Foreign Workers in Petaling Street

Kuala Lumpur's Petaling Street (Chinatown), a tourist attraction well known for its local Chinese hawker fare and infamous for selling pirated clothes and accessories including bootleg DVDs and CDs, has in recent years seen an influx of foreign workers tending the stalls and shops in place of locals.

A local tabloid reported that the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) together with various other enforcement agencies like the police and immigration department detained 38 foreigners working illegally among the 773 petty traders in Petaling Street, on Monday.

I'm sure there are more than 38 foreigners working illegally in Petaling Street as one can hardly see locals working at the stalls and shops these days. As prior warning was given last month to the petty traders about employing illegal workers, I suppose most foreigners without work permits have temporarily gone into hiding to evade being arrested.

One can't blame the local traders for employing foreigners instead of locals. Apart from the relatively cheap labour, these people work harder and are more enterprising. What's amazing about these foreigners, many of whom are Bangladeshis and Burmese, is that they can speak reasonably fluent Malay and Cantonese. Most have picked up the local languages within a few months in this country. Shame of us Malaysians who still can't speak these languages well despite having lived in this country for so long.

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ps yeo said...

it is amazing how these foreign workers (bangladeshi and burmese)pick up cantonese, malay and english so fast. im very impressed.

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