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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs             13  July 2011

Malysia begins amnesty for foreign workers

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The legalisation and amnesty exercise for illegal immigrants, code-named "6P", will be implemented by the Home Ministry on Aug 1.

The exercise, which was supposed to kick off on July 11, was postponed to make way for the implementation of the biometric registration of legal foreign workers until July 31, said ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Mahmood Adam in a press statement, as reported by Bernama.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein on Monday decided to postpone the legalisation and amnesty exercise for illegal immigrants as he was not satisfied with some of the plans regarding the program.

Mahmood said that with the biometric registration, the Immigration Department would be able to identify legal foreign workers who ran away from their employers.

Those identified would not be allowed to take part in the legalisation process and would be advised to return to their original employers, or be deported through the expulsion process. Some 1.8 million legal foreign workers are employed by Malaysian employers.

The embassy's information, social and cultural affairs head Suryana Sastradiredja said Indonesians made up 60 percent or about 700,000 of the total number of illegal foreign workers in Malaysia.

Normally, he said, the embassy would process and issue about 1,200 passports per day, but the number was expected to rise to between 7,000 and 9,000 when the registration process began.

He added that unscrupulous agents had started duping illegal workers, charging between RM300 and RM5,000, to register them.

He added that the embassy would forward the names of these agents to the Malaysian authorities. Nepal's labour attach? Surya Prasad Bhandari said the postponement was causing inconvenience to Nepali workers.

He said many Nepalese here were not "illegal workers;" they were merely seeking to register the status of the new job.

"Those affected were promised specific jobs by their agents but ended up being employed in other sectors," he said.

There are an estimated 300,000 Nepalese working here, most of them in the manufacturing sector.


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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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