On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

Law applies to all illegal migrants

Amien should, in fact, take responsibility for the high
unemployment level in Indonesia
instead of running down its neighbour.

After all, the man who started the reformasi movement in Indonesia,
with the support of the United States
then, was instrumental in pushing for economic and political reforms in Indonesia.

Through the fiasco of measures from the International
Monetary Fund and the government, thousands of Indonesians were thrown out of
their jobs when companies closed.

Instead of warning Malaysia,
Indonesian leaders like Amien should bear the responsibility of what is
happening to their people.

If Indonesians had been badly treated in Malaysia,
our authorities would not have theirs hands full stopping the inflow of illegal

With 10% of Malaysia's
22 million people comprising foreigners, mostly Indonesians, we have reached a
point where we can no longer accept more foreigners.

But Amien has missed the point – the law applies to all
illegal immigrants and not just Indonesians. It so happens that Indonesians
form the majority.

has continued to be a magnet for Indonesians beca-use they know there is no
future in their homeland. They know their politicians will not bring any real
changes to their country. Strangely, Amien has kept silent on Singapore,
which has similar laws, including whipping.

On our part, we need to seriously amend laws to revoke
the permanent resident status of foreigners who are caught for being involved
in criminal activities.

Last week, it was reported that the government could not
simply revoke the status because the law did not allow it. If the report is
correct, then we are saying that the many arrested Indonesian criminals with
Malaysian PR status would continue to keep that privilege.

It certainly makes a mockery of the whole exercise.

It also brings into question how much investigation has
been carried out of the applicant's background by Malaysian authorities in
approving the PR status.

A similar criticism, as expected, came from Bangladesh.

The country's English language daily, The New Paper, in a
front-page commentary also criticised Malaysia.

"What is hurting and shameful is that the illegal immigrants,
many of whom may have been just victims of cheating and exploitation of the
unscrupulous recruiting agents within Malaysia,
will be subject to beating and jail for offences for which they were not really

"We have a good relationship with Malaysia
and that is why it is particularly disturbing that those illegal immigrants
from Bangladesh
who were engaged in construction and other fields should not have been
regularised," said the paper.

Without doubt, the foreigners who suffered the most are
the poor, those who have sold off what's left of their possessions to make
their trip here in search of a better life.

But whatever the circumstances, there is no excuse for
entering a country illegally. The punishment meted out by Malaysian authorities
is not for ordinary workers only but also the employers.

Government officials found to have worked with such
syndicates should also be punished to serve as a reminder about the need to
stay away from corruption.

The country's security is our priority. There is no place
for greedy officials who are prepared to put the nation's stability at risk.

In fact, the Bangladeshi newspaper charged that the
"recruiting agents were also aided by a section of corrupt Malaysian officials
without whose support they could not have been able to send these people in.

"While these hapless people are punished, those who
exploited them – the recruiting agents and corrupt officials – remain outside
the reach of justice.

"There are reports of Malaysian employers being in league
with these agents as they could employ these people at low wages," it added.

While this newspaper did not back these allegations with
evidence, we should not take them lightly. Many of us, in fact, have heard of
such allegations although not many are prepared to come forward to substantiate

and Bangladesh
are certainly unhappy with the deportations but Malaysia
merely wants foreign workers to work here with proper documents.

Our country certainly needs foreign labour but an orderly
and transparent system is required to ensure that only genuine workers are
allowed into the country.