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Migrant Workers Plead Locals Not To Blame Them for Spread of Covid-19

Migrant Workers Plead Locals Not To Blame Them for Spread of Covid-19

Tasneem Nazari

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Some migrants working at the Selayang wholesale market are disappointed by the fact that some locals are blaming them for the string of Covid-19 infections in the area.

In the recent few days, there have also been harsh accusations by locals on social media, mostly targeted toward Rohingya migrants and refugees in the country.

A migrant worker from Myanmar who preferred to remain unnamed told Malay Maol that blaming the entire migrant community, which comprised of various nationalities, was unfair. Adding that as of now, even the authorities have yet to confirm who was the patient zero in the area.

They cannot blame everything on migrant workers just because the majority of cases were detected among migrant workers.

Myanmar national via Malay Mail
A foreign worker shops for supplies at a sundry shop at the Taman Wilayah low-cost flats near the Kuala Lumpur wholesale market April 21, 2020. (Credit: Malay Mail)

The Burmese national also highlighted that most migrant workers who were employed at the Selayang wholesale market did not have the luxury of time for social activities as they worked long hours.

Daily routine for some start at 11pm preparing for market operation at 1am the next day, they will work right up to 7am.

Myanmar national via Malay Mail

He explained that some of them even work double shifts, meaning they would take a short break and then continue to work the day shift until 7pm. After that, they would head home to eat and sleep before repeating the whole process again the following day.

Considering the fact that Covid-19 is easily spread, he also said that anyone could have brought the disease into the market, such as a random customer or supplier who might have not been aware that he or she was infected.

The migrant worker community should not be taking all the blame.

Myanmar national via Malay Mail
Foreign workers at a sundry shop. (Credit: Malay Mail)

Meanwhile, another Burmese migrant worker also interviewed by Malay Mail rejected the perception that most of his compatriots lived in Selayang. He argued saying that it was actually far from where most of the Burmese community is concentrated.

He explained that they tend to live close to wherever they work because it doesn’t make sense to travel so far when they are already struggling to earn a day’s meal.

There are more in locations like Ampang and Cheras. Selayang is only home to the fourth largest Myanmar community.

Second Myanmar national via Malay Mail

He too highlighted that the Burmese weren’t the only migrant workers there, but pointed out that there were many Bangladeshis, Indonesians, and even Pakistanis

Malay Mail interviewed the migrant workers during a recent visit to the area currently under the enhanced movement control order (EMCO).


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