Saturday, August 31, 2013

Malaysia to crackdown on illegal immigrants, including Myanmar nationals

Malaysian authorities conducts a special operation inKuala Lumpur (Photo-Myo Nyunt)

Malaysian authorities are going to launch a three-month special operation on Sunday to arrest and deport an estimated 500,000 illegal immigrants, according to The Star newspaper.

“We have given them more than a year to take up the offer [to register under Malaysia's Illegal Immigrant Comprehensive Settlement Programme]. It is now time for full enforcement," Mr Datuk Alias Ahmad, immigration director-general, told The Star.

He added that the majority of the targets were Indonesians who would be deported from the Pasir Gudang Port in Johor. However, the Bangladeshis, Vietnamese, Nepalese and Myanmar nationals are also among the illegal immigrants.

An estimated 700,000 Myanmar workers are staying in Malaysia and many of them are illegal immigrants.

"They knew about the operation as the [Malaysian] authorities have officially announced it. It will start on September 1, and they will target the suspected areas first," said Thiha Maung Maung, who is helping Myanmar illegal immigrants in Malaysia return home, told The Daily Eleven.

Regarding with any plan for Myanmar illegal immigrants who could be caught under the operation, Myanmar embassy in Kuala Lumpur was contacted but no reply was made.

The operation will involve over a hundred of thousands personnel from the Malaysian immigration department, police, armed forces, civil defence, national registration department and the local councils. The immigration department will lead the operation.

They will conduct raids mainly in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Penang and Johor which have been identified main areas for illegal immigrants, The Star reported on Wednesday.

Once arrested, the illegal immigrants will be deported immediately as Malaysian Immigration Department does not want to overcrowd its 12 detention centres, according to the report.

Mr Ahmad said Malaysia immigration department would seek cooperation of foreign embassies to issue travelling documents for those detained to speed up their deportation.

Employers found hiring the illegal are also to be charged under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007 (Amendment 2010). They could be subject to severe fines and prison sentences, according to Mr Ahmed.