Undocumented migrants nabbed in Sarawak to be housed in temporary detention centres

'Op Jala' has been carried out since Jan 20 to curb the spread of Covid-19 from undocumented migrants in the state. — Bernama pic
'Op Jala' has been carried out since Jan 20 to curb the spread of Covid-19 from undocumented migrants in the state. — Bernama pic

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KUCHING, Jan 27 — Temporary detention centres will be constructed in Sarawak for illegal immigrants detained under ‘Op Jala,’ which was launched to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 from illegal immigrants, the State Security and Enforcement Unit revealed.

Its deputy director Datuk Mohamad Morshidi Mustapha told a press conference today that the centres will be located in Kuching, Sibu and Miri, and will be managed by the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC).

However, he was tight-lipped on the location of the proposed centres and when they will be operational.

“Op Jala has been carried out since Jan 20 to curb the spread of Covid-19 from illegal immigrants who are already in the state and those who are entering the state,” Morshidi told reporters at Bangunan Baitulmakmur this morning.

Morshidi, who is also SDMC secretariat deputy head, said once the illegal immigrants have completed their 14-day quarantine at the temporary detention centres, they will be handed over to the Sarawak Immigration Department for further action.

The detainees are currently held at an undisclosed quarantine centre here under Section 15 of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988.

Morshidi said 22 construction sites and 14 coffeeshops in Kuching have been checked under Op Jala so far.

“We have checked a total of 625 immigrant workers from Indonesia, Pakistan, China, Myanmar, India and the Phillipines. Out of the total, 58 immigrants were detained for various offences,” said Morshidi.

“The 58 immigrants have also undergone their first Covid-19 swab test which have returned negative. They will undergo a second swab test in the coming days,” he said, adding that all the detainees were Indonesians.

Op Jala was initiated to complement related operations such as Ops Benteng, which is focused on the border, to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Also involved in Op Jala are the Royal Malaysia Police, the Sarawak Immigration Department, the Malaysian Armed Forces, Sarawak Health Department and other agencies.

After Kuching, the operation will be expanded to other parts of Sarawak in stages. Besides construction sites, checks will also be carried out at plantations. — Borneo Post

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