Malaysia warns foreign workers following riot to respect the laws

File picture shows a police officer addressing a crowd of foreign workers who staged a strike outside the JCY HDD Technology Sdn Bhd building in Kulaijaya on Tuesday.

KULAIJAYA, Malaysia - Foreign workers at companies here have been warned to respect Malaysian laws or face stern action, said Johor police chief Senior Deputy Comm Datuk Mohd Mohktar Mohd Shariff.

He said rioting and public disorder by fo­­reign workers would not be tolerated and the police would not hesitate to make arrests.

"You came to this country to work. You have to respect the laws and the police will not to­lerate any nonsense," he said after a meeting with the management of JCY HDD Technology Sdn Bhd here yesterday.

He said the management of the electronics manufacturing company had held discussions with its foreign workers, witnessed by officials from several foreign embassies, to resolve the problems that culminated in a riot at the Kelapa Sawit industrial area here on Tuesday.

"Forty-nine arrests have been made. Two of them are from Bangladesh and the rest are from Nepal. The police will continue to identify and arrest those involved in the incident at the factory," he added.

JCY executive director Datuk Tan Shih Leng said the company had complied with Malay­sian labour laws and all the requirements that were agreed to with the foreign workers.

The company's general manager, who wanted to be known only as Liaw, said the plant was closed yesterday following the riot.

In Tuesday's incident, more than 800 foreign workers gathered outside the building and hurled stones and other objects at the manage­ment office.

They set an office building and a car on fire, while three other buildings were damaged.

The riot came in the wake of an incident at another JCY branch at the Tebrau IV industrial area near Johor Baru last Thursday.

There, some 1,500 workers, apparently unhappy over the company's handling of a worker's welfare, threw various objects from their four-storey quarters and overturned a parked van.