Zahid: Over 1.8 million foreigners working legally in Malaysia

Foreign workers at a construction site in Kuala Lumpur, February 16, 2016. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Foreign workers at a construction site in Kuala Lumpur, February 16, 2016. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 — Malaysia deported 70,000 illegal immigrants in 2016 and now has over 1.8 million foreign workers legally here, Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has said.

Zahid said 73,533 illegal immigrants were repatriated last year including 12,530 Filipinos and 2,999 Indonesians who were sent back through Sabah.

He said this in a March 20 parliamentary reply to Sipitang MP Datuk Sapawi Amat Wasali.

In a written parliamentary reply on the same day to Bukit Mertajam MP Sim Chee Keong, Zahid said the Immigration Department's records show that a total of 1,875,180 foreign workers are working legally in Malaysia as of January 31, 2017.

Most were from Indonesia at 760,733, followed by Nepal (410,950), Bangladesh (251,309), Myanmar (139,821) and India (119,628).

Other foreign nationals working here legally are from Pakistan (63,632), the Philippines (58,399), Vietnam (31,694), China (14,104), Thailand (12,765), Sri Lanka (6,265), Cambodia (5,839) and Laos (41).

In a reply the same day to Batu Pahat MP Datuk Mohd Idris Jusi, Zahid said the Immigration Department detained 49,496 illegal immigrants in its operations last year, with the breakdown being Indonesians (15,923), Bangladeshi (9,799) and other nationals at 23,744.

Zahid told Tanah Merah MP Datuk Seri in a March 21 written parliamentary reply that the number of foreign workers with valid temporary work passes issued by the Immigration Department as of February 28, 2017 was 1,839,714.

The breakdown of these foreign nationals employed here according to their sector are factories (644,494), construction (371,983), plantation (269,082), agriculture (170,147), services (251,567) and maids (132,441), he said.

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