Putrajaya is now looking to sign an agreement with Tokyo to send our people over to work blue-collar jobs.
And this sounded like a good thing at first. A lot of us had dreamt about life in an advanced country like Japan.
But, the harsh reality is, Malaysians are going to get the short end of the stick.
Underneath the beautiful culture and polite demeanours the Japanese are known for, lies a dark side that is not at all friendly to foreign workers. Something Dr Mahathir and the Japanese government won’t tell you.
In 2008 alone, 35 foreign interns died working in Japan, and in 2010, there were 27 deaths. These deaths are not due to workplace mishaps or anything like that. According to British newspaper daily The Telegraph, these deaths were caused by the Japanese forcing upon slave labour working conditions on them.
Things had not improved since then. Foreign workers are exploited till this day to enable Japan to get ready for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. In 2015, VICE News produced a documentary highlighting the abuse foreign workers suffered in Japan. Many of the “interns” were forced into menial labour, underpaid, harassed sexually, and finally left Japan saddled with insurmountable debt. *plays part journalist calling the whole thing government-sponsored human trafficking*
And at the end of the day, the Japanese government refuses to even acknowledge these workers as “immigrants”. Rampant racism is yet another not-so-beautiful trait the Japanese refuse to acknowledge.
Human Resource Minister M Kula Segaran claimed that our future workers working in Japan gain skills that can be brought back to Malaysia. But, be honest with yourself, how much experience can a blue-collar job actually offer? Especially in industries like cleaning, restaurants, hotels, and construction.
The Look East Policy has tumbled a long way from what it used to be in the 1980s. Back then, we send our own to learn from Japan’s finest in engineering and medicine. Today, our leaders plan to export us as janitors, maids and labourers.