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March 29, 2008

Govt to crack down overstaying migrant workers

The Malaysian government plans to launch a nationwide crackdown to weed out and deport some 200,000 foreign workers who have overstayed their working permits, Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar warned Friday.

Syed Hamid said the workers had extended their stay in Malaysia, adding that unskilled foreign workers were only allowed to work for a maximum of five years while skilled workers were allowed a maximum of 10 years.

He said many of the workers had applied to be permanent residents, and upon failing to qualify, decided to stay back as illegal immigrants.

"They can't work here forever. There are some who think they have a right to be permanent residents. They don't acquire such a right by working in this country," he was quoted as saying by the official Bernama news agency.

Syed Hamid told reporters there were about 2.1 million registered foreign workers in the country.

Malaysia is home to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants from Indonesia, the Philippines, India and China.

Every year, the government launches nationwide crackdowns on the workers, sending them to detention centres before deporting them.

More on Malaysia


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