MALAYSIA: New crackdown on illegals
New crackdown on illegals
14 July 2006
Malaysia has announced plans to arrest up to one million people in its latest crackdown on illegal immigrants.
Hundreds of officials will be involved in the operation, which follows last year\'s controversial push to round up, whip and deport hundreds of thousands of illegal workers.
\"We have made early preparations related to the detention centres and other needs. We will decide the date of the crackdown later,\" Home Affairs Minister Mohamad Radzi Sheikh Ahmad was quoted as saying by Bernama news agency.
Mohamad Radzi said enforcement officials from the immigration and police departments would target factories hiring immigrants and foreigners conducting business illegally.
\"If we do not conduct such operations from time to time, the illegals will feel that they can do as they wish in this country,\" he said.
Mohamad Radzi said some 400,000 illegals had been deported so far, adding that some 500,000 to one million illegal workers are still in the country.
There are about 1.8 million legal foreign workers in the country, he said.
Malaysia has launched several crackdowns since 1992 on illegal workers, most of whom come from impoverished parts of Southeast Asia.
But each one led to a labour shortage followed by a new wave of illegal immigration - a pattern which was apparent after last year\'s blitz.
Malaysia is one of the largest importers of foreign labour in Asia. Foreign workers, both legal and illegal, number around 2.6 million of its 10.5 million workforce, officials say.