SUHAKAM: 1,158 Nepali Workers Have Died In Malaysia Since 2018

The commission adds that a major cause of death is suicide due to losing their jobs and getting stranded in the country.

Cover image via Free Malaysia Today

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A total of 1,158 Nepali workers in Malaysia have died over 1,308 days, according to the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM)

The commission, in a press conference yesterday, 22 October, said that it will look into a report by the Nepal Embassy about the increase in the number of death involving their citizens here.

Malay Mail reported a SUHAKAM commissioner Jerald Joseph saying that they received information from the Nepal embassy about the high number of Nepali migrants who died from January 2018 to July 2021.

Some of the causes of death were workplace accidents, pneumonia, and COVID-19.

"The Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) must conduct detailed investigations on the main causes of accidents at work involving Nepali citizens, besides taking stern action against employers who are found to be abandoning safety issues at work," Free Malaysia Today quoted Jerald as saying.

"We want to know the reason why the deaths happened and what is responsible."

There are some 300,000 Nepali workers in Malaysia. Many of them come here to work as security guards as the Ministry of Home Affairs only allows Nepali nationals to work in that sector.

The commission adds that a major cause of death among the workers is suicide due to losing their jobs and getting stranded in Malaysia

Jerald, while noting that the commission does not have enough information on the matter, attributed many of the suicide cases to financial difficulties during the COVID-19 lockdown in the country.

"We have migrant workers who lost their jobs during the lockdowns. They wanted to go back to Nepal but were not allowed to do so. The stress may have led them [dying by] suicide," he said.

"We were informed by the embassy that many of them were unable to go back, but they had no salary to sustain themselves here since they lost their jobs due to business closures. Who will be held responsible for these deaths? How can we eliminate completely or, at the very least, decrease these cases?" The Vibes quoted the SUHAKAM commissioner as saying.

SUHAKAM commissioner Jerald Joseph.

Image via Firdaus Latif/Malay Mail

Jerald wants authorities to investigate the underlying reasons

"What is the cause of suicide - is it stress, tension, mental health (issues)? Are companies providing an HR (Human Resources) policy that could help these migrant workers?" Malaysiakini quoted Jerald as asking.

Separately, Free Malaysia Today reported that the Nepal embassy had earlier shared their concerns over the high number of Nepali migrant workers dying by suicide in Malaysia.

The suicide cases in 2018 and 2019 were 49 and 45 respectively, with 46 cases recorded by the embassy in 2020. So far, the 2021 numbers have not been revealed, the news portal reported.

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.

If you or anyone you know is lonely, distressed, or having negative thoughts, please call these Malaysian hotlines:

Contact: +603-76272929
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Contact: 15999
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For a more thorough directory of resources, head over to the websites of Malaysian Mental Health Association or MINDAKAMI.

Meanwhile, an Indonesian woman was beaten and locked in a room by her Malaysian employer in Kelana Jaya recently: