Fury over minister's idea for camp as tourist spot

Fury over minister's idea for camp as tourist spot
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim had said that putting the camp on display would help deter human trafficking activities.

PETALING JAYA - Human rights and non-governmental organisations have criticised the proposal to turn a former human trafficking camp near the Malaysia-Thailand border into a tourist attraction.

Tenaganita director Aegile Fernandez said she was shocked by the suggestion.

"The authorities should have empathy and respect for the victims after the atrocities that have been committed," she said.

She said that torture and brutality should not be turned into a tourism product.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim made the proposal after visiting the site.

He had said that putting the camp on display would help deter human trafficking activities.

Fernandez disagreed with him and said that it would be better if enforcement actions against people smuggling were increased.

"Trafficking can be curbed if enforcement officers and the Government have the will to act," she said.

Suriana Welfare Society For Children chairman James Nayagam wanted the site turned into a memorial for the victims instead.

It would, he said, remind everyone of the inhuman acts and cruelties that the victims suffered, he said.

"This would also be more respectful," he added.

Humans Rights Watch Asia division deputy director Phil Robertson said it would be ghoulish to turn the site into a tourist spot.

"Better to find those behind the camps and prosecute them."

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