Illegal workers flee underground ahead of raids


Whereabouts unknown: The number of foreign workers at kongsi settlements has dwindled recently.

Whereabouts unknown: The number of foreign workers at kongsi settlements has dwindled recently.

PETALING JAYA: The cramped and stuffy kongsi in Mutiara Dam­ansara near here was noisy and a hive of activity for some 40 foreign workers up until a few days ago.

Most of them have gone into hiding knowing that the Immigration Dep­artment will launch a massive crackdown against illegal immigrants tomorrow.

When The Star team went to a kongsi yesterday, only a few workers were seen at their living quarters.

A Bangladeshi worker was seen resting in a tight space before returning to work.

At another site near Damansara Perdana, Thoriq (not his real name) said many of his co-workers had returned home because they were undocumented.

Thoriq, who came here from Bangladesh eight months ago, said a team of Immigration officers came to their work site recently, but no one was detained because they had proper documentations.

He claimed their agents, who failed to provide them with work permits, cheated many of the foreigners.

“Foreign workers are now very cautious when dealing with agents as they have heard stories of foreigners being cheated,” he said.

Thoriq said he could earn up to RM1,800 a month as a construction labourer.

Another Bangladeshi, Saifullah (not his real name), said the construction site he was working at in Mutiara Damansara had many documented workers.

Although he complained that the kongsi he lived in was cramped, Saifullah was grateful that he could earn a living without the fear of detention.

A stall operator who sells vegetables near the construction site also noticed that the number of foreign workers in the area had dwindled recently.

He believed many of the illegal workers had fled to places that were less prone to raids.

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