Life as a migrant worker in Malaysia
- 18 August 2011
- From the section World News TV
Hafizal Islam, 22, is one of millions of migrant workers who come to Malaysia in search of a better-paying job.
He earns $470 (£285) a month - three times more than he would earn working as an electrician in his village in Bangladesh, he says - doing odd jobs on a construction site outside of Kuala Lumpur.
Migrant workers like Mr Islam form the backbone of the construction and plantation industries. The government says this reliance on cheap labour has delayed investment from these industries in creating more knowledge-based jobs.
The migrant population has also become the scapegoat for the country's crime rate and other social problems, which is why authorities are restricting the number of foreign workers allowed into the country.
Mr Islam says it is unfair since they are only taking up jobs that Malaysians are not willing to do anymore.
He sends over half of his income back home to help pay for his mother's diabetes medicine and to build a house for his parents.
In an effort to save more money Mr Islam lives on the construction site and rarely leaves it. Not much of a life for a young man - but Mr Islam says it is the only way to save up enough to have a family of his own in Bangladesh.