Thousands of foreign workers have died in Malaysia in recent years from accidents, illnesses and suicide. They work in so-called ‘3D’ conditions – dirty, dangerous and difficult.
Critics say the death rate is a result of slack safety standards, poor housing conditions and weak enforcement of laws to protect them. Last year, more than 1,000 foreign workers died from accidents, illnesses and suicide.
Malaysia is the largest importer of labour in Asia. Migrant workers provide cheap labour in construction, manufacturing and plantation industries. There are more than three million foreign workers, of which nearly a third is undocumented.
Most of the migrant workers come from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and Nepal.
Desperate to repay debts from the high recruitment agency fees and under financial pressure from their families back home, migrant workers are vulnerable to exploitation. Many suffer non-payment of wages, abuse, serious injuries and even death.
On this episode, the 101 East team meets those who risk it all to make a living in Malaysia and ask: Is enough being done to keep them safe?