Stop migrants’ rights abuses in our backyard!

The inflow of migrant workers has served as a pipeline for profiteering, corruption and easy money

The roads travelled for work: Women migrant workers in Singapore and Malaysia - UN WOMEN GALLERY/FLICKR

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Indonesia has once again raised the alarm over injustices suffered by its citizens in Malaysia.

According to the Indonesian ambassador to Malaysia, Hermono, Indonesian workers here are still experiencing abuses that require urgent intervention.

He said about 90% of the complaints received by the Indonesian Embassy related to domestic helpers. This, he said, indicates a distressing trend that needs an amicable resolution from Malaysian employers. It also requires strict enforcement by the authorities.

This is outrageous. Not only are some Malaysians abusing foreign workers, but the authorities’ failure to haul up the perpetrators is unacceptable.

As a nation, we rally by the thousands to stand by our leaders in speaking out against the Palestinian catastrophe.

By the millions, we raise money and aid for Gaza, reeling from bombardment.

But where is our conscience when it comes to migrant workers? What is the quality of our moral standards?

What happened to all our religious proclamations and the Madani (civil and compassionate) beacon that we believe will save our nation?

When some Malaysians cannot stop abusing foreign workers; when they continue to exploit foreign workers; when they think migrant workers are at fault all the time; when they believe foreign workers should be obligated to Malaysia for giving them an economic lifeline – are they not evil?

For decades, many employers have benefited from cheap, exploitable, docile migrant workers.

But the inflow of migrant workers has served as a pipeline for profiteering and for corruption and easy money.

From the solo enforcement personnel to agents and those in corporate corridors, we know how some people reap easy money off the back of migrant workers.

READ MORE:  Political will needed to reform labour migration

Are we as a nation not ashamed?

We proclaim to the Muslim world we will stand with the Muslim community in defence of Palestinians. Yet, we cannot ensure that fellow Muslims from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Myanmar are not exploited.

Humanitarian and human rights principles dictate we should never abuse our fellow humans – of any religion, from any nation and of any sexual orientation.

When we fail in this measure, we have failed as a nation – and this reeks of hypocrisy.

Will the day even dawn on our nation when migrant workers will salute us for upholding noble values and conduct?

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.
AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
  1. Tegakkan maruah serta kualiti kehidupan rakyat
  2. Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
  3. Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
  4. Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
  5. Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
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