Malaysian authorities have informed the Bangladesh mission that at least 444 of its nationals had been detained this month in the country’s biggest crackdown on illegal immigrants.
The spokesperson for the Bangladesh foreign ministry, Md Shameem Ahsan, however, told bdnews24.com that they were “waiting for the formal notification on the number and details” of the detained Bangladeshis.
He said Malaysia’s Department of Immigration had informed the Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur that the detentions were made between Sep 1 and 3 for ‘various offences’.
The Malaysian Immigration Department, however, was yet to clarify the number of Bangladeshis detained in Operasi PATI Bersepadu (the name of the ongoing special crackdown) and those during regular immigration check, Ahsan said.
Malaysian Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had said earlier that the crackdown against illegal immigrants or those who had overstayed their visas would last till the end of this year.
Apart from Bangladesh, the detainees include the nationals of Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Cambodia, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Philippines, China, Nigeria and Thailand, and Hamidi.
One of Southeast Asia’s richest countries, Malaysia, is a major attraction for the region’s migrant workers.
Bangladesh had inked a deal with Malaysia to send workers under government-to-government (G2G) agreement to curb illegal recruitment.
Several batches of workers had already been sent there under this arrangement.
Malaysia plans to recruit 1.4 million Bangladeshi workers in phases from early next year.