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Malaysia cracks down on illegal immigrants

Updated On: Feb 01, 2005

Kuala LumpurHarsh penalties, including jail terms and whipping, await illegal immigrants who are not out of Malaysia by Jan 31. Their employers will not be spared either as Malaysia prepares to launch a massive crackdown on illegal immigrants, who have been blamed for the country’s rising crime rates and some of its social problems.

From Feb 1, half a million police and civilian volunteers will conduct raids at factories, plantations, construction sites, restaurant and homes to flush out the illegals. Employers who are arrested will be detained in police lockup while the illegals will be held in 13 detention centres across Malaysia. Some 800,000 illegal immigrants are still believed to be in the country after 400,000 left during an amnesty over the past three months.

Most of the illegal immigrants are from neighbouring  Indonesia, but others are from the Philippines, Myanmar, Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka. Many are drawn to relatively prosperous Malaysia by jobs in the construction, plantation and service industries.
While no country is likely to question Malaysia’s right to act on a domestic problem, any evidence of excesses or abuses during the crackdown may result in a diplomatic backlash from countries whose citizens are affected.

* Malaysia’s massive crackdown on migrants sparks rights’ fears (Harakah, Jan 31)

* Illegals issue; KL must match words with action 

* Steps to get back old jobs for foreign workers