SUBANG JAYA: The Immigration Department has deported 494 illegal Indonesian immigrants, who were flown home from the Subang Royal Malaysian Air Force base in five Indonesian C-130 Hercules planes Tuesday.
Authorities were expected to send another 209 illegal immigrants home Wednesday as part of a deal brokered by Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Indonesia’s Manpower Minister Muhammad Hanif Dhakiri.
The move, hailed as the first ever joint immigration correspondence between Malaysia and Indonesia, will see the department send back a large number of Indonesian immigrants held in detention centres here, while Indonesia would bear the cost for their new travel documents and their flight home.
Malaysia, on the other hand, would drop all charges against those being sent back but would impose a three-to-six-month “cooling period” during which the illegal immigrants would not be allowed to return to Malaysia.
The first batch of illegal immigrants arrived at Halim Perdana Kusumah Air Force Base in Jakarta at 2pm Tuesday, said Indonesian ambassador to Malaysia Herman Prayitno, who hailed the collaboration between his mission and the Malaysian authorities.
He said that the illegal immigrants who were sent back were released from nine Immigration Department depots in Bukit Jalil, KLIA, Lenggeng, Machap Umboo, Tanah Merah, Semenyih, Langkap, Juru and Ajil.
Immigration deputy director-general (operations) Datuk Sakib Kusmi called the move a “win-win” for both countries, adding that the department was hoping to work with more embassies to send back their illegal immigrants to save costs.
“We don’t want to keep them here for too long, they have to go home and we’d also like to control the number of foreigners entering Malaysia,” he said, adding that those sent back will have their biometrics saved into a system to prevent them from entering the country illegally again.
Sakib said another 500 Indonesian illegal immigrants still remained in Immigration depots around the country because some were linked to crime cases or had problems with their documents.