When work in Malaysia is a con

Many foreign workers arrive in Malaysia only to be scammed out of pay and their passports and then being arrested for being 'undocumented' through no fault of their own. — AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

It's horrifying the amount of injustice I see in Malaysia. I often read and hear about the rich and powerful evading the rule of law while vulnerable groups like the Orang Asli are denied basic justice and land rights. The most powerless of people get cheated frequently with little recourse, even thrown into jail despite committing no crime. Thousands of migrant workers here are living this travesty of justice.

The scenario typically unfolds like this. A young man in Bangladesh is lured by promises of high wages in Malaysia by an agent. To pay the RM20,000 agency fee, he is pushed into debt. When he gets to Malaysia, there is no job, no money, and substandard shelter and food (if any). Stranded and unable to pay mounting debts, or to return home as his passport has been taken, he flees to seek justice – only to land in jail for being undocumented.

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