Discrimination Against Migrant Workers During The Pandemic: Reassessing The Country’s Obligation Under International Law

Main Article Content

Ahmad Nasyran Azrae
Harlida Abdul Wahab
Fatimah Zailly Ahmad Ramli
Nur Aina Atiqah Mohd Arif


Migrant workers have contributed significantly to the development of the Malaysian economic ever since their first arrival in the 1980s. Over the years, the migrant workers have faced constant discrimination and exploitation, and this unfortunate event has further escalated following the the widespread of the pandemic COVID-19. The imposition of the Movement Control Order (MCO) to curb the spread of COVID-19 had force many non-essential sectors were to hibernate and/or minimise their operations. The impacts from this measure were felt more by the migrant, vis-a-vis workers. They were significantly discriminated in their works, including facing job termination, salary cuts, forced leave, etc. Their premises were raided by the authority, which were seemed to be more focusing on criminalising undocumented migrant workers, as opposed to contain the spread of COVID-19. The acts of handling the migrant workers during the pandemic have drew immense criticism, especially from the human rights societies. Accordingly, this paper examines the legal obligation required under the international conventions and the national laws in the treatment of migrant workers with a view to analyse the possible discriminatory treatment committed by against the migrant workers during the pandemic. The study uses a conventional or traditional research methodology, looking at and discussing the pertinent legislation found in the primary data (such as international treaties and local laws) and other published works in the type of secondary data, such as articles, teaching materials, and periodicals. The study finds that discrimination is an area under the human rights law which the international communities seek to combat. Several key international treaties were signed to this effect. Whilst Malaysia chooses not to participate in few international conventions to curb discrimination, the absence of anti-discrimination law and explicit legal provisions on the subject matter has left lacunae and a vague legal position in Malaysia.

Article Details

How to Cite
Azrae, A. N. ., Wahab, H. A. ., Ramli, F. Z. A. ., & Arif, N. A. A. M. . (2022). Discrimination Against Migrant Workers During The Pandemic: Reassessing The Country’s Obligation Under International Law . BiLD Law Journal, 7(4s), 229–243. Retrieved from https://bildbd.com/index.php/blj/article/view/508