Following the recent screenings that have been organised for Crossroads, our advocacy video project on migrants, this January saw the first community screening amongst Indonesian migrant workers living in a village in Sungei Pinang, Klang, Malaysia.
The event, which was attended by an audience of 25 migrant workers, was facilitated by Muhammad Mundir, one of the Crossroads filmmakers and a migrant from Indonesia himself with assistance from our local partners, KOMAS.
The community in Sungei Pinang consists of mostly migrant workers from Madura, Indonesia. Only a week ago, they witnessed a worrying incident, where some of them had been cheated by their employer. Mundir had requested the Malaysian NGO Tenaganita to advise and intervene, and so our screening was also a follow-up to that.
During the first of two rounds of discussions, the attendees shared their own experiences of facing problems related to not having a valid work permit due to being cheated by various agencies. Mundir assured them that they are victims and have legitimate rights as workers and human beings even if they were undocumented.
After the second set of films which featured ‘Polis Pao’, Mundir spoke about how to legally get a motorbike license, as many migrants are caught by the police for riding illegally. The importance of knowing the law and their rights was emphasized and it was added that future workshops can be organised on these topics if people were keen to know more.
Once again, the film that had the most emotional impact was ‘Sekolah Harapan Bangsa‘, which tells the story of a school run for the children of Indonesian migrants in Sabah, East Malaysia. It was related to us that most of the migrants at the screening sent back or left their children in Indonesia.
In our view, the first Crossroads community screening was successful in bringing together migrants who face similar issues and are only now beginning to realise their rights and that there are groups that can support them during their time in Malaysia.