Illegal migrant detention centres can accommodate 50,000, says Zahid

A detained suspected illegal migrant worker from Indonesia sits in an immigration truck during a crackdown on illegal migrant workers in Klang, outside Kuala Lumpur September 1, 2013. Home minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi says detention centres in the country have a capacity of 50,000. — Reuters pic
A detained suspected illegal migrant worker from Indonesia sits in an immigration truck during a crackdown on illegal migrant workers in Klang, outside Kuala Lumpur September 1, 2013. Home minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi says detention centres in the country have a capacity of 50,000. — Reuters pic

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BAGAN DATOH, Jan 25 — The adequacy of detention centres for illegal immigrants should not be questioned as existing centres can accomodate 50,000 people, says Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

“We have held discussions with embassies and companies on sending the illegal immigrants home.

“The maximum is only seven days for illegals at all detention centres. As such, the question of inadequate places which were gazetted as detention centres does not arise,” he said.

He was speaking to reporters after opening a National Printing Malaysia Berhad's (PNMB) corporate social responsibility resource centre project here today.

In this regard, he said Ops 6P under the Illegal Immigrant Management Special Programme (PKPP) must be continued even during the festive season.

Ahmad Zahid said employers who hired illegal immigrants could submit all documents to release the foreign workers because during operations, they (foreign workers) claimed the documents were kept by employers.

“Any working illegal immigrant and employers who were cheated by foreign workers' agencies can submit proof that payments had been made through the agencies.

“Appeals can be made at the foreign worker division of the home ministry to enable us to furnish the documents concerned.

“If the foreign workers did not have employers and the relevant documents, they would be deported without involving the people and government's money,” he said.

On a statement by MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai who wanted the ministry to be more transparent in detaining illegal immigrants, Ahmad Zahid clarified that the ministry had a complete standard operating procedure.

“What is being done is that the foreign workers are gathered at one place. Those with documents will be placed in a row for inspection first. The inspection does not take more than an hour in total.

“Those without documents are separated, but we will contact the employers of those who claim their employers are keeping their documents,” he explained. — Bernama 

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