Welfare of Indonesian Migrants in Malaysia During the Pandemic

While social distancing and the closure of non-essential businesses during lockdowns were a necessary tool to curb the infection rates in Malaysia, many Indonesian migrants struggled due to the slowed economy.

 

With the number of migrants in Malaysia standing between 14 to 15 million, NGO Migrant Care believe that there are more than a million unrecorded occupants. As of today, most Indonesian migrants are earning closer to the monthly minimum wage of RM1,200. Not to mention unrecorded migrants who are often underpaid. As a result, those with diseases or sicknesses that were apparent before the pandemicas well as those who developed sicknesses during the lockdowns had little to no means to fund their medical services.

 

Although medical needs of the people is one of the most important necessities, migrants revealed that they were substantially more afraid of starving in their homes, compared to the COVID-19 infections. Christina Aryani of the Golkar party revealed that Indonesian migrants only had the means to sustain their living up to 10 days after the lockdown, having no income to forward to their families in their home country. This is mostly because most of the migrants are paid daily or weekly, working as construction workers, factory workers, waitresses and janitors. Due to that, many were hurriedly laid-off when the pandemic had started from the slowed economy.

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