Undocumented Bangladeshi migrant workers were crowding the Malaysian Immigration Department offices in their last-minute effort to avail the country’s amnesty to return home within December 31, said officials and Bangladeshis in Kuala Lumpur.
They said that after the Christmas break Bangladeshi migrants continued to submit their Back For Good (B4G) applications to get back home before the New Year’s eve deadline.
Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday said that at least 188 Bangladeshi workers were issued special passes urgently otherwise they would miss their flights.
Those special passes were issued from Perak and Kusastan Immigration camps by taking the workers there, High Commission said in Facebook status.
Malaysia-based social mobiliser and consultant Abu Hayat said Friday that due to the heavy rush the Malaysian government kept open all immigration centres for the illegal foreign workers.
‘There are huge crowds in all centres. Bangladeshi workers among other nationals are forced to be in long queues,’ he said.
Abu Hayat also said that Bangladeshi workers were forced to buy one-way air tickets for more than RM 2,000 each as the crowds of the returnees were getting bigger.
He warned that the Malaysian authorities decided to take stern actions against the illegal workers who would stay on in the country after the amnesty deadline.
Malaysian newspaper The Star in a report on Friday quoted Bangladeshi worker Kader Mohamad, 45, as saying that the Malaysian government should extend the deadline as there were too many applicants at the counters.
Kader said that although he knew that the B4G programme had been in effect since August the duration was still too short and claimed that many others were unable to avail it on time.
‘The programme is a good amnesty scheme, not many countries do it. We are thankful, but there are too many wanting to apply,’ he said.
Kader has been at the Immigration headquarters since Thursday dawn with his brother.
Meanwhile, the BERNAMA news agency reported that 10,257 foreigners from 17 countries had registered at the Penang Immigration office as on December 24.
‘Of the total, Indonesians registered the highest number of 4,120 people, followed by Bangladeshis (4,017), Indians (774), Myanmar nationals (650) and Pakistanis (257),’ the report said.
Malaysian Immigraton Department director-general Khairul Dzaimee Daud said that the duty of arresting illegal immigrants would be carried out by relevant authorities based on current laws and procedures.
‘The department has consistently and continuously conducted operations to catch illegal immigrants, including tourists who overstayed.
‘Between January 1 and December 24, at total of 17,328 operations were conducted, resulting in the arrest of 50,715 illegals and 1,251 employers,’ he said in a statement.
He also called on the public to channel relevant information on illegal immigrants so that the department could take action.
According to Malaysian Immigration, about 40,000 Bangladeshis have already returned home as on December 15.