Foreign workers are also human

It is disgusting that manufacturers in Malaysia see it as something appropriate to place foreign workers in accommodation that violates human standards of living and violates the laws of the country.

A factory in Johor, which employs about 300 foreign workers, reportedly allocated five accommodation spaces and that also included its storage area for finished products. About 65 workers are crammed into each space, which only fits six people.

What is more worrying is the lack of suitable facilities for workers’ daily use, such as beds and lockers to store their belongings. Imagine, there is only one bathroom. This is a clear violation of workers’ rights.

But the problem is deeper.

Such persecution goes beyond just a matter of employers exploiting labor. It also implies the existence of a xenophobic way of thinking.

The situation at this factory is probably not an isolated example, if the bad treatment that happened to foreign workers in the past is any indication. We have heard how workers are paid disproportionately. A maid also claimed to have poured hot water on her body. Others were beaten as punishment.

We have also heard stories of how foreigners (including children) face dire conditions in the custody of the authorities.

The life of foreign workers is also considered cheap, in the eyes of some employers. Have we not heard the news about workers dying on construction sites or dying because of poor safety measures at their workplaces?

Don’t feel that it is no big deal if foreign workers are forced into slavery in this modern age. Indeed, it is a destructive thought.

Cramming workers into cubicles is just as bad as bad treatment. It is not something that anyone would do to us fellow humans. It thus shows a level of thinking that somehow sees these workers as non human.

Foreign workers are also crippled in many other ways. With local rice supplies dwindling, one politician even dared to call for a ban on foreigners buying local rice, which is much cheaper. Imagine being denied the right to buy cheap local staples and having to shell out more money for imported rice.

The term foreigner also includes foreign workers, refugees and asylum seekers. This group has made a great contribution to the economic development of the country.

Part of the local prejudice against foreigners is due to the involvement of a small number of foreigners in criminal activities, such as theft.

There is no doubt that some foreigners have been involved in illegal activities. However, it is also not fair to accuse them all of being involved in such matters.

Certainly, it is not foreigners who monopolize the criminal acts that occur in Malaysia. There are still many locals themselves who do not think twice about getting involved in corruption. This kind of corruption has resulted in foreigners entering the country without legal papers or jobs, thus putting themselves in a difficult situation. Let’s not forget the big corruption scandal involving some local residents who have leaked state money.

Prioritizing empathy and compassion for foreigners is not a sign of weakness. On the contrary, it is a sign of human solidarity to those who are in urgent situations.

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