Malaysiakini
NEWS

How a legal migrant slips through the cracks

Malaysiakini Team

Published
Modified 19 Aug 2020, 3:36 am

SPECIAL REPORT | Walking out of a condo in suburban Kuala Lumpur, it’s not uncommon to greet an Indonesian cleaner, Nepali security guards, a Bangladeshi at the 7-11 and a Myanmar restaurant worker at the coffee shop - before you meet your first Malaysian of the day.

The lives of foreign workers have become intertwined with ours as our country has grown and prospered through the years, but unfortunately, many find themselves at the losing end of a system that doesn’t allow them proper redress once they slip through the cracks.

There are approximately 2.27 million legal migrants in Malaysia, but the number of those living and working here illegally has been estimated to be at least two million – if not higher, according to NGOs that work with undocumented migrants.

The frustrating part is that many of the foreign workers who are now undocumented started off as legal workers.

“I came here as a student first and attended a local college,” said Naeem, who came to Malaysia from Bangladesh five years ago.

“It was not a good college – there was no real education, only...

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