Home Minister: Yes, we need foreign workers, but they must be legal


  • Nation
  • Monday, 06 Jul 2020

PORT KLANG: Malaysia needs foreign workers, but will not be lenient towards undocumented migrants, says Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin (pic).

He said that as the Home Minister, his main concern is the safety and security of Malaysians and ensuring that those who live in Malaysia abide by the laws of the country.

"It is not that we do not want them (foreign workers). We need them as we want to develop this country, especially in the heavy-lifting jobs. We will need foreign workers, but what is important is that they follow the law.

"My concern is with the people of Malaysia and what the people want.

"The people want to see that those who live in this country are law-abiding citizens. If they want to work here, let them have permits and documentation.

"We are not bothered about foreign media reports. So, even if the foreign media say that we are too strict, I feel that is what the people want - a government that is strict against those who break the law.

"We should not bother about foreign reports which like to spin stories.

We arrest and operate according to the law and the standard operating procedures," said Hamzah.

He was asked to comment on a recent report by a foreign media outlet that Malaysia has been harsh in dealing with undocumented migrants during the Covid-19 lockdown, as they have been left to fend for themselves and hounded by the authorities.

Hamzah was speaking to the media after witnessing the MMEA receive two new patrol boats on Monday (July 6) in the government’s initiative to make Malaysian coast security as good as international coast guards.

The patrol crafts were received by MMEA director-general Admiral (Maritime) Datuk Mohd Zubil Mat Som.

The two new-generation patrol crafts - KM Kota Kinabalu and KM Tok Bali - will be used to further enhance enforcement on the waters off Kelantan and Sarawak in the Malaysia maritime zones, against activities like smuggling, illegal fishing and human trafficking.

Hamzah said that such equipment is necessary to enable the MMEA to work together with the Malaysian Armed Forces and Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) in the National Task Force to halt the arrival of undocumented migrants using the Malaysian Maritime Sea Monitoring System.

The government has been criticised by NGOs for detaining undocumented migrants during the movement control order (MCO).

Authorities have defended their actions, stating that they were merely acting within the law.

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