Friday, March 17, 2006

500,000 still here illegally (Star)

500,000 still here illegally

PUTRAJAYA: After one year of Ops Tegas to flush out illegal immigrants, there are still between 300,000 and 500,000 of them in the country.

The number, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak admitted, “although lower than before, is still big.”

Speaking to reporters after chairing the Cabinet committee on foreign workers, Najib described the operations to nab illegal immigrants as having positive results.

“We will continue with the operations, especially by Rela. This has shown results because when they increase their operations, the number of illegal immigrants nabbed has fallen substantially,” he added.

The Government launched a massive operation last year to nab illegal immigrants, estimated to number 800,000, following an amnesty offer for them to return home. More than 300,000 took up the offer.

Najib also said the number of foreign workers in the country had increased to 1.8 million in January from 1.6 million last July.

The manufacturing sector has the highest number of foreign workers with 32.4%, followed by plantation (22%), maid (17.5%), and construction (15.5%).

Workers from Indonesia formed the largest number at 65.9% followed by Nepal (10.9%) and India (7.56%).

Najib said the committee had also decided that foreign workers must undergo a medical check-up during their second year here because they might have certain diseases.

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