Sun, 06 Mar 2005


562 RI workers nabbed in KL crackdown

MALAYSIA: Authorities detained 868 people, including 562 Indonesians, in the first three days of a nationwide crackdown on illegal foreign workers, a report said on Saturday.

They were among more than 11,000 migrants screened after a four-month amnesty ended at midnight on Monday, The Star newspaper said.

Illegal workers caught face possible fines, jail terms and whipping with a rattan cane before deportation. They are also barred from returning to Malaysia.

About 450,000 illegal workers are believed to have left Malaysia during the amnesty period, with an estimated 400,000 still remaining in the country.

Deputy Home Minister Tan Chai Ho said the crackdown was being carried out in a firm and orderly manner.

"Those selected for screening are very cooperative," the newspaper quoted Tan as saying. "They don't fight back. But if someone should get violent, the police would be called in."

International and local human rights groups have voiced concerns that some of the 300,000 police, immigration officials and volunteers taking part in the raids might use excessive force while trying to detain suspects.

Other than Indonesians, those detained so far include 110 from the Philippines, 73 from Myanmar, 34 from Thailand and 26 from Bangladesh, the report said. The rest are from France, India, Nepal, Britain, Pakistan, the United States, Vietnam, China, Italy, Croatia and South Korea, it said.