Welcome to Malaysia
Wars and socio-economic crises push people to flee their homes and migrate. Malaysia is often characterized as a promising destination for immigrants.
Raed is from Iraq, Ghani is from Myanmar, and Mahfudz is from Indonesia – but they all share the same hope for a better life far away from home in multicultural Malaysia – known throughout Southeast Asida as the wealthier, “progressive Muslim country.”
But despite the better economic opportunities it provides, Malaysia’s immigration policies are not friendly to stateless refugees, nor to war and economic migrants. The country has poor migrant labor laws and does not practice naturalized citizenship or recognize refugees and their rights.
Amid this ambivalence, these migrants are left to establish home in the unwelcoming Malaysia, while also struggling to make ends meet, and negotiate their presence and culture in the multicultural Malaysia.
Incongruously, these migrants experience an unwelcoming Malaysia. They struggle to establish a home and scrape to make ends meet. Their presence and culture in “multicultural” Malaysia seems unwelcome.
Welcome to Malaysia is Rahmah’s first independent short documentary film of such scale, produced as part of her master’s thesis and picked up in 2017 for distribution in the North American education market by Alexander Street (a ProQuest company). Some of her past works include short documentaries – “Not My Heaven: 5 Years in America” (Five College Film Festival 2014), and “From Darfur to Amherst” (Honorable Mention, UMass Amherst Film Festival 2012). Her recent experimental nonfiction short “24” was selected to premiere at the 2016 Szczecin European Film Festival in Poland.