Magazine article New Internationalist

Migrants Must Go: Foreign Workers Are Thrown out of Malaysia

Magazine article New Internationalist

Migrants Must Go: Foreign Workers Are Thrown out of Malaysia

Article excerpt

AT least three million migrant workers, who have helped to build the Malaysian economic 'miracle', now face the threat of deportation. Work permits expiring in mid-1998 are unlikely to be renewed. Hundreds of thousands will then be forced to return home to poor families who depend on their remittances.

A year ago, when the economy was booming, the Government encouraged employers to legalize migrant labour, and 12-month work permits were issued. Manufacturing firms even sent personnel managers to Indonesia and Bangladesh to look for additional staff.

Now migrants are often sacked without pay and some employers even refuse to give back their passports. 'There's no law that states migrant workers have to be compensated if they're laid off,' says Angela Khoo, human-resources manager for an electronics company in Penang.

Malaysia's building industry used to employ 300,000 migrants -- mostly Indonesians - earning between 1,000 and 1,500 ringgit ($238-357) per month. Faced with a glut of commercial property and a credit squeeze, developers are having to cancel projects, shed jobs and cut wages. Kus, an Indonesian labourer, says: 'We are farmers back home, and we came here to earn money to send to our families. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.