July 18, 2008: Two representatives of the Vietnamese labor export firm involved in the Polar Twin Advance case, along with two Vietnamese embassy staff, accompanied PTA head Lee Siong You to the workers’ dormitory on July 16. They pressed the workers to sign a statement in order to get back to work the next day, with the employer promising to pay 700 RM/month according to the contract.
However, Lee did not want to address the issue of back pay, including the two months that the workers were not allowed to work even though they were still employed. The Vietnamese members of the delegation told the workers that they should not expect back pay for these two months, since they did not work.
Boat People SOS advised the workers to request a copy of the statement that they were supposed to sign, but the employer refused to give them a copy. BPSOS further recommended to the workers that they should get legal advice from the pro bono lawyer working on this case before reaching any agreement.
It appears that these officials wanted to sweep the issue under the rug and be relieved of having to protect the workers. At the same time, there is no guarantee that the employer will honor the signed statement, since Polar Twin Advance did not care to comply with the contract in the first place.