400 undocumented Bangladesh nationals arrested in Malaysia

Md Owasim Uddin Bhuyan | Published: 22:26, May 15,2020 | Updated: 22:36, May 15,2020

 
 

The Malaysian authorities have arrested over 400 undocumented Bangladeshi migrant workers in separate crackdowns launched since the beginning of this month, said Malaysia-based rights activists.

The undocumented Bangladeshi migrants, among other foreign nationals, have been arrested from various locations in Selayang Pasar Brong, Masjid India and Malaya Mention City, they said.

The Malaysian authorities still have kept some places like PJ Old Town and Padu Pasar under lockdown and the police would launch crackdown to arrest more undocumented migrant workers from these two places very soon, the activists feared.

New Age contacted Bangladesh high commissioner in Malaysia Md Shahidul Islam, but he avoided making any comment at this moment about the ongoing crackdown.

About eight lakh Bangladeshis are currently working in Malaysia, according to officials in Dhaka.

Malaysia-based social mobiliser and consultant Abu Hayat told New Age Friday that Bangladeshi migrants were in grave worries due to ongoing crackdowns.

Malaysian authorities arrested more than 1,300 undocumented migrants, including 78 Bangladeshis, in a raid on Monday. Authorities claimed the crackdown was a precautionary measure to contain the spread of COVID-19, The Straits Times reported.

The Malaysian Immigration Department said in a statement on Tuesday that authorities had screened 7,551 migrants at the Kuala Lumpur Wholesale Market, where the majority of them worked.

Dhaka based Public policy analyst Sayeed Ahmed, also founder and CEO of Institute of Informatics and Development, told New Age that the ongoing crackdown against undocumented migrants in Malaysia has gone wrong both in ‘legal and rights perspective.’

So Bangladesh government should put up the issues at the international forums to protect the migrants, he said.

Malaysia-based NGO Tenaganita executive director Glorene A Das in a message to New Age said, ‘We are well aware that public health measures and social distancing rules intended to fight the COVID-19 pandemic are absolutely irreconcilable with the reality of detention and imprisonment of the undocumented migrants.’

She said, ‘Attention of the Malaysian government should be drawn to the application of anti-contagion regulations in overcrowded prisons, where a possible bigger outburst of the virus would be catastrophic.’

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