Kuala Lumpur, Jun 27 (ANI): More than 1,000 migrant workers from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nepal and Vietnam hired to build the new Istana Negara in Malaysia claim that they have not been paid over the last three months, despite working seven days a week.
Living in fear and frustration, the workers alleged they were exploited and cheated and held to ransom by their employers because many of them do not have work permits.
Most of them stay in kongsi or long wooden houses near the construction site.
Some workers claim that they only have one meal a day. According to workers interviewed by The Star, some employers threatened to call the police when they persisted in asking for their wages.
Several workers even claimed the police and Rela officers harassed them and that their possessions like mobile phones, cigarettes and canned drinks were confiscated, The Star reports.
When contacted, Human Resources Minister Dr S. Subramaniam said he would ask the Labour Department to investigate the matter and take immediate action.
Indonesian Punawi, who does plastering work, said he had not been paid for five months and barely had any money left for food.
"I only manage with one meal a day and that's because the foodstall owner allows me to eat on credit. My work permit has expired and I don't have RM3,000 to renew it," he added.
Jatim, 37, said their employer would hold back their wages for three to four months and they would subsequently be paid a month's salary. (ANI)