Real-Life Stories: Migration Works Campaign 2016


This is the story of Puran, a Nepalese man who came to Malaysia seeking prosperity. The need to work abroad is seen as a viable option for many to better themselves. This is especially true when it concerns those living in lesser-developed economy nations.

Puran was a cultivator in his village, earning a decent wage to get by day-to-day life, but having to provide for his four children, there wasn’t much left after the bills were paid. So, based on his son’s experience, having had worked in Malaysia for a good three years, he decided to apply to become a laborer here. As with anything these days, there were agents involved in the application process, with a fee of 200,000 Nepalese Rupees (RM 8,056 at today’s exchange rates).

Puran, being the cultivator that he is, sold a buffalo and a few goats to pay for his application. Other applicants aren’t so fortunate, seeing how an average Nepali earns little less than 18,000 NR (RM725) monthly, succumbing to taking personal loans and paying hefty interests to cover the application cost.

Puran arrived in Malaysia and immediately got a job as a security guard, earning a rather decent wage of RM1400 with accommodation and utilities provided. But that is where the good news stops, the nature of his job finds him difficult to prepare meals. He has fellow workmates that bring him meals or it is bought at a nearby restaurant. He only manages to have two meals a day as anything more wouldn’t allow him to save. With the depreciation of the Malaysian Ringgit, Puran notes a loss of 15 to 17% of income due to the weaker ringgit since he arrived. Puran works 12-hour shifts. Though he was promised in his contract one day off per week, he is made to work every single day without any remorse from his employer.

However on a day to day basis, Puran is happy to find ordinary Malaysians friendly and concerned. He adds, “They wish me, Selamat Pagi and ask if I have eaten, some ask if my children are studying and if Nepal is a safe place to live.” After a long day, he goes to bed tired, often thinking of his family.

For Puran, a new day returns with a smile, with some good people who have befriended him. “Their care puts a human touch” he adds with a soft tone.He has no control over his work contract. For now he is happy having a job that can feed his wife and educate his teenage children with a “comfortable life.”

The Migration Works Campaign Team
May 2016