Monday, July 5, 2010

Khairy: Don’t turn it into a racial issue

PETALING JAYA: The controversy involving unpaid foreign workers at the new palace construction site should not be turned into a racial issue, said Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin.

He said Senator Ezam Mohd Nor had blown the issue out of proportion when he accused Malaysiakini and The Star of being “anti-national institutions and against Istana Negara.”

“Highlighting the plight of these workers is not only to bring justice to the foreign workers but also to ensure that the contractor delivers a good job and the palace is built properly for the royal institution,” he said.

Khairy said if the reports had been inaccurate, the contractor should come forward and clarify the matter.

“If the contractor has paid the workers’ salaries on time, they should come forward and tell their story,” he said.

On Friday, Maya Maju Sdn Bhd project director Md Nizam Md Sheriff denied that many of the foreign workers at the construction site were not paid salaries.

However, he admitted that there were some workers who received their wages two weeks late.

Malaysiakini and The Star highlighted the plight of a group of foreign workers working on the RM800mil Istana Negara who claimed they were not paid three months’ wages.

Ezam urged the Home Ministry to probe Malaysiakini and The Star over the report.

He also lambasted the newspaper, saying he had reasons to believe there was a concerted smear campaign against the royalty and that it was giving prominence to Opposition MPs over the issue.

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