Deported and barred from Malaysia, Rayhan Kabir to study migration law, work for migrant workers’ rights

Bangladeshi Rayhan Kabir says he now wants to study migration law and work for the rights of migrant workers. ― Bernama pic
Bangladeshi Rayhan Kabir says he now wants to study migration law and work for the rights of migrant workers. ― Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 4 — After being deported to Bangladesh for appearing in an Al Jazeera documentary critical of Putrajaya’s treatment of migrants, Rayhan Kabir said he now wants to study migration law and work for the rights of migrant workers.

The 25-year-old told Bangladeshi paper Dhaka Tribune that he does not want live in the past and think about what he has lost.

“I did not commit a crime. All I wanted was to make their voices heard and tell the world that what they are going through is inhuman,” he was quoted saying, referring to migrant workers.

“[The Malaysian authority] cannot shackle anyone for being undocumented.”

Rayhan said his life has changed drastically in the past month, but he sees it as a new beginning.

“I had everything...a decent place, a car, a good job, and financial stability. But everything came to an end after I appeared in that documentary,” added Rayhan, who arrived in Bangladesh on August 22.

Rayhan was featured in the Al Jazeera documentary Locked Up in Malaysia's Lockdown which documented the mistreatment of migrants by Malaysian authorities during the movement control order.

He was arrested on July 24 following a two-week manhunt, after the Immigration Department issued a wanted notice against him.

In addition to having his work permit revoked, Rayhan was blacklisted from ever entering Malaysia again.

Rayhan also said that he was not contacted by anyone from Al Jazeera after he was arrested.

He also claimed that the news organisation did ask him if he wanted to go anonymous and hide his face on the documentary.

However, he refused to cover his face because it never occurred to him that he was violating any law.

“Speaking up for the community was not alien to me since I have done it many times before appearing in the documentary. It never occurred to me that speaking the truth would get me into this much trouble,” he added.

Rayhan also did not wanted to share on how he was treated in the jail as he fears anything he says might put the Bangladeshi migrant workers in Malaysia in jeopardy. 

“I will not talk about it for the sake of greater good. I do not want to jeopardise many migrant workers who are still working in Malaysia,” he added. 

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