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KUALA LUMPUR: For Muslim foreign workers in Malaysia, Hari Raya is always a poignant time when they think of their families back in their home countries.

For Bangladeshi Toybur Alamin, 36, his thoughts are with his wife and two children aged five and three.

“Although I speak to my family each day through video calls, it is not the same as compared with being with them. I miss them very much and my wife often sheds tears as I am not there to complete our family.

“But she understands that I need to be in Malaysia as there are few jobs available in my hometown of Madaripur. She also knows that I have to earn a living here so that our children can have better lives,” he said.

Toybur, a construction worker, said he has been employed in Malaysia for about five years and during that time he has also helped some of his siblings financially.

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“Five of my siblings are in Bangladesh and two others are working in Indonesia. It’s tough for us. We spent a lot of money to pay the recruitment agents just to secure jobs overseas.

“Even then, some of these recruitment agents ask for more money which we have to pay, otherwise they will just delay our documentation and trip abroad.”

Toybur was with his friends at Jalan Silang yesterday, a popular destination for foreign workers who gather at the location during their holidays.

“We are always here during long breaks, just to share a meal, relax, take selfies and chat. Pictures are important as we can send them to our families and reassure them that we are fine.”

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He said the friends he made in Malaysia have become a family to him over the years and they always plan to spend holidays gathering together.

At the Petronas Twin Towers, bachelor Abedul Raseed, 29, from Lahore, Pakistan, who is a furniture factory worker, said he has been in Malaysia for two years.

The elder of two siblings, he said his parents are sickly and his younger brother is still in school, and that he has to earn a living in Malaysia to provide for them.

“My salary is not very high, but I have friends who own shops selling carpets from Pakistan, Iran and Turkiye, so on my off days, I help them just to make some extra money.”

Abedul said he also makes video calls home daily just so his parents will not worry about him.

“I come from a close-knit family and I know they worry about me. My mother often talks about me getting married. But that has to wait as earning money is my priority.

“This Aidilfitri, I had a long chat with my brother and told him to study hard.

“I also promised to send a little more money home this month as my boss gave me some duit raya,” he said.

Both Toybur and Abedul said they are generally happy in Malaysia, but pleaded with Malaysians to show them a little more courtesy.

“Some Malaysians seem to be angry when we gather in large groups at KLCC or other places of interest. I am sorry they feel uncomfortable, but where else can we go,” Toybur said.

Abedul chipped in, saying: “We are people too, and we have feelings. We have learnt Bahasa Malaysia and we can understand when we are insulted by some people who ask, ‘why are they here instead of being at their workplaces?’

“We may not have a high education or dress in expensive clothing, but we do have feelings too. I hope Malaysians will understand this because one day, your children may work abroad, and you wouldn’t want them to be treated poorly.”