are asking for help. GoodElectronics will try its hardest to find out more about the situation and will look for ways to provide guidance and assistance.