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'The saddest Eid' - coronavirus cuts lifeline for Indonesian migrant families

Jumat, 22 Mei 2020 / 11:03 WIB
'The saddest Eid' - coronavirus cuts lifeline for Indonesian migrant families
ILUSTRASI. Coronavirus cuts lifeline for Indonesian migrant families. ANTARA FOTO/Septianda Perdana/aww.

Sumber: Reuters | Editor: Yudho Winarto

KONTAN.CO.ID - ​​KUALA LUMPUR/JAKARTA. Since leaving his village in Indonesia to work abroad three decades ago, Wasito has never failed to send money home at Eid to support family in the world's largest Muslim country.

This year he cannot.

Coronavirus lockdowns around the world have forced companies to cut jobs or wages, and migrant workers such as Wasito are particularly vulnerable because of inadequate job protections.

"My wife has been calling every day and crying. We have to cancel Eid celebrations this year," said Wasito, who works as a plumber in Malaysia and like many Indonesians goes by one name.

Eid celebrations, due to start this weekend, mark the end of the holiest time in the Muslim calendar, the Ramadan month of fasting.

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Most businesses in Malaysia have reopened this month, but Wasito said he was not paid his monthly wages of 2,500 ringgit ($575) during the six-week shutdown, forcing him to borrow money from his employer to get food that he now has to repay.

"I did not dare to ask why I wasn't paid because I don't want to be fired, and I'm too embarrassed to borrow money again for Eid," the 49-year-old father of four told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.