[Stop-traffic] News/Malayaia: Malaysia acts against employers hiring illegal workers

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/Malayaia: Malaysia acts against employers hiring illegal workers
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Tue Jan 09 2001 - 11:37:54 EST


          Malaysia acts against employers hiring illegal workers

APws 05/Jan/01 5:03 AM

The Associated Press.

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- Malaysian authorities have launched a
crackdown on about 5,000 employers suspected of hiring illegal foreign
workers, many whom are being denied salaries and food, the Immigration
Department said Friday.
    Rosli Malek, the department's spokesman, said authorities arrested more
than 1,000 such employers nationwide last year and hoped to double the
figure this year.
    Most of the workers are from Indonesia, Bangladesh, India and Myanmar,
and were sneaked into the country by groups with international links, he
told The Associated Press.
    Investigations revealed that many of the workers were given only a meal
a day, forcing them to beg for food from their Malaysian neighbors, Rosli
said.
    He also said some employers also did not pay the illegal workers.
    "The problem is serious and we shall take stern action against these
errant employers," he said.
    A furniture maker in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur was recently fined
961,000 ringgit (dlrs 252,000) for hiring 120 illegal workers.
    Rosli said the government would also build two detention centers in the
northern state of Kedah and near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport to
hold illegal immigrants pending deportation.
    Illegal immigration to Malaysia, one of Southeast Asia's wealthiest
countries, has been on the rise since the 1997-98 Asian economic crisis,
which hurt Malaysia but affected its poorer neighbors even more.
    More than 60,000 illegal workers were deported in 1999 and another
97,251 were sent back last year. The Immigration Department expects
deportation figures to surpass 100,000 this year.

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