Ex-minister Radzi a boss in ‘rogue’ 6P firm

However, he denies involvement in human trafficking.

Teoh El Sen, FMT

Former home minister Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad is a director in a company that is under police investigation over several offences related to human trafficking.

The company, SNT Universal Corporation Sdn Bhd, is a government-appointed agent in the 6P amnesty programme. Police suspect it has exploited hundreds of foreign workers, mainly Bangladeshis.

Investigators are focusing on the possibility that SNT has committed several offences, including falsely claiming that it is able to register foreigners under the 6P programme and getting work permits for them, setting up dozens of bogus employment agencies, and assaulting job-seeking foreigners. The last allegation is based on CCTV recordings.

According to the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM), Radzi became a director of SNT on May 17, 2011.

Radzi expressed surprise when an FMT reporter informed him of the CCM record. He said “some friends” roped him into being an SNT director and denied knowledge of its activities.

“I’m not involved in human trafficking,” he said. “People ask me to become director in all sorts of things. I have no connection with the company.”

Radzi was the Minister of Home Affairs between 2006 and 2008.

Under the 6P programme, illegal foreign workers will either be legalised or deported without punishment. The six Ps represent the Malay words for registration, legalisation, amnesty, monitoring, enforcement and deportation. The government has appointed more than 300 companies to handle registration.

Early this month, the Selangor Council Against Human Trafficking (Mapmas) released CCTV recordings showing the violence that SNT employees had allegedly perpetrated against the job-seekers.

Mapmas said it got hold of the recordings with the help of a whistleblower and that the victims of the recorded assault represented only a fraction of some 200 claiming to have been cheated by SNT. The videos are now on YouTube.

Police said this week that they had arrested three foreigners in the case and were on the hunt for another suspect.

The evidence regarding bogus employment agencies resulted from investigations carried out by FMT and Mapmas official Abdul Aziz Ismail. It was found that these companies had no business infrastructure and were apparently set up for the sole purpose of obtaining fraudulent work permits to be used in the 6P programme.

One of the recurring names in these companies is Md. Shahidul Islam, said to be a Bangladeshi man whose nickname is Babul.

Babul’s name also appears in a police report against SNT that accuses it of cheating and assault.

Authorities have yet to explain how he is able to run a 6P management company when the Home Ministry prohibits foreigners from doing so.

‘They made use of my name’

Mampas’ Abdul Aziz, a veteran labour activist, today condemned Radzi for accepting a director’s position in SNT.

“During his time as the Home Minister, the government brought in some 500,000 Bangladeshis and they were abandoned at the airport and sold to a third party,” Abdul Aziz said.

“So, if you talk about Mohd Radzi, he failed during his tenure. And now he is getting himself involved in something like this. It is totally unethical and immoral.”

In his interview with FMT, Radzi recalled that he was asked to be a director of SNT around the time the government announced the 6P programme.

“I don’t even know where this company is,” he said. “Maybe I have been there once, when it was about to be formed. It checked out with the Home Ministry. Now it has gone a bit funny, huh?”

He said it was the first company he joined after leaving his cabinet post.

“I looked at the company and thought they were just doing some registration for these workers, allowing them to go home or something like that. They asked if I wanted to be part of it. So okay-lah.”

He said that a few months ago, when he found out that the 6P programme was not doing well, he told the company he wanted to quit it.

Asked if he knew the other SNT directors, he said: “I may be able to recall this Babul something. I think that’s him.”

He said he felt betrayed. “They made use of my name. Now it appears that I should have checked what sort of company this was. I’m disappointed.”