For Labour Day this year, we spoke to different migrant workers who are currently in KL and asked each one to take a selfie photo. These are the faces of KL’s labourers: often unseen, they work to build our roads, clean our offices and cook our food.
From kitchen hands to construction workers, carpenters to cleaners, the people we met had different stories. What brought them to Malaysia was the hope of finding a better life.
“I’ve been here seven years, going back in June. I used to work as a cleaner. They promised us RM1000 or RM1200, but we only get RM300 to RM600 a month. They take the rest.” (A, carpenter and construction worker from Bangladesh, age 25).
“I go back home maybe two, three years once. Duit tak cukup. I have two sons, one is eight years old, born in 2005. The other one is six.” (H, carpenter and construction worker from Bangladesh, age 39).
“Sometimes police catch me and ask a lot of questions, get a lot of money. Last time they wanted to fine me RM1000. So I sold my laptop for RM1000. All my documents, photos, lost.” (I, restaurant worker from Bangladesh, 26).
I came here scared, nervous because of different places, people, religious, traditional and custom and most of who is my employer, what characteristics they have, and how they treat me (S, domestic worker from The Philippines, 25).
“I’ve been here twice, the last time I came back I stayed for seven years. I have two kids. Nak sara diri la. I like Malaysia, semua baik.” (A, carpenter and construction worker from Bangladesh, age 38).
“I came… 2006. Went back only three times. Ada isteri la, anak tiga tahun. I got cheated by my employers, the one in Port Klang. I’m waiting for my permit, nak balik Indonesia. Anak nak mula belajar.” (S, carpenter and construction worker from Indonesia, 36).
“I came here two years ago. Worked as a contractor at building sites and all. My wife is here too, she used to work at a kedai makan. She’s pregnant now. Tunggu dia salin baru kami balik kampung. It’s easier to find jobs here.” (M, construction worker from Indonesia, age 31).
“I want to study and settle here. I want to get a diploma. I used to study hotel management. My hometown is Chittagong. Maybe Hari Raya, I’ll go back because my mother wants to see me.” (L, restaurant worker from Bangladesh, 21).
Interviews by the Poskod.MY team