Netizens Criticise Mistreatment Of Migrant Workers Being Transported In An Open Lorry
Recent photos and videos showing a lorry openly transporting migrant workers with pink wristbands are raising concerns among Malaysians about our treatment or rather, mistreatment of migrant workers in this country.
According to Kuala Muda district police chief ACP Adzli Abu Shah, the authorities had ordered 135 workers at a chicken processing plant in Sungai Lalang, Kedah to be sent to the Kuala Muda PKD (District Health Office) for investigation, following a Covid-19 outbreak at the factory.
Instead of providing decent transportation, the employer decided to arrange for a special lorry to carry all 135 positive individuals to the Kuala Muda PKD in three different trips. The photos showed the lorry making its third trip with 48 Covid-19 positive individuals wearing pink quarantine wristbands.
The lorry driver has since been fined for misusing a Motor Vehicle License, while the employer will be “investigated under Section 270 of the Penal Code for negligent or mischievous acts that may cause an infection with a life-threatening disease,” said Adzli.
However, many tweets have also since surfaced with people criticising the lorry driver and the employer for “transporting people like cattle on lorries”, with many more calling the action “inhumane” and “degrading”.
Can we agree at least that transporting people like cattle on lorries is unacceptable? So many bus drivers out of jobs since MCO rent why not engage their services? And don't tell me oh migrant workers/PATI/factory workers hallo your humanity is selective based on legal status? pic.twitter.com/eKiXhcmYGt — #EndChildMarriage – Azira 🇲🇾 🌺 (@ladymissazira) June 13, 2021
Regardless of their legal status, migrant workers are also human beings who deserved to be treated with common decency and respect. More importantly, it has been repeatedly acknowledged that these “undocumented” migrant workers actually entered our country through legal means, but most of them were cheated by exploitative employers and employment agents who intentionally refused to renew the worker’s visas and even withhold their passports.
There are also netizens who urged others to put themselves in the shoes of the migrant workers – wouldn’t we want to be treated fairly while we are working overseas?
Bayangkan kalau bangsa kita yang memburuh di negeri orang, legal mahupun illegal, dilayan macam ini – apa respon kita? Malaysia, we are better than this. pic.twitter.com/GAc1tSYPf0 — Adam Adli (@AdamAdli) June 13, 2021
Many activists have also criticised the government’s decision to crackdown on undocumented migrant workers as this would inevitably cause more people to go into hiding, resulting in undetected Covid-19 cases. The only way forward is to achieve herd immunity, and experts believe that this starts with vaccinating all migrant workers without resorting to threats and scare tactics.
You cannot achieve herd immunity if you exclude migrant workers from vaccination. Migrant workers are not going to come forward to be vaccinated if you scare them with your actions. https://t.co/k77OpPLtWm — Syahredzan Johan (@syahredzan) June 7, 2021
It is difficult enough that we are battling an invisible plague, the last thing we need is to lose our empathy and humanity on each other.