Have You Ever Thought about The Foreign Workers in Malaysia?

As everyone knows, foreign workers are almost everywhere in Kuala Lumpur. We have been accepting in foreign labours from neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Philippines since years ago.

The Nepalese or Gurkhas are mostly trusted as security guards, Bangladeshi takes on jobs in restaurants, supermarkets, petrol stations, whereas Myanmar does a bit of everything though the recent issues with Rohingya has significantly reduced the number of Myanmar workers Malaysia is accepting in.

If a country has a significant number of foreign labours and it is escalating yearly, then this is a clear indication of several things. Either the locals do not want to take up blue collar jobs — the pay does not suffice for the locals which makes it easier for us to recruit foreign labours especially from third world countries for they would do anything for the smallest amount as long as they are earning — or maybe Malaysians simply trust foreign labours more?

Now, me being curious and friendly person that I am — and with Hindi as one of the languages I learned while growing up — I often converse with the Nepalese and Bangladeshi workers. It definitely puts a smile on their face being able to speak in their mother tongue and to show care and interest in their background. Most of the foreign workers I speak to are young and married with kids. They left their families behind to work here for 3 years direct (Yup, no holiday for them).

The guards guarding my house compound  gets paid  RM 1100 a month and they work 12 hours everyday. Sometimes 24 hours if they have to do a shift rotation. There are twelve of them living in one small flat ( while 6 work in the day, the other 6 comes back to sleep ) and they have to pay/cook for their own food.

In the area I live, I also see security guards standing almost everywhere. All they do is stand there for 12 hours. Can you imagine? Standing every day for 12 hours and not being able to do anything else in your life? It really strains you and tires you mentally and physically. Do you know how much they get paid? Only RM1000 for basic salary whereas if they work overtime, they can make up to RM1500. That too, they send it back home to their loved ones.

It saddens me, it really does. Life is not easy for everyone. What I’ve mentioned before is just the security guards and trolley boys. How about the construction workers? Working under the hot blazing sun, in the polluted air, lifting heavy things and getting dirty, not having proper homes to stay, working every day. Did you ever think about them?

So, what is the point that I am really trying to convey here?

These people are getting paid the tiniest amount for the longest hours to protect your homes, serve you food, assist you with your groceries, pick up your rubbish, wash the toilets, build your home and the least you can do is greet them and treat them right.

Stop complaining about them being like parasites in our country and shouting at them at the mamak stall for not getting your orders right. Did you ever sit and thought for a second that if it’s not for them, who else would be doing their job? You ? These days, the wages are too low. Imagine if labor cost was higher, your goods would cost higher too so be appreciative of that fact that these people are not complaining about the money or time. They are working to make their own living and it gives us utmost convenience. Think. Think hard. Stop whining, stop slandering. We need them. Because you’re not the one willing to wash those public toilets and pick up the rubbish. They are.

Once in a while, it is no harm helping them out too or just talking to them. Be charitable to them. They left behind their families to come here to work. How much can they even make compared to our lives?  Be kind to them. They are not your slaves. They are just working like you to find bread and butter for their families. Unlike you, they only get to go home every 3 years. Make their stay comfortable, don’t treat them any differently just because they are not Malaysians, make them feel welcomed here, let them feel like Malaysia too is their home.

Think about all this and have some compassion. I am writing this so that it would do good to greater humanity and that we can all live in peace and harmony, being kind, respectable and charitable to others regardless of race, citizen, skin colour, class or any other factors people use to segregate humans these days.

And so to conclude , in relation to this article and the upcoming Labor Day, let’s celebrate and make it about them too this time as their labour is the toughest and they don’t even get to take Labor Day off. So, to make them feel better and appreciated,  I invite you my dear readers to participate in the Feed A Foreign Worker Day on our ‘Activities’ tab. Just know that you would have put a smile on someone’s face when you do it and you have contributed to the greater good.

And I am proud of you 🙂

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Maya

Maya

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