There is no better time to take action against undocumented migrants

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia again has been in the international media spotlight when the authorities carried out a major crackdown against the undocumented and illegal immigrants staying at city center.

The South China Morning Post carried a story ‘Coronavirus: hundreds arrested as Malaysia cracks down on migrants in COVID-19 red zones.’

Another international media, The Guardian UK, ‘Malaysia cites Covid-19 for rounding up hundreds of migrants’

In the Guardian report it was reported that “Malaysian authorities have rounded up and detained hundreds of undocumented migrants, including Rohingya refugees, as part of efforts to contain coronavirus, officials said.

“Authorities said 586 undocumented migrants were arrested in a raid in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, on Friday. Armed police walked people through the city in a single file to a detention building, according to activists. The UN said the move could push vulnerable groups into hiding and prevent them from seeking treatment.

“Those detained included young children and ethnic Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. The UN urged Malaysia to avoid detaining migrants and release all children, warning that overcrowded detention centers carried a high risk of increasing the virus’s spread.”

Lawyer Muniandy Vestanathan, shared his views with One Malaya team and generally categorised the raid conducted by the authorities as ‘reasonable and proper.’

Muniandy said that “The undocumented migrants stay in Malaysia is against the Immigration law.

“They have been working in some industries, of which the owners are avaricious to make additional profit.

“They have not undergone any Medical test, which is the requirement upon entering the country for any foreign workers be it general or professional.

“Hence, they are going to be exposing other dangerous diseases.”

He added that some of these undocumented migrants, live in a condition that is very unhygienic, exhibits their values of not giving any importance to a hygienic living at all.

“Some of them are already Covid-19 positive, therefore, they are going to infect others living in close proximity to them and those who are at the same or nearby work area which definitely includes our Malaysians.”

“These undocumented immigrants that could be a carrier is spreading it to our fellow Malaysians freely are because of their involvement working in areas like wet markets and sundry shops.

“The Malaysian Medical cost and handling of the affected area and people would be exceedingly high and difficult,” Muniandy suggested.

Muniandy went on further to claim that “the usage of Malaysia Tax monies would be increasing because of the action of undocumented immigrants, spreading not only Covid-19 but also other ailments like tuberculosis.

In a goodwill spirit, “The International Media should be appreciating the steps taken by the Malaysian authorities in handling undocumented immigrants, as the Government has a duty to each one of its own citizens.

“Hence, the International Medias’ opinion that detention of the undocumented immigrants is not acceptable or logical.

“This kind of selective reporting without disclosing the other side of the coin should be evaded and responsible journalism should be practiced upon by the learned International Media especially around this trying time.

“By looking at how they entered Malaysia further exhibits that they have a lack of any respect to the laws of our country.

“Placing these undocumented immigrants in a detention centre evades the risk of them spreading any unwarranted illness to the Malaysian public,” He added.

Earlier, Senior Minister (Security) Ismail Sabri Yaakob said there is a possibility that Amnesty International may not know what is happening in the country after the Immigration Department hauled up hundreds of migrants without proper documents on Friday.

“Amnesty International, thank you for your views, but the decision is based on our rights and laws,”

Ismail said if the illegals were released without action being taken; it may encourage more of them to enter the country without documents.