Report: Embassy concerned by high death, suicide rates among Nepali workers

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Report: Embassy concerned by high death, suicide rates among Nepali workers
Report: Embassy concerned by high death, suicide rates among Nepali workers

There were 284 Nepali workers who died in Malaysia last year, a high number that has caused concern for officials in the Nepal embassy.

Out of that number, 46 committed suicide, said the embassy's second secretary Pratik Karki, as reported by Free Malaysia Today.

In 2019, 49 committed suicide out of 298 deaths, and in 2018, it was 45 out of 347, he said.

"We get an average of about 20 deaths a month involving Nepalis so this is another worry too," Pratik (above) said.

The embassy cannot confirm whether the movement control order was a major contributing factor but he said there was one such case last December.

The worker's permit had expired about eight months ago and he wanted to return home due to the pandemic but was forced to continue working, Pratik said.

"We asked the employer and he told us it took a much longer time to obtain an exit visa from the Immigration Department during the pandemic.

"Apparently, he was told that there was a lack of staff as many were working from home," he said.

Pratik questioned the reason behind the delay of the exit visas when the government had already frozen the intake of all foreign workers and was also not renewing existing work permits.

Pratik also cast doubt on the veracity of the cause of death for the Nepali workers who had 'suicide' listed on their death certificates.

"However, since it was an official document, the embassy had to accept it," he said.

He also believed that some of the workers could have been driven to suicide due to the frustration of not getting what they were promised before coming to work in Malaysia.

"Nepalis are basically assertive people and their culture is to speak up for their rights and demand what is due to them.

"This could have gotten them into trouble with their bosses or colleagues and caused frustration and depression," he said.

Workers should be given an honest briefing, including on the pressures of working in Malaysia before leaving Kathmandu, Pratik said.

"However, I believe the onus is also on the employers and agents here to take some responsibility in making sure they (the workers) are mentally and emotionally strong to last the pace," he said.