Greedy bosses win
Re: "Interior Ministry seeks cabinet nod for registration of illegal migrant workers", (BP, Dec 29).
By an amazing transformation, the government is about to become an employment agency! That's surely what they are proposing under their registration scheme. Not only will they allow registration of illegal migrants from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar and other countries to stay in Thailand. They will even help those without work to get a job.
And who will they be recruiting for?
The truth is they'll be serving the interests of greedy bosses, many of whom have for years flouted minimum wage, insurance and safety regulations, as well as migration laws.
The chief offender is the construction industry. Throughout the past 11 months, their employees have been a familiar sight. Seemingly unaffected by lockdown, thousands of them have been moved to and from building sites around Bangkok, squeezed like sardines into the backs of small vehicles where social distancing is impossible.
True, they have sometimes worn face masks. But that prompts me to wish the government had been as successful in ensuring the use of safety helmets as they have with face masks. Too many die from work-related injuries in Thailand every year.
The powers-that-be describe their new scheme as an anti-Covid measure. It will, they suggest, help them monitor the health status and whereabouts of illegal migrants. But their scheme could act like a magnet. Are they ready for the surge in illegal migration that will follow? Besides, is it ever justified for a government to sanction breaking the law?
It's bad enough when a country's rulers turn a blind eye. In my view, the government will be sinking to a new low by positively aiding and abetting illegality. And it's yet another sticking-plaster solution where an attack on root causes is required.
Meanwhile, a legion of businesses that follow the law scrupulously have gone unaided during an immensely challenging year.
Linus AE Knobel
'I know nothing!'
Re: "'No gambling dens': Prawit", (BP, Jan 5).
Older TV viewers will probably readily agree with me that Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon does a great impersonation of Sgt Schultz, from the 1960s sitcom, Hogan's Heroes, when he claims there are no illegal gambling dens in Bangkok. When faced with flagrant evidence of plans for mischief and sabotage by Hogan's gang, Sgt Schultz reverted to his usual manner of avoiding complicity by claiming, "I see nothing! I hear nothing! I know nothing!"
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