Migration is a separate issue


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 15 Jan 2003

By ZATUN SHARI

KUALA LUMPUR: The question of migration and people trafficking must be dealt with separately by the world community as they require different actions and legislation, Malaysia told an international forum here. 

Malaysia believed that issue of migrants must be settled bilaterally as the primary concern was the illegal entry of people into the country or overstaying, said Batang Lupar MP Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar. 

Wan Junaidi, presenting Malaysia’s proposed resolution on people trafficking at a plenary session of the 11th Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum annual meeting yesterday, said illegal immigrants who failed to secure jobs would resort to undesirable activities to earn a living, thereby creating problems. 

On addressing the migrant issue, he said Malaysia preferred regional conferences to global ones as this was largely a matter between neighbouring countries. 

He added that the regional conferences should be aimed at strengthening mechanisms for the orderly and legal entry into countries.  

“Co-operation and consultation between migrant sending and receiving countries should be enhanced to mutually maximise benefits,” he said. 

On people smuggling, Wan Junaidi said that this must be handled by both the countries of origin and the receiving ones. 

In tackling this issue, he said, they should not ignore the question of protecting women and girls from abuse. 

Wan Junaidi said there should also be a legal framework and intelligence at regional level to curb the menace. 

Australian opposition MP Bob Sercombe said there was a fine line between migrant workers and people trafficking. 

“Australia is not against immigration, but people trafficking is about manipulating the immigration and refugee system,” he said. 

He said that governments could not control the manipulation because the people smugglers had undermined the system. 

He said that Australia wanted all states to recognise the need for multilateral approaches to curb the menace. 

This could be done particularly through information sharing, co-operation between agencies, capacity building and strengthening legal and administrative framework, he said. 

Australia also urged all states to examine their border controls and assist in the timely return of undocumented illegal immigrants so as to reduce the incentive for people smuggling. 

On drug trafficking, Temerloh MP Datuk Mohd Sarit Jusoh, said bilateral and regional arrangements would be the best method to curb the menace. 

Presenting Malaysia’s resolution on the matter, he said that drug trafficking must be handled by the countries from where the drugs originated and countries where they landed up in. 

He added that co-operation among international organisations like Aseanopol, Interpol, WHO and the Colombo Plan secretariat was vital to combating drug trafficking. 

Thai head of delegation Kobsak Chutikul said his country wanted a common legislation among regional countries to deal with seizure of assets acquired from trade in illicit drugs. 

He said streamlining punishment among regional countries was important for dealing with smugglers who used different transit points. 

More than 150 delegates from 23 countries are attending the three-day meeting.  

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