JOHOR BARU: Foreign workers here chose to stay at home and refrained from going out unnecessarily during the Hari Raya Aidilfitri holidays.
They said they were afraid of the Covid-19 infection and spent their off-days indoors.
Sri Lankan national Kushan Sanjaya, 24, who works as a production manager in an electronics factory in Senai, said since the movement control order (MCO) was imposed on March 18, he has been spending time at home most of the time.
Kushan said he and his co-workers only went out to work.
“Otherwise, we stay put in our dormitories. We do not eat out any more and prepare our meals.
“We have appointed just one person to go out and buy us the foodstuff and household items.
“Even when the conditional movement control order (MCO) was put in place, with less restrictions, we did not go out unless necessary.
“It is important to abide by the rules and regulations set by the government to prevent the spread of the virus.
“All must do their part and we are doing so strictly, ” said Kushan when met at a dormitory in Senai.
Muslim foreign workers also took precautions this year and celebrated Raya in moderation and in small groups.
Yatnor, 42, an Indonesian national who has been working in Malaysia since 1992, said he only goes out to buy basic necessities.
“Even with all this free time, I prefer to stay at home as going out may put me at risk of getting infected.
“I work for a renovation company and have now taken on odd-jobs to get some income.
“I make sure I wear a mask and practice social distancing, ” he said.
Yatnor added that he decided against going home to Batam to wait out the pandemic as he would have to undergo quarantine there and was unsure about the situation.
Iqbal Hussain, 30, from Bangladesh said every Raya holidays, he would visit the city centre with his housemates but not this year.
“We all decided to celebrate among ourselves at home. We were worried about infection if we went out and besides health fears, we are facing financial constraints too.
“Money is tight, so we cooked a simple meal at home. Our usual guests used to be our countrymen working elsewhere but this year all stayed put in their own homes as we were afraid of putting each other at risk of infection, ” he said.
Iqbal said the MCO has affected their income as they were daily wage earners.
“We all work at car wash centres and earn about RM50 a day.
“During the MCO, we were unable to earn any money and had to be prudent in spending what little we had.
“Luckily, our employer gave us food such as rice and eggs.
“Some non-governmental organisations came around to give food aid and all this helped us get through the terrible time, ” said Iqbal who lived with seven other Bangladeshis who worked at car wash centres in Taman Molek here.
For Mohd Ayass Mohd Hussein, 19, from Myanmar, it was fear of the virus that kept him indoors during the holidays.
He said before the MCO, he used to work at a restaurant in Jalan Rosmerah.
“For Raya, I prayed at home and later called my family members back home.
“I have been going out only when I need groceries.
“I make sure to wear a mask and hurry home once I am done, ” said Ayass.
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