Exco man: Turning a blind eye to illegal foreigners a recipe for disaster

MELAKA: The thousands of foreign workers who seemingly disappeared after losing their jobs during the pandemic will one day emerge to be a bane for the state, says state executive councillor Datuk Wira AR Ismail Othman.

The unity, human resources and consumer affairs committee chairman warned that Melaka would face big problems if this matter is not dealt with accordingly.

“There were thousands of foreigners who were not accounted for after losing their jobs last year.

“The state could face another kind of emergency in a few years if stakeholders don’t do something about illegal immigrants,” he said in an interview.

He said the presence of so many illegal immigrants was also not going to bode well for a multicultural diversity like that of Melaka.

“They will start creating problems for the locals sooner or later,” Ismail said.

He said they would end up entering the black economy to continue their livelihoods.

“I have received tip-offs on illegal immigrants involved in agriculture activities in rural areas and villages.

“The question is: how did these illegal immigrants get access to plots of land owned by locals?” he said.

Ismail said punitive action should also be taken against locals for harbouring illegal immigrants.

He urged locals to play a role in helping to identify illegals by informing the authorities if they are aware of undocumented immigrants living among them.

“Let’s all work collectively before it’s too late,” he added.

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