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Indonesian migrants brave treacherous seas for Malaysian dream

Aljazeera, Indonesia, 28 December 2021 - When Indonesian migrant labourer Figo Paroji worked on a construction site in Malaysia, the end of the year would always bring a sense of trepidation.

“I would campaign every year. I wanted to raise awareness amongst migrant workers coming from Indonesia illegally by boat and warn them not to make the crossing in November or December,” Paroji, who worked in the western state of Selangor from 2006 to 2019, told Al Jazeera. “At the end of the year the waves were always huge and it was so risky.”

Paroji has left Malaysia and is now a coordinator at the Indonesia Migrant Workers’ Union, but the waves of Indonesian workers making the treacherous voyage keep coming.

On December 15, a boat carrying some 50 migrant workers from Indonesia capsized off the coast of Johor state in Malaysia in inclement weather.

Fourteen survivors were found on Tanjung Balau Beach – along with the wreckage of the boat – and 18 bodies were recovered, according to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency. At least 20 people are still missing, presumed dead.



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