While many Malaysians get to rest and enjoy the fruit of their labour today, it is just another day of work for foreign migrant workers in Malaysia.

It is a long weekend in celebration of Labour Day today and Wesak Day on Sunday.

But for the foreign migrant workers, especially the Nepalis mostly from the Gurkhas and Madhesi descents, it would be one of the most difficult times having to work, while worrying about their families and friends affected in the earthquake back home.

“I cannot go back even if I want to… I don’t have any money to go back.”

“They are safe but not okay. They are very sad and scared,” said 36-years-old worker, who identified himself as Bahadur.

He said it was devastating when he heard about the quake from friends but was more devastated when he could not get in touch with his family due to all the destroyed infrastructure and communication lines.

“But later I managed to speak to my wife. My whole village is gone,” Bahadur said shaking his head.

He was taking a short break from his work.

When asked if the management allowed him to return home or offered any aid, he could only spread his hands, gesturing he does not know.

“If I go home, I will need money to build a house, I don’t have the money for it. I don’t know what to do… I really don’t know what to do from here,” Bahadur said, staring at the ground and avoiding eye contact most of the time.

The Nepal Embassy, in a statement on Thursday, has urged employers here to allow the Nepal-born workers to return home with at least one-month’s salary to attend to their families, in this time of devastation.

On April 25, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal leaving more than 5,000 dead and tens of thousands injured and homeless.

According to the Nepal Foreign Ministry, it was reported that a study showed there were 1,876,802 Nepalis living in Malaysia since last year.


The Migration Works Campaign Team

1 May 2015