Tue, Sep 20, 2005 - Page 5 News List

Muslim Malaysian sailors lose jobs over terror fears

AFP , KUALA LUMPUR

Muslim Malaysian sailors are being denied jobs in the shipping sector over terrorism fears in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks against the US, a report said yesterday.

Malaysian Seafarers Association chairman Zaidi Mohd Shah told the Berita Harian daily that international companies were hiring fewer Muslims, particularly Malaysians who were being singled out by their names.

"Many international shipping companies are reluctant to take on crew or officers from Malaysia because of the word bin, which is associated with terrorists," Zaidi was quoted as saying.

Malays have no family names -- they use their given name, followed by bin (son of) or binti (daughter of) and their father's given name.

"This has caused them to lose their source of income, and they have to depend on local shipping companies for jobs," Zaidi said.

He said sailors were also suffering because many private shipping companies were ignoring a law that requires them to employ Malaysians and were instead hiring foreign crew, particularly from Indonesia and the Philippines.

"There are some 45 privately operated tugs in seven ports around the country, and none of them are employing local crew members," he said. "Their excuse is that the foreign crew members are cheaper to hire. So where are the local seafarers supposed to work?"

Zaidi said the association had lodged several reports on the matter to authorities but that no action had been taken for nearly a year.

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