Asia Sentinel: The cycle of blaming foreign workers for its woes has begun in Malaysia
Imran Imtiaz Shah Yacob
31 January 2008
The cycle of blaming foreign workers for its woes has begun in Malaysia
The Malaysian government’s recent decision to send home at least 200,000 foreign workers by 2009 and to push more out of the country by 2015 hints at the deep divisions that the migrants, legal and illegal alike, have stirred in their host country.
As with most countries, when hard times start to appear – and Malaysia’s economy is starting to turn down – migrants get the blame for rising crime, stealing jobs from the locals, cultural pollution, overloading school systems, not carrying their share of the tax burden and even spreading HIV, almost none of which is true. Nonetheless, the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi feels it has no choice but to put a stop to the influx in an effort to solve many of the country’s problems, which analysts say isn’t going to do much good, and in fact could do considerable harm.