Bangladeshis among 500 held in Malaysia crackdown on illegal migrants

Bangladeshis among 500 held in Malaysia crackdown on illegal migrants

Dhaka, Sep 1 (Just News): At least 500 undocumented migrants, including Bangladeshis, were detained in Malaysia on the first day of a major nationwide crackdown following the end of an amnesty programme that had allowed the irregular migrant workers to return to their countries by paying fine worth Tk 8,000.

A Bangladeshi man and a Malaysian immigration officer were injured today during a raid at a glove factory in Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi in Sepang, reports The Star Online.

The Bangladeshi national was injured after he fell in an attempt to escape the arrest in the operation.

Immigration officer Nur Erra Ellina Zaharudin, 24, was injured on her hip and leg as she fell down about five metres through the ceiling while chasing a female illegal immigrant, said Malaysia’s Immigration Director-General Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali at a press conference today.

In the operation that began today, as many as 1,590 foreigners were examined and as many 360 immigrants were detained for violations of immigrant rules, he said.

Mustafar said since January 1 until August 30, the Immigration Department had conducted 9,527 operations when 116,927 foreigners were inspected and 29,177 of them were arrested.

The undocumented migrants were from Bangladesh, Myanmar, Pakistan, Cambodia, China, Vietnam, India and Nepal.

On a Facebook post today, Mustafar said the immigration department will continue the operation against the undocumented migrants to “cleanup” the whole country.

Employers and workers were given many opportunities before this. They should not blame the immigration department now, he added.

The crackdown is significant for Bangladesh as thousands of Bangladeshis may be jailed and deported if they are detained.

There are nearly a million Bangladeshis working in Malaysia, and some four to five lakh of them could be undocumented, our staff correspondent reports quoting an official of Bangladesh High Commission in Malaysia.

In the earlier rehiring programme that had begun in early 2016, most of them applied for regularisation by paying Malaysian Ringgit 5,000 to 8,000, but most of them failed to become regularised, said Bangladeshi migrants from Malaysia.

Amid the crackdown, they have been in fear. Many remained in the rooms, while some went into hiding, migrants and activists from Malaysia said.

Advocacy groups have criticised the government for the crackdown and called for a halt to it.

Adrian Pereira, executive director of North South Initiative, a rights body in Kuala Lumpur, told this correspondent that many of the undocumented migrants are victims of human trafficking and abuses by the employers.