Acehnese wanted jobs, says official

  • Nation
  • Friday, 29 Aug 2003

IPOH: The 232 Acehnese detained in Kuala Lumpur last week entered the country in search of jobs and not to seek political asylum, investigations by the Immigration Department revealed. 

Perak Immigration director Datuk Ishak Mohamed said they came to Malaysia for economic reasons and that their intention was to get registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for purposes of seeking employment. 

He said 16 of them had been deported, in two batches, following travel documentation facilitated by the Indonesian Embassy and air tickets for their Ipoh-Medan flight provided by their family members who had Malaysian permanent resident status. 

They had been detained at the immigration holding centre in Langkap, about 100km from here. 

On Aug 19, police rounded up the 232 Acehnese, including 11 women, in front of the UNHCR office in Kuala Lumpur. They were detained under the Immigration Act for not having valid travel documents. 

Ishak said the rest of them would be deported as soon as their travel documents were processed by the embassy. He said 75 of the Acehnese had entered the country with valid passports but had overstayed. 

“The rest we suspect entered the country illegally. But we will definitely send all of them back,” he said. 

Ishak said none of them were found to be involved with the separatist Free Aceh Movement struggling for an independent Aceh from the Indonesian republic. 

Earlier, UNHCR had requested that the Acehnese be granted temporary stay in the country in view of turmoil in Aceh. 

However, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is also Home Minister, stressed that they would have to be deported as they were without valid permits to remain in Malaysia. 

On Wednesday, the UNHCR office in Kuala Lumpur said asylum-seekers should not be treated as illegal immigrants and arrested. 

“Under international law, asylum-seekers are different from illegal immigrants, and should not be treated as illegal immigrants,” UNHCR spokesman Evan Ruth had said, noting however, that Malaysian law did not provide this distinction. – Bernama 

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

Next In Nation

Four suspects, including a policeman, nabbed for alleged robbery in JB
Cop found murdered with gunshot to head in Sibu
'Great mosque' once existed beneath A' Famosa, says Perzim
Senior cop linked to Nicky Gang released on bail
Former military intelligence head fined RM70,000 for corruption
Maqis hands over almost 10 tonnes of seized frozen meat to Zoo Negara
Covid-19: 2,448 private facilities registered as vaccination centres, 299 ready for operation
Covid-19: No sports, recreational activities allowed in MCO areas for two weeks
FT Ministry identifies bazaars, malls visited by hundreds of Covid-19-positive individuals, close contacts
Klang Valley roadblocks will follow district borders, says IGP

Stories You'll Enjoy