Malaysia promises labour law reform amid allegations of mistreatment of foreign workers

The most recent government data show Malaysia is host to just shy of 1.8 million documented foreign workers.
The most recent government data show Malaysia is host to just shy of 1.8 million documented foreign workers.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

In mid-2016, 33-year-old Ekwanto set out from his village of Gunem in Central Java and headed to Malaysia, where he hoped to earn enough working on a construction project to open a small grocery store when he returned home.

But it was not to be. The job ended after three months, when the project owner suddenly returned to his village in southern Sumatra. That alone would have been enough to send Ekwanto home, even if he had a proper work permit, which he did not.

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