Accord migrants due respect for helping to build Malaysia, says Tenaganita

Over the years, millions of foreign nationals have contributed to the development of the nation.

Be it in plantation, construction, manufacturing and service industry, migrants, mainly from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the Phillippines, Nepal and Vietnam, have played a role.

There are more than two million documented migrant workers in Malaysia, but how much do we appreciate and value their contribution?

Tenaganita director and consultant for human trafficking Aegile Fernandez said anti-migrant sentiments in Malaysia was still a cause of concern.

“If the basics such as providing proper housing for foreign workers are being ignored, it says a lot about how their contributions are being valued,” said Fernandez, whose NGO has been championing the rights of women, migrant workers and refugees since 1991.

“Employers who provide housing to migrants should ask themselves if they would live in such conditions or would they let their children live in such conditions.”

Fernandez said although employers must now comply with the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 to provide improved accommodation for foreign workers, the lack of appreciation towards the group has been long-standing.

“The living conditions of migrants are horrible. In many homes, even dogs are given a better place.

“Here you have workers who are placed in small rooms. They are supposed to sleep, cook and dry their clothes on bed frames in their tiny rooms.

“I have met migrants who said they have to cover their noses to sleep at night as the stench in their area is unbearable,” said Fernandez.

Many migrants who lost their jobs during the Movement Control Order have been left in the lurch and forced to fend for themselves, Fernandez said.

“A group of foreign workers in Bedong, Kedah called us asking for food recently. Imagine 50 people living in a longhouse with only two toilets. The factory they were working at had shut down and they had not eaten for days.”

Such conditions would cause the stress levels among these migrants to build up with no way out, Fernandez said.

“I’m often asked if I don’t fear being with migrant workers as you can be raped or killed? People tell their kids not to speak or walk near them on the streets as they are supposedly dangerous,” she said.

“It is easy to just say things like this. But what are we doing to address the matter?”

“We need to be friends with them. We need to teach them how to throw rubbish or why they should not make noise at odd hours. Teach them, don’t shun them,” she said.

“Migrant workers are also sons, daughters, fathers, mothers and we can only learn how caring they are upon getting to know them,” she added.

Here’s a round-up of The News Normal, today.


Kinabatangan MP Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin has volunteered to be the first Malaysian to test the Covid-10 vaccine.

He told the Dewan Rakyat he is “not afraid and wants to be healthy”.

The 62-year-old Sabah deputy chief minister said this in response to a proposal by Sarikei MP Wong Ling Biu that the vaccine be tested on the country’s leaders and politicians first.


A total of 2,742 Malaysians are detained in prisons overseas for crimes including drugs, fraud, credit card forgery as well as customs and immigration offences.

Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Kamarudin Jaffar said the number was based on the latest information from Malaysian diplomatic missions abroad.


The 14th Perak state assembly sitting has been postponed for seven days and will only convene on Dec 16.

The sitting initially slated to be held from Dec 4 to 11, was adjourned last Friday after former Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu, who is also Chenderiang assemblyman, lost a motion of confidence.


Four men aged between 22 and 27 were charged in the Kuala Lumpur magistrate’s court with the murder of former Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Mardi) director of Information Technology Dr Wan Hassan Wan Embong, 73, last month.

They were charged with committing the offence at Wan Hassan’s house in Bukit Bandaraya between 3.35 am and 4am on Nov 29.

S. Vickeswaran, 22, P. Kogilan and M. Ravindran, both 23, and T. Sugu, 27, — all unrepresented – nodded when the charge was read to them before magistrate Wong Chai Sia. No plea was recorded.


Women’s Aid Organisation head of campaigns Natasha Dandavati says our national budget must be viewed as a catalyst to drive widespread change and also one that ensures no women fall through the cracks.

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