More migrant workers will be coming. Should we welcome them with an open arm? They are our saviours, so to speak, some said. To ease of our daily chores of taking care of our family, our kids, our aging parents etc. etc. Yes, to allow us to make more money to pay them more. Now that we got minimum wage law in force, we may need to pay them minimum wage. Or else, someone out there will again wage a war by saying Malaysia is not a safe country for migrant workers. Of late we have been hearing news them coming into the country by the thousands. PAPA should be elated. The lifting of freeze by the Indonesian authority has brought smiles to their members. So back to business as usual. Business of "trading" people, some would say. Many will be making lots of money. Millions of ringgit will be changing hands again. Both sides will be happy. Many will be smiling to the banks. Their accounts have started to turn black again. On top of that, millions of them will be in country. Free to roam around. I knew this because on one particular day I was at a grocery shop nearby my house. I asked the owner why a couple of Indonesians waiting outside his shop. He told me they were going back home. But they needed to go to KL sentral and were waiting for someone to pick them. Of course, I doubted the shop owner story. These migrant workers will definitely not be going back home to Indonesia. I knew they were trafficking these people. But I did not have any proof. I was buying my newspapers when I stumbled into them.
Further, these migrant workers seemed free to start their own businesses. Nobody bothers. Our authorities seemed lame and helpless to act. Klang is a good case and many many more, for authorities to take heed. Migrant workers have boldly set up shops and turned the place into little Nepal, little Indons or little Myanmar and compete against our locals. No need to go to these countries anymore, some retorted. Everything is there for us to experience. Just ask for it. If we want to have dangdut, just go into the little Indonesian den. Yes, to gyrate your butts with the enchanting and beautiful migrant lasses. You can go to pole dancing joint too. Not to mention, the extras unashamedly being offered by the operators, who unfortunately, are locals?
I was in Kajang town last weekend. It was early month and saw immigrants in groups hanging around. They love to be in groups. Difficult to explain why. In group they felt safer and be able to fend themselves, probably. They crowded in some of the remittance centres such as Western Union that have sprouted in the town, to offer their services. Saw a group of happy Bangladeshis in the Western Union premise doing their transactions. Must be millions of ringgit every month they have sent out their hard earned money back home to their love ones. Also saw a bunch of these immigrants at 4D joints. Must be trying their luck, I guess. Who knows, they could hit the jackpot and end up millionaires themselves. I sometime wonder why they are so many in Kajang. After fresh from our Urban Revilatisation Programme Lab, I now understand why. They love to crowd in poor neigbourhood. So Kajang is not a classy small town after all. If they crowded it by the thousands, then Kajang must have lots of not-so-well-off folks. Unlike Bangi, it's a cheaper place to stay too. You do not see much of them in Damansara, Bangsar or any posh areas, do you? They are not welcome there. But they love to welcome themselves in places like Kajang. Who would bother them? Even if we complain, nothing will happen, some would say. Habis air lior saje. Nothing will happen. They would crowd your apartments. They would crowd your clinics, your hospitals, your public transport and your many many facilities. Turn part of your town into little Nigeria or little Vietnam. Suddenly your pet cats and pet dogs went missing. Vanished even in your compounds because some of them have a craving for these animals.
Well, millions of them in the country and we have millions of problem too. Our kids turn Mat Rempits because they were being marginalized. Others say it's our fault for giving them such a carefree and easy life. No discipline. Why, because parents are so busy making money. Busily making more money to pay for so many things including the services of maids. If "one chore one maid policy" was successfully implemented, parents have to work 24 hours, to ensure enough money to pay for their maids. Luckily, it was not done. But remember we have implemented the minimum wage policy. To be fair to them, they should be paid accordingly. Otherwise, Irene Fernandez, will breathe out that fire again. I remember my son recounted an incident that happened recently. A man was robbed by a group of Mat Rempits. He head got hit by the Rempits' helmets and blood was all over his head. I am sure many of such incidents reported in the news. Unfortunately, many of them Rempits are Malays. Honestly, I do not see Chinese Rempits or Indian Rempits but Malays Rempits, yes. Every time I drive down to KL especially, I would see hundreds of motorcyclists and they are mostly Malays though the same numbers of Malays (including me la) driving their cars too. I would see them wheezing in and out, so fast and without any fear of getting themselves hit by other motorcyclists or other big vehicles. Somebody from the Social Section or Distribution Section should have a serious look into this problem. Why are they on the road and doing many of the illegal activities? What drive them? Drug? Not many of them caught were high on drug. Many of them were SPM leavers and school kids or drop-outs! Probably our PMI Section should study this problem too. We know 80 per cent of our workforce is SPM school leavers and many of them competing with millions of migrant workers to get decent paid jobs. I read in Metro newspaper the other day, where a jobless young man (38 years old) with 8 kids received a financial assistance. He was jobless because nobody willing to give him a job since he was formerly a drug addict. Well, that was what being reported and we may not believe 100 per cent of it. But the fact remains, where our youngs are being marginalized by millions of ever-ready-to-work migrant workers, who willingly accept any pay rate from their prospective employers. Our employers should also take part of the blame. They love to pay peanuts and they got millions of monkeys working for them, some agitating blurted out. If we want to be a high income we should be ready to pay a lot. We should be brave and ready to boldly venture into the third industrial era. Something about addditive manufacturing that I mentioned in my earlier e-mails. No more asembly line kind of manufacturing. Not only will it be low value added but low productivity too. So we can never pay higher wages to our workers because productitivty is simply low. We can never send back millions of these low-skilled migrant workers because we unwillingly and failed to transform our manufacturing structure. yes, we will stuck in the high midlle income country forever, though I do not at all share such labelling, a favourite phrase by the World Bank.
Back to these million problems we are now facing, the police and other government authorities seemed to be combating a losing battle. Vast resources in terms of manpower and money have been spent, yet they have been inundated with millions problems in their hands. Problems created by our locals who are no longer afraid of breaking the laws and compounded by the illegal activities of our migrant workers. Of recent, we have these pseudo African students, who invaded our country by the thousands, with their many money scams and fooling some our women's to become their drug mules.
My celoteh this Monday morning. Not feeling well today. But, the dear me, still needs to say something today.
Dr. Ibrahim bin Abu Ahmad
Malaysian Development Institute (MDI)