Migrant Workers Face an Ever More Challenging Present, and an Ever More Uncertain Future

loading Migrant workers headed for Covid-19 screening tests. Photo: ©Abdul Razak Latif/123RF.COM.

THE MONTH OF May witnessed a string of raids targeting migrant workers in specific areas around KL. The actions took place, almost in catch-up mode, to ring-fence these foreigners1 who, since the 1980s and 1990s, have been coming into the country in large swathes for job opportunities, often without proper documentation. The Covid-19 clusters found among migrant workers in Singapore, which now accounts for more than 90% of confirmed cases2 alarmed Malaysians and the government. Many migrants here too, live in crowded living spaces where the practice of social distancing is difficult to achieve; some have limited access to running water, ...

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