News / Asia

Thousands Face Deportation in Malaysian Immigration Crackdown

A shadow of a migrant enforcement officer is cast on a makeshift shelter, built by suspected illegal migrant workers, as he tries to break a locked door during a crackdown on illegal migrant workers in Nilai, outside Kuala Lumpur September 1, 2013.
A shadow of a migrant enforcement officer is cast on a makeshift shelter, built by suspected illegal migrant workers, as he tries to break a locked door during a crackdown on illegal migrant workers in Nilai, outside Kuala Lumpur September 1, 2013.
More than 2,000 immigrants in Malaysia have spent the night in detention centers in a nationwide crackdown on illegal immigration that authorities say could deport hundreds of thousands of people.

Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told the press the 2,433 detainees were among approximately 8,000 people examined by authorities in dozens of operations that began Sunday.

“This shows the seriousness of the Home Ministry and Immigration Department [to flush out the illegal immigrants]. Ours is not a spur-of-the-moment action,” Ahmad Zahid said Monday, as quoted by Malaysia's national news agency, Bernama.

The Home minister told reporters that so far, authorities have detained 717 Indonesian nationals, 555 Burmese nationals, 387 Bangladeshi nationals and 229 Nepali nationals. He said authorities also detained immigrants from Cambodia, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, China, Nigeria and Thailand.

Officials say more than 400,000 immigrants could be affected by the operation. Many of them hold low-paying construction and plantation jobs, while others work as domestic helpers or in massage parlors.

Thanks, but no thanks

Their labor has helped build Malaysia into Southeast Asia’s third largest economy. But as the economy has weakened, concerns have grown among some Malaysians that foreigners could push down wages and drive up crime.

The government has vacillated in its approach to illegal immigration over the past decade, from whipping and fining people for working illegally in Malaysia, to registering 1.3 million of an estimated two million undocumented foreigners for an amnesty program in 2011.

The crackdown that began Sunday is focusing first on immigrants who signed up for amnesty but didn’t finish the process.

It comes as Malaysia is trying to transition to a higher-skilled economy and is facing a slower growth rate than expected. The central bank recently downgraded Malaysia’s economic growth forecast from 6 percent to between 4.5 and 5 percent this year.

Human rights

Malaysian authorities say they are working with foreign embassies to repatriate the undocumented workers. Home Minister Ahmad Zahid also said authorities will take action in accordance with international law to avoid human trafficking.

Malaysia is a destination and transit country for trafficking victims who suffer exploitation and abuse as forced laborers and sex slaves. The U.S. Department of State placed Malaysia on its Tier 2 human trafficking Watch List for the fourth consecutive year this year, because the government does not fully comply with the minimum standards for ending trafficking.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid