Malaysia ImmigrantsOctober 7th, 2006 by webmaster
Malaysia is vowing to intensify operations to arrest undocumented workers in the country, even though all its detention centres are overcrowded. There are estimated to be more than one million undocumented foreigners in Malaysia, many in state of Sabah, on Borneo.
While Sabah, and Malaysia, in many ways owes its development to immigrants- documented or otherwise. There is a rising fear among the locals of Sabah that their state is being take over by foreigners.
Our Correspondent Vanitha Nadaraj reports on the un-easy relationship. This coffee shop in Eastern Sabah is filled with immigrants or migrant children.
Everyone in this Lahad Datu shop is either from the Southern Philippines or are Bugis people from Indonesia.
The man I sit next to came here 20 years ago and has a Malaysian identity card. His teenage children go to government schools and now think of themselves as Malaysians.
“When there is a badminton game between Malaysia and Indonesia on TV, we support Indonesia but they support Malaysia.”
Such feelings are not unusual. Like many others, his children grew up as Malaysians.
These two cab drivers are chatting outside a shopping mall in Kota Kinabula. Almost all the drivers here are of Indonesian descent but hold Malaysian Identity Cards.
There are many professions that are dominated by migrants; plantation areas, construction sites and factories.
The Indonesian Consul-General Didik Eko Pujianto says they do the 3D jobs - those that are dangerous, difficult and dirty. The type of jobs locals shy away from.
Every day his office is swarmed with Indonesian coming to complain about poor working conditions, abusive bosses and poor wages.
One of them is Marina. She says she was tricked into coming here from South Sulawesi, thinking she would earn a decent salary in a prawn factory.
“In Indonesia, it was agreed that the salary would be RM 350. However once I got here, I was only given RM60 a month. I complained to my agent in Indonesia and he just said come back to Indonesia and we can work out the problem.”
Marina has left her job and is looking for another one.
Life is often hard, yet people keep coming and there are many success stories. Immigrants who come empty-handed can return home with the fruits of their labour.
A Sabahan businessman John, tells me recently watched a family leave in that way at night.
“Basically, it was a family of six people with all their belongings, TV, radio, whatever they had bought down here. They got into ma sampan which is about 15ft long, 15 horsepower engine. About 8 o’clock at night, they left for the Philippines. The nearest port of destination was Bungau - that’s the closest place. Actually, there are a few dropping off points along the coast.”
Just 10 kilometres from where this family took the boat is Kampung Paris.
Paris stands for Penempatan Anak Perantau Indonesia Sabah or ‘The settlement for Indonesian immigrants in Sabah’.
The people who live here are all from Indonesia and many have been very successful. Luxury cars roam the streets.
In this area migrants dominate.
There are other more notorious migrants areas here too, like Pulau Gaya and Telipok in Kota Kinabalu. These are slum areas where few locals dare to go.
Even the policemen are afraid to go in there.
Simon Sipaun is the former highest ranking civil servant in Sabah.
He tells me of a incident that happened in 1996 that had a big impact on locals which he says is still playing in the minds of many locals.
“Many people still remember the incident. They came from the Philippines, I think. They came by boat. Lahad Datu is near the sea, as you know. They just parked their boat by the seaside. They were dressed in uniform, carrying guns. So the local people thought they were part of the armed forces of Malaysia. And they went to the coffee shop, put their guns next to them, had coffee. And then walked casually to the bank, robbed the bank, shot … I think … people killed”
He goes on to say that there is a growing fear that Sabah will become increasingly lawless if foreigners are allowed to come and leave here freely.
Allot of crimes are associated with these people. The Minister of Health recently has said that at least 30% of our hospitals, those who come to hospitals for treatment are foreigners. Many of them bring communicable diseases. A lot of them come with forged documents. A lot of them also leave without paying anything. If you go at night time, especially in Kota Kinabalu or other main towns in Sabah, you don’t feel safe. Because there are a lot of petty crimes. Not only petty, serious crimes as well.
A local politician of the UMNO party, who refused to give his name, says there is fear among Sabahans about the motives of the immigrants.
He visited the Southern Philippines and claims that immigrants are being used as Spies.
In the southern Philippines, there is a practise of offering boats for information. An immigrant is given a boat on loan, to go in and out of Sabah to gather information. With each piece of information, the loan gets smaller, until one day the boat belongs to the immigrant. Why is Philippines still interested in Sabah? Sabah is still unsafe. We cannot keep quiet and let this happen.
This claim by the Umno leader is very difficult to verify. However it highlights the fear among local Sabahans that one day there land will fall into the hands of either the immigrants or the Philippines.
This is Vanitha Nadaraj reporting in Kota Kinabalu.
It’s NOT only migrants from the Southern Philippines and East Indonesia that are changing the face of Sabah, but in a period of just 30 years, the number of Malays in Sabah went up by over 1,500 %.
Malays are not the natives of Sabah. They are the predominant race only on the peninsula, however there have been no mass migration from the peninsula to Sabah.
In the next weeks program, Vanitha Nadaraj investigates how migrants have been used by politicians to gain votes in elections and stay in power.
Dipetik dari artikel oleh: Vanitha Nadaraj