Thursday, March 01, 2012

Deporting 'undocumented' migrants in Malaysia assists perpetrators of injustice/crime to escape justice

There are some other issues concerning migrant workers that need our attention:-

a)  The arrest and deportation of undocumented migrants is done by the Immigration Department, without any collaboration with the Ministry of Human Resources and the question is that whether these workers are being deported despite the fact there are pending claims against the employer, pending grievance procedures which has not been heard and/or finally disposed off. Remember Malaysian constitution guarantees equality and equal treatment under the law - but somehow when it comes to these deportation exercises, the right to equal access to justice is denied. There must be no deportation if there pending claims, cases,...involving migrants, more so when the migrant is the victim, for a deportation will just allow the violator of rights or a perpetrator of a crime to escape - A great injustice, a gross violation of the Federal Constitution, a gross violation of existing laws. [Sadly, our Malaysian Immigration Department and government just do not care...]

b) The question is how they became undocumented - did they come to Malaysia and subsequently became documented. When their work visa/pass was cancelled, were they given any opportunity to be heard? Some employers may have just cancelled work visa/pass when they wanted to wrongly get rid of workers, or escape paying them monies owed to them. But alas, normally the Immigration Department just cancels a work visa/pass, which in fact belongs to the worker alone, not the employer without even giving the worker a show cause why his/her visa/pass should not be cancelled...let alone a right to be heard - and this is a great injustice..

c) Malaysia does not have its own law that deals with asylum seekers, and/or refugees - and this is not right. Refusal to sign UN Conventions is one thing but at the very least there must be in law an internal national mechanism to deal  with potential asylum seekers and/or refugees.... We must put pressure on Malaysia to at least have this law...

Below a media statement on the recent deportation...

29 February 2012: URGENT ALERT


We received information that there was a raid in Johor on the 29th of February 2012. We have unconfirmed reports that 200 migrants were detained in this raid, approximately 40 of whom were not registered under 6P. They have been sent to Pekan Nenas Immigration Centre.

We do Not yet know if refugees/minors/trafficked persons/other vulnerable persons were also arrested ; where in Johor the raid was carried out; or the current status of the remaining 160 migrants who were presumably not taken to Pekan Nenas.

If you have any information pertaining to this raid, please contact us at the numbers/emails provided below. Especially since the information is very vague at this point, cooperation from anyone who has information is much appreciated. In addition to the contact details below, if there are specific cases in Johor, please contact Tenaganita's staff member Florida who will be based in Johor:

This is the
third raid (that we are aware of) after the Home Ministry's statement that the "amnesty period" has been extended to 10 April 2012.
Key concerns:

  • Detention and deportation of refugees, stateless persons, trafficked victims & other vulnerable populations including children
  • Use of violence  by enforcement officers during raids, arrests & detention
  • Violation of rights during arrests & detention : i.e. no access to lawyers, phone call to family, deprivation of basic needs, etc

 In order to monitor and respond to this crackdown, several hotline numbers have been set up:
Please send information about raids, rights violations during this crackdown or any other relevant information to: raidwatch[at]
Media contact: Irene Fernandez (Tenaganita):

The arrest, detention & deportation of undocumented migrants is the final phase of the Malaysian government’s Illegal Immigrant Comprehensive Settlement Programme (6P Programme, “6P”) In spite of the Secretary-General of the Home Ministry, Tan Sri Mahmood Adam’s declaration that the deadline for the 6P has been extended to April 10 2012, we have already started receiving reports of arrests and detention.

On 11th of February, we were informed by refugees and members of the public that a raid was conducted in Kuala Lumpur, during which between 100 to 200 migrants and refugees were detained. We are aware that some refugees were taken to detention centres, while the whereabouts of others are currently unknown.
In previous Immigration crackdowns (2005 ; 2008) there was high use of violence against the migrants, migrants were not granted access to a phone call, or to lawyers ; we fear that similar (if not worse) rights violations will also take place during this crackdown.
We are also especially concerned for the lives of refugees & stateless persons (who remain ‘illegal’ under Malaysian law) and for victims of trafficking who will be arrested, detained and run the risk of deportation during this crackdown. We are not aware of any processes in place to protect these populations, and the refugees who are still in detention after being arrested on the 11th is a reminder of these real threats.

4 million Malaysians have been mobilized to seek out, arrest, detain and deport any migrant found to be undocumented in Malaysia. Out of this, 2.8 million are ordinary citizens with no proper training (RELA Volunteer Corp), while the remaining 1 million are Immigration officers, police, the military and other enforcement agencies.

In order to protect the rights and lives of migrants and refugees, we call on all parties to be vigilant and assist us in monitoring and responding to this crackdown.

Katrina Jorene Maliamauv
38, Jalan Gasing, 46000, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Tel: +603 7770 3691 / 7770 3671
Fax: +603 7770 3681   
General Enquiries:      
Website: *under construction

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