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The Securitization of Migrant Workers in Sabah, Malaysia

Dollah, Ramli and Abdullah, Kamarulnizam (2018) The Securitization of Migrant Workers in Sabah, Malaysia. Journal of International Migration and Integration. pp. 1-19. ISSN 1488-3473

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In the past decades, the Malaysia’s economy,particularly in Sabah, faced high dependence on migrant workers, predominantly Indonesian and Filipino workers.This over-reliance on migrant workers made the ruling elites in the country fear that their dominant presence would undermine the government’s policy to move Malaysia from a labor intensive to an automation in order to achieve the status of a developed nation, as well as a policy to prioritize locals over foreigners in all economic sectors.In order to implement this policy and to break the economic sectors from continuing to rely on the foreigners, the ruling elites have continuously associated migrant workers, especially illegal laborers, as a security threat that needs to be flushed out. This paper utilizes the Copenhagen School framework of securitization to explain why the securitizing actors, namely the politicians and the ruling elites, continue to frame Indonesian and the Filipino workers in Sabah as security issue. Two case studies are presented to examine the securitization of migrant workers in Sabah: first, “All-out war against illegals” and Ops Nyah II, 2002–03 and second, Ops Nasihat, 2004–05.However, this paper argues that making illegal migrant workers as security issue and form a sound policy to control immigrants cannot solely rely on the speech act and power of persuasion, as central in the theory because other condition factors, namely the domestic politics of the state, the federal-state relations, nature of state economy, and international pressures, are also significant in explaining why the government has never been consistent in its policy on migrant workers in Sabah. © 2018 Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Migrant workers Security Securitization Sabah Malaysia
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: School of International Studies
Depositing User: Mrs. Norazmilah Yaakub
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2018 07:52
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2018 07:52
URI: http://repo.uum.edu.my/id/eprint/24379

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