Sep 22, 2009

Invasion of the foreign kind

This scene must be very familiar to many Malaysians by now.

Each time, whenever there is a long holiday during the festive seasons, we see many of the foreign workers taking this opportunity to relax and explore the country. In KL, we will see many of them converge in ‘strategic’ locations like KLCC and major shopping malls. There are also many who will converge in popular areas like Jalan TAR and Jalan Silang.The area in Jalan Silang ( behind Kotaraya) is so popular among the Nepalese and Bangladashis that they have set up restaurants and shops. As a Malaysian, if you happen to be in this area, you may be wondering whether you are in Nepal or Bangladesh. Their presence is so overwhelming that it simply makes you feel like a minority there.

In fact, Malaysia is a melting pot of many other nationalities. The largest group is undoubtedly the Indonesians which is not surprising due to the many similarities in culture, language and religion. While the males are mainly construction workers the females either work as maids or in restaurants. The second largest group is the Bangladeshis who seemed adapt to work in many fronts: construction, restaurant, factory and even in Petaling Street. The third largest group is the Burmese. Most of them work in restaurants with many managing stalls in coffee shops. Then there are the Nepalese who work mainly as security guards which suits the reputation of the Gurkhas. We also see of the many Vietnamese who are employed to work in factories throughout the country. There are also the pocketfuls of Indians who work in the IT industries while the Chinese and Thais work in restaurants as cooks.

I believe that the government will not be able to provide a correct statistic of these foreigners who are here either legally or illegally. A rough estimate of about 3 million is almost equal to the Malaysian Indians population, if not more.

As a workforce, although these foreign workers play an important role in supporting our economy, there are some downside as well. There have been many social problems that are attributed to these foreigners: security and health. Robberies have been rampantly committed by a certain group of foreigners while in the health front, when tuberculosis was already extinct here, it has resurfaced again. No thanks to the lax in the health screening checks by the relevant authorities.

What will the impact of these foreign workers be to our economy?
Well, apparently the local bus companies have already felt the impact of these foreigners for survival. A random check in bus stands here and KL showed a ratio almost at one Malaysian to seven foreigners. We have seen them manning stalls and doing retail businesses. Once they have tasted some successes in making money, they are bound to stay on and even take over these small businesses. By then, it will too late for the government to do much to repatriate them. And for the years to come, we will witness a baby boomer of the foreign kind.

Is our dependence on these foreign workers at the expense of the locals or are we just over dependence on them?


Anonymous said...

Your image you use in your article is a bit over shadowed it. The plate like flying object sourcing indicated living things from outer space conquering the earth.
To my thinking it is OK for foreigners to come over to Malaysian land to look for earning. This is the making of transition of man-kind interchanging of culture. The rich needs the poor to develop its country. Usually, the poor needs the spaces to survive. If the rich keep staying stagnate unthinking of changing, it will become poorer a bit in future.
You see some people need constitutional privilege to protect their basic needs such as religion and economic beneficial gains. Without the protection, they will be creepers one day in their destinies.
I'm not complaining the lost I have faced. As I see it through my encounters and experiences in my passing life. I saw rich became poor after sometime. I saw poor being rich in a time after going through hardship coupled with hardworking and well planning. You may say this is fate. But if you see it properly, those ruling elites in this country gaining multiple of wealth just to implement certain policies that will definitely make them richer and richer.
Due to this circulation of poor and rich, how could you possibly ask them to do something to stop the poorer foreigners from coming in to work here?
Certain people are Alibaba minded. They smartly and conveniently rented out their God-give privilege stacks of opportunities earning a meager living do not have to work more than others who eagerly struggle for more seeking rich. This is what I meant it culture exchanging.
This is the proof of our education policy is failure. No body locally is willing to work as the foreigners do. Without the foreigners, who help us?

cancan said...

Anonymous,I have no qualms in allowing the foreigners to seek a living in this country.
Like you, I believe in fate and also the winds of change in life.

When this country seems so overwhelmed with foreign workers and if nothing is done to check their presence,what will this country be, say ten years from now?

Anonymous said...

Foreign workers here in Malaysia you see are in fact overwhelmingly crowded in many places in KL. Their existing is a bit intolerable to accept. Our government won't take precaution measure to limit their coming inward to this land. As long as our businessmen need them to take heavy works and tasks that the locals majority of them refuse to occupy them, our government still needs them to work here.
There are no way to ban or limit them form coming inward.
We have seen them work to help developing this country with moderate emolument. Their contributions in several areas are equally acceptable and complimentary satisfiable.
As you suggest it really needs to set regulation as control to scrutinize them of their behaviors and daily activities. Certain unlawful elements are bringing in disturbances and chaos to local society. Making our towns in a state of lacking peacefulness. It needs to top up certain level of measure to lessen the unwanted elements in order to coax off disasters which could be caused by them. These must be done in proper mean.
I do hope the concerned authority would by chances getting to read your blogging suggestion and take up your heel.