Exploitation of Migrant Workers in Malaysia and Singapore

22 Aug

Lianain Films has made two documentaries that was broadcast on Al Jazeera. It shows the plight of Bangladeshi workers cheated by scam agents in Bangladesh, Singapore and Malaysia.

The films reveal how the workers were subjected to terrible living conditions. Some of them were physically abused and had their salaries unfairly deducted or owed. Many of them had to leave the country without any compensation. In Malaysia, some of the workers have been promised jobs only to be stood up at the airport and later imprisoned in detention centres before being deported back home.

According to the workers, they had to pay approximately 6000 Singapore dollars and 3000 Malaysian ringgit to their agent to get a job in both respective countries. Many of them ended up being cheated of their money and facing a huge debt back at home. Some of these money were paid for by selling their farm lands or from illegal loan sharks.

While the companies and individuals that profit from such ventures should be taken to court, the bigger picture is to question the Singaporean and Malaysian system which allows such large scale exploitation to take place. The rights of migrant workers have to be respected and they include but not limited to clean, affordable and decent housing; a sustainable wage; and the right to form and join unions amongst others.

It is a fair statement to state that the Singapore and Malaysian governments can no longer claim that their current policies on migrant workers are working.

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