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With no pay, Filipino cousins dream of Christmas back home

All they wanted for Christmas is to be able to go home and enjoy the festivities with their family members.

But for cousins, Sara and Joy (not their real names), this year would be the first time they are celebrating Christmas in a foreign land.

Both women, who are degree holders in their early 20s, had sacrificed their jobs as teachers at a local college in the Philippines after being promised by a friend that there would be “better paying” clerical positions in Malaysia.

They arrived in Kuala Lumpur in May with the help of an agent and soon discovered that the promised position was not what they were told.

Despite working for seven months, they did not receive a single sen in salary from their employer. In addition, they did not have a legal work permit as promised by the purported agent.

“I still hope that we can go back to the Philippines before Christmas,” said Sara when met at migrant workers support group Tenaganita’s office in Petaling Jaya.

“I want to go back with my cousin and celebrate Christmas with our family. Dec 24 is also my mum’s birthday, and so we always celebrate it together,” she said.

With the help of Tenaganita, both Sara and Joy had their cases referred to the Labour Department but it is not likely that their case would be dealt with before Christmas next week...

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