Amnesty for unregistered Bangladeshis in Malaysia

DHAKA (The Daily Star) - Kuala lumpur to allow unregistered Bangladeshis to return by Dec 31 without facing any legal action.

The Malaysian home ministry has launched a fresh amnesty programme for undocumented Bangladeshi migrants, which will let them return home without facing any legal action.

Estimated two lakh undocumented Bangladeshi migrants in Malaysia will get an opportunity to return home under this programme, said Bangladesh home ministry officials.

Malaysian Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday said the new programme, “Program Back for Good”, was aimed at repatriating undocumented foreign migrants, reported Malaysian news outlet The Star Online.

The programme will begin on August 1 and end on December 31 this year, the report added.

The returnees will have to pay a fine of RM 700 (around Tk 14,000) to obtain proper travel documents like passports and special travel passes under this programme, Yassin said, adding the migrants would have to arrange their own transportation to their home.
The whole repatriation process will be conducted solely by the Malaysian Immigration Department, the Malaysian minister added.

“Once the new year begins, we will take action against both the illegal immigrants and their employers to the full extent of the law,” he said.

Mohammad Harun Al Rashid, an expert on labour migration, said all undocumented migrants, including Bangladeshis, should take this opportunity to return their home.

Bangladesh High Commission in Malaysia should also help process travel documents and the government should consider arranging air tickets for those who cannot afford those, he added.

Malaysia is a home to some 800,000 Bangladeshis.

The Malaysian Immigration Department detained 5,272 Bangladeshi workers, among other nationals, between January 1 and June 4 this year in stringent actions against undocumented foreign workers.

At a press conference, Yassin said his government would not entertain issues like undocumented workers not being paid by employers and not having money to return home.

“They are here illegally. We are not going to help settle their salary disputes,” he added.

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