Migrant Workers (Aliens) In Malaysia

God had a great deal to say to the Jews, who had recently been aliens in Egypt and treated as slaves, about the way in which they should treat the aliens in their land. This teaching is equally applicable concerning the welfare of the millions of migrant workers who are aliens in Malaysia.

The teaching about aliens can be divided into six sections:

1. God’s love and concern for aliens

2. God’s commands to us concerning our treatment of aliens

3. The legal rights and responsibilities of aliens

4. The working conditions of aliens

5. The spiritual needs of aliens

6. Christians – citizens and aliens

  1. God’s love and concern for aliens
    • Deuteronomy 10:18
      ‘He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.’
    • Psalm 146:9
      ‘The LORD watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.’
  2. God’s commands to us concerning our treatment of aliens
    • Exodus 22:21
      ‘Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt.’ See also Exodus 23:9.
    • Leviticus 23:2
      ‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.’ (Similar teaching in Leviticus 19:10, Deuteronomy 14:28-29, 24:19-22, 26:12)
    • Leviticus 25:35
      ‘If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you.’
    • Deuteronomy 10:19
      ‘And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt.’
    • Jeremiah 22:3
      ‘This is what the LORD says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the alien, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.’
    • Zechariah 7:10
      ‘Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.’
  3. The legal rights and responsibilities of aliens
    • Leviticus 24:22
      ‘You are to have the same law for the alien and the native-born. I am the LORD your God.’
    • Numbers 15:15-16
      ‘The community is to have the same rules for you and for the alien living among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the alien shall be the same before the LORD: The same laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the alien living among you.’
    • Deuteronomy 1:16-17a
      ‘And I charged your judges at that time: Hear the disputes between your brothers and judge fairly, whether the case is between brother Israelites or between one of them and an alien. Do not show partiality in judging; hear both small and great alike.’
    • Deuteronomy 24:17
      ‘Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge.’
    • Deuteronomy 27:19
      ‘ “Cursed is the man who withholds justice from the alien, the fatherless or the widow.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!” ‘
    • Ezekiel 22:29
      ‘The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the alien, denying them justice.’
    • Malachi 3:5
      ‘ “So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me,” says the LORD Almighty.’
    • Leviticus 18:26
      ‘But you must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the aliens living among you must not do any of these detestable things,’

    NOTE: There are 7 references to the RIGHTS of aliens and 1 reference to their RESPONSIBILITIES!)

  4. The working conditions of aliens
    • Exodus 23:12
      ‘Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest and the slave born in your household, and the alien as well, may be refreshed.’ (See also Exodus 20:8-11 and Deuteronomy 5:12-15)
    • Deuteronomy 24:14-15
      ‘Do not take advantage of a hired man who is poor and needy, whether he is a brother Israelite or an alien living in one of your towns. Pay him his wages each day before sunset, because he is poor and is counting on it. Otherwise he may cry to the LORD against you, and you will be guilty of sin.’
  5. The spiritual needs of aliens
    • Deuteronomy 31:12
      ‘Assemble the people – men, women and children, and the aliens living in your towns – so they can listen and learn to fear the LORD your God and follow carefully all the words of this law.’
  6. Christians – citizens and aliens
    • Citizens
      The way we treat aliens is particularly relevant as we remember the way God treated us when we were ‘foreigners and aliens’.

      • Ephesians 2:19-20
        ‘Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.’
      • Colossians 1:21-23a
        ‘Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of[a] your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.’
    • Aliens
      Although we are ‘in the world’ we are not ‘of the world’ – we are ‘aliens and strangers’.

      • 1 Peter 2:11-12
        ‘Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.’

3 Replies to “Migrant Workers (Aliens) In Malaysia”

  1. Thank you Peter for surfacing to our attention passages from the Bible which confronts our ignorance or hidden prejudices.

    I was driving past my “home town” (or “kampung”) and in a conversation with the passenger in my car was reminded of my great grandmother who came as a migrant worker. And when we all sit down and think about it, is that not part of our history. Now, with that focus, we can re-look at the “Alien” situation in our country with new eyes. It doesn’t solve all the problems immediately, but it’s a better start than just to label people who are humans as illegal!

  2. A friend once mentioned to me that the moment you consider another lesser than you, you could do anything you want to that person and you would not feel it.

    Probably what happend in the holocaust.

    In these times where immigration is a big issue, thanks Peter for setting it out biblically what the Christian position should be.

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