SEREMBAN: The 67 undocumented Indonesians detained in a raid in Nilai last week had no plans to return home anytime soon, says Immigration director-general Datuk Seri Khairul Dzaimee Daud (pic).
The settlement where they were found had been in existence for some time and showed all the signs of a long-term dwelling place, he added.
"The settlement was in a secluded and swampy area only accessible on foot, (a walk of) 1.2km," he said in a statement on Tuesday (Feb 7).
He said there were also gen-sets in the settlement and a makeshift school where the Indonesian syllabus was taught, while the area was surrounded by snares and guarded by dogs.
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The 67 detainees – 31 adults and 36 children – ranged in age from two months to 72 years.
Authorities also seized spears and machetes in the raid, Khairul Dzaimee said, in response to a statement by Indonesia’s National Commission on Human Rights condemning the 1.30am Feb 1 raid.
The commission claimed the department had not complied with the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
The association also claimed the children were being prepared for integration so they could enter the Indonesian national school system once they returned home.
Khairul Dzaimee gave his assurance that all the detainees sent to the Immigration depot in Lenggeng would be well looked after.
"With regard to the wellbeing and safety of the detainees, Immigration is committed to ensuring that all aspects of their welfare are taken care of in accordance with standards," he said.
He added that the matter was also discussed among Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail and Indonesia's Manpower Minister Ida Fauziyah and Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna H. Laoly on Jan 31.
"The entry and presence of foreigners in Malaysia are subject to the policies, regulations and legislation in force, including the need to have a valid travel document, complying with the permitted period of stay, as well as compliance with the conditions of the passport issued.
"Immigration will ensure that this is implemented in an orderly manner so that national security and sovereignty are not threatened or compromised," he said.
Khairul Dzaimee said the authorities conducted the raid following complaints from locals concerned about their safety.
The department also conducted a month-long surveillance before the raid, he added.
Those detained were being investigated under the Immigration Act 1959/63, Passport Act 1966 and Immigration Rules 1963 for not having a valid travel document, overstaying and related offences.
Khairul Dzaimee added that the detainees would be repatriated as soon as possible, and stressed that the raid had nothing to do with the department's Labour Recalibration Programme 2.0 (RTK 2.0) which allows employers to register illegal foreign workers.
"Those who wished to stay on in Malaysia should have taken advantage of the programme.
"The programme was introduced to help meet demand for labour as well as to ensure compliance with Immigration regulations," he said.