KUALA LUMPUR (April 21): Tenaganita has expressed concerned that migrants are being made "scapegoats" during the Covid-19 pandemic and are being deprived of aid, Malaysiakini reported today.
The human rights group said migrants are more vulnerable and are most in need of help.
"Undocumented migrants and refugees who do not have stable work or rely on a daily wage have been disproportionately affected by the movement control order (MCO), many of whom are now suffering from hunger.
"There have been countless reports from the migrant and refugee communities of people going hungry and there are no government policies in place that protect them," it said in a statement cited by Malaysiakini today.
According to Malaysiakini, Tenaganita, in collaboration with The Refugee for Refugees, Liga Rakyat Demokratik and Dapur Jalanan have distributed food aid to some 3,000 families, be it low-income Malaysians, refugees and migrant workers.
"Migrants and refugees are most in need of food and aid at this moment as many have lost their incomes. Most of them have low-wage jobs that require their physical presence and do not offer the privilege of working from home.
"The sentiment to deny food or delay aid to those without documentation is harmful, discriminatory, and is based on nothing more than their access to documentation.
"Many undocumented migrants attain this status through no fault of their own. Human trafficking, the lengthy visa renewal process, and employer exploitation are among some reasons that result in many migrants lacking valid documentation," it said.
As such, Tenaganita urged not to discriminated migrants in the distribution of aid during the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Tenaganita strongly urges volunteers to continue to provide aid to the migrant and refugee communities regardless of legal status.
"And we want to take this opportunity to thank the tireless volunteers and generous donors who have been providing aid to these vulnerable communities in this time of need," it said.
According to Malaysiakini, the Health Ministry is stepping up testing of migrant workers despite the improving Covid-19 situation in the country.
This is considering the spike in Covid-19 cases in Singapore which was traced to migrant dormitories.
The Malaysiakini report also said PSM had warned that Putrajaya's reluctance to help the migrant population could be a major weakness in the country's battle against Covid-19.
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