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On 3rd of July 2020, Al Jazeera released a video titled "Locked Up in Malaysia's Lockdown" on their channel 101 East. The video talked about how illegal foreign workers in Malaysia are being detained in detention centres during COVID-19 and being treated inhumanely. Al Jazeera accused the Malaysian government of being racist. One detainee even compared their value to a dog. We Malaysians feel that this is unacceptable and biased.

For one, those foreign workers are here ILLEGALLY. They have no valid documents whatsoever, and we feel that the treatment given to them by our government is more than humane. Even being illegal, they are not abused like they would be in some countries. Instead, they are given 3 meals a day, a place to stay and healthcare for COVID-19. This is much more than most countries would do for illegal immigrants. The government even sends them back to their countries once they get better.

Second, placement of illegal foreign workers in detention centres. Where else would we place them ? In hotels and houses ? There are thousands of them, and the government cannot possibly place them anywhere they want, for the safety of our own citizens. Like any other country, Malaysia prioritizes its own citizens over illegal immigrants. Besides, COVID-19 is widespread among those immigrants as most of them stay close and even in the same apartment complex. It is much easier to gather them in one specialized place for testing, isolation and care rather than placing them in different places which would burden and tire out our frontliners. 

On the issue of racism, what Malaysia is doing is not based on racism, but based on the safety and well-being of its citizens. If Malaysia was racist, she wouldn't have accepted 177,800 refugees in the country, that comprises refugees from Myanmar (including Rohingyas), Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Palestine and many more.


Our frontliners like doctors, nurses, policemen and military personnel have worked tirelessly for the past few months to contain the spread of the virus, even isolating themselves from their families to protect them. Our government officials, too, especially our Prime Minister, Minister of Defense, Minister of Health, Director General of Health and others have done their absolute best together with the citizens to achieve our current 93% recover rate and thus, we feel that this video by Al Jazeera is disrespectful to them. When looked closely, we actually see a trend in Al Jazeera's videos where most of their videos about Malaysia is negative. Malaysia is shown as a cruel country in their videos and is constantly slandered by them on the grounds of racism. 

As such, we demand an official apology from Al Jazeera for dishonoring Malaysia including the government officials, frontliners and citizens. 

The link for the video :