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

By Braema Mathi

July 2020 FEATURE
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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...

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Braema Mathi

is a visiting senior research fellow at Penang Institute. She is from Singapore and she loves the hills, the rivers and trekking – all of which are plentiful in Penang.