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In latest video, Namewee raps exploitation of foreign workers

Free Malaysia Today logo Free Malaysia Today 19/11/2018 FMT Reporters
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GEORGE TOWN: Controversial rapper Namewee has released a video condemning the treatment of foreign construction workers by developers and contractors whom he claims exploit migrant workers for cheap labour before turning them over to the police.

Namewee, whose real name is Wee Meng Chee, said this was based on his own two-year experience in a jail cell in Penang.

During his remand in 2016, he said, a Myanmarese man he had befriended told him contractors would hire many of his fellow nationals as construction workers. The contractors would pay their salaries on a regular basis for the first two years, but once the work was complete, he said, they would get little or no pay at all.

He said the contractors would then call the police to arrest the workers, claiming they had not hired them as they were illegal.

The police would round them up and send them to prison, after which the contractors would begin the cycle all over again, he added.

Namewee claimed these workers would be placed in remand prisons similar to the one he was in.

“I was placed together with 20 others in a small lock-up. The cell smelled bad, with urine, faeces and sputum everywhere.

“Most of them barely spoke any English or Bahasa Malaysia. One guy spoke a little Bahasa, and he told me not to come too close as he was afraid I might get infected,” he said in the video posted online yesterday.

Namewee said he blew the whistle on the lock-up conditions on Facebook but was faced with immense pressure to remove his post.

It wasn’t until Pakatan Harapan took federal power that he felt able to reveal everything about the matter, he added.

Namewee also released a song called “Mingalaba” – Burmese for “how are you?” – which tells of workers wondering how their loved ones are back home.

The Taiwan-based singer was remanded for four days in August 2016 for investigation into claims that he had insulted Islam through his music video “Oh My God”. The video, which features a Taiwanese boy band, shows him and the group dancing and singing in a mosque in Tanjung Bungah.

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