Is your immediate neighbour an undocumented foreign worker?

COVID-19 has brought many community related and human rights issues to light. Many of these issues have been kept under the radar for decades, or made known only to a select few.

One such issue is the living arrangements of foreign workers in the country. Yes, the unmentionable, heinous living conditions forced upon them.

But also, the question of whether they should be living right next door to us.

While many countries adopt policies which only allow foreign/migrant workers to live in designated areas, foreign workers in Malaysia are housed in apartments and rented homes everywhere.

To curb the spread of COVID-19, relevant authorities should first address the problem of allowing foreigners (documented or otherwise) to be living within our housing areas, Malaysia Asean APEC lead consumerist Datuk Jacob George told FocusM.

Datuk Jacob George

“Companies and agencies which bring in foreign workers, must ensure proper housing close to the proximity of their place of work. It could even be in warehouses which adhere to international standards for workers, proper living conditions.

“Today, many foreign workers live in our taman and patron our neighbourhood mamak. This is extremely worrying as cases among their community are increasing and we don’t know who has been tested.”

Jacob said there is an urgent need for a high-powered task force, consisting of inter-ministerial parties and non-governmental agencies, to hold employers accountable.

Elaborating, Jacob commented that while many glove companies which have been apprehended have made promises to right their wrong, nothing has been crystalised.

He added that big names such as Top Glove have acknowledged their error, only because they were caught.

Unfortunately, until directors of these companies are brought to court, we won’t see much change because they are not sorry for their actions, the veteran consumer advocate added.

“The last resort would be to boycott products from these errant employers, especially from overseas buyers. This will definitely put the fear in them to make a sincere and definite change.”

Until then, Jacob said we are a ticking timebomb just waiting for the next cluster or pandemic. – Dec 27, 2020

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