Illegal immigrants treated well in Malaysia compared to other countries, Senior Minister tells critics

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PUTRAJAYA MAY 27: Leaders of political parties and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are reminded not to be “heroes” for the illegal immigrants who have been detained and placed in the immigration detention depot during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Security and Senior Minister, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said, the illegal immigrants are treated well by the Malaysian government compared to other countries.

“The illegal immigrants are given food at the depots and if they are detected with positive COVID-19 after the swab tests, they will be taken to the quarantine and COVID-19 treatment hospital at MAEPS, Serdang, Selangor which is new and well equipped.

“If there is a drastic rise in COVID-19 new cases amongst the detainees, the government has prepared 1,430 beds including in the Sungai Buloh Leprosy Hospital and the Old Maternity Ward Building in Kuala Lumpur Hospital.

“The temporary hospital in MAEPS has 600 beds and currently there are 230 detainees undergoing COVID-19 treatment.

“I think the NGO has been confused as the foreign workers are divided into two categories and this includes those with working permits and are protected by the employers.

“The second category consists of immigrants who entered the country without any travel document or work permit,” Ismail said in his daily press conference held here today.

Ismail said that in response to the comments of certain political party leaders and NGOs alleging the Malaysian Immigration Department’s action on the illegal immigrants is not justified especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Whatever the situation is, the illegal immigrants’ statuses remain. In the case of those who entered via the “mouse path” (lorong tikus) the Malaysian Immigration will detain and not allow them to return to their countries.

“In the case of illegal immigrants, who were detained in the Selangor Mansion after the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) was lifted, Ismail said, it was wrong for the Malaysian Immigration Department to let the immigrants without travel documents and work permits to be free from any action.

“The illegal immigrants had been screened twice for COVID-19 before they were sent to the immigration detention depots,” Ismail reiterated.

On the question of whether the government is taking any action on illegal immigrants who are living in congested houses that is vulnerable to COVID-19 infections, Ismail said, the standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the government is only applicable to the foreigners with working permits.

Ismail said, the illegal immigrants who are staying outside the building construction site for example will not follow any SOP.

He added those without documents are considered illegal workers and the Malaysian Immigration Department should take action on them. –Malaysia World News


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