On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

Use all means to stop flow of illegals

Enforcement officials in Kuala Lumpur's City Hall have
long complained about the aggressive attitude of Indonesian traders, who have
now dominated the Chow Kit area.

The general sentiment of Malaysians is that the country has enough foreign
workers, especially Indonesians. And many of us are questioning how these lowly
educated, unskilled workers could easily secure permanent residence

It is heart-wrenching to read that Indonesian trouble-makers, including those
involved in religious extremism, have PR status when many foreign
professionals, especially those with Malaysians spouses, have difficulty in
extending their stay here.

The Cabinet has taken the right step of setting up coastal patrols to stop
illegal entries. It is long overdue and the job may even be difficult, given
our country's long coastline but effective measures are needed.

Taking immediate steps to deport them is good, but they must not be publicity
stunts to appease the public.

Long-term policies should be drawn up and implemented to stop the flow of
illegal Indonesian workers, who dominate in the construction, plantation and
service sectors.

Preventive measures by the security forces are necessary but there should also
be harsher punitive laws against employers. Laws are pointless if they are not

Everyone knows it is illegal to litter but the chances of being caught are
slim. The law says smoking is banned in air-conditioned eateries but smokers
flout the law openly because non-smokers and restaurant operators are too timid
to stop these irritants.

Employers who hire illegal workers must not be spared. Harsher laws will deter
employers from blatantly taking in those without proper documentation.
Indonesians readily attempt to enter the country because they know they can
find a job easily.

The weaknesses in the law must be plugged. Enforcement officers, including
policemen, who take bribes from illegal foreign workers should be punished and
the cases highlighted by the media.

It is not good enough to blame the foreigners because our lackadaisical
attitude has contributed to their increasing numbers.

The presence of these foreigners is no longer a labour or social issue. Besides
being a security problem, it has economic implications.

Malaysians are paying for the hospital services of Indonesian women who give
birth here and the education of their children who study in our schools and use
our facilities.

In the long term, there are political consequences. Some years back, a few
Indonesians were arrested taking part in reformasi demonstrations in Kuala
Lumpur. Now, they are found involved in religious militancy.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has given the right
advice to employers: hire Indonesians as a last resort.

He has said that we should look for workers elsewhere, including Vietnam and
Cambodia, because there has been too much trouble from the Indonesians.

There is no need to pay heed to statements from liberal groups who criticise
the Malaysian Government for deporting troublemakers.

The authorities will get the support of most Malaysians for their tough action
against Indonesians who enter the country illegally. The influx must be