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Indian illegal immigrants in M’sia, but what about ‘missing’ Indonesians?

                                Indian illegal immigrants in M’sia, but what about ‘missing’ Indonesians?

 The less than coincidental trumpeting of “missing Indians” in the country’s three leading English papers (Jan 13, 2010) can be read in a number of ways. One interpretation – the fact that more than 39,000 citizens of India are ‘missing’ in Malaysia – is that this disclosure was a preventive strike by PM Najib during his meeting with a team of Indian journalists.

The claim would cleverly distract from the likely questions raised by the visiting Indian journalists on the way that the Malaysian government has been handling problems and concerns of the Malaysian Indian community. The other is that the disclosure would serve as a welcome distraction to the national furore over the court judgement of the Herald use of the ‘Allah’ word in its publication. A third interpretation is that we accept it at its face value, which is that the PM would welcome Indian priests and barbers to come and work in the country and for the others to come in as tourists, but that this abuse by Indian citizens is a major concern and issue. Was the Prime Minister playing to a local ethnically sensitized gallery or was he trying to play the one-upmanship game against a foreign group? Or was he protecting national interests?

Supporters of the PM and BN Government may want to give him the benefit of the doubt by arguing that he has our national interests at heart. I think though that the jury should be out on this matter of government policy on foreigners illegally overstaying in Malaysia. The issue of foreign workers, especially Indonesians, illegally in Malaysia has long been a major headache. Both in terms of numbers and socio-economic – not to mention political – impact, the issue of Indonesian visitors should have engaged the priority attention of the Government.

Instead we have seen a consistent pattern of official denial and unwillingness during the last 30 years to discuss the issue openly, and to openly come out with the facts and figures so that all stakeholders can provide their views and we can arrive at optimal policies instead of the weak, piecemeal and politically motivated ones that presently exist. In what was supposed to be substantiation of the PM’s concern on “missing Indians”, data was provided that foreigners misusing their Visa-on-Arrival facility were from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Hong Kong and Taiwan. There was no mention at all of Indonesia. Presumably “missing Indonesians” become too rapidly transformed into “resident Malaysians” and “fellow Bumiputeras” too quickly for the authorities to be able to react.

According to various estimates, there may be as many as several million undocumented workers from Indonesia in Malaysia. This is a number that our normally super efficient Department of Statistics is still strangely unable to verify. How many have become permanent residents, if not citizens, is also hidden from public awareness by the Official Secrets Act. If the PM was expressing concern on the issue of “missing visitors” in the country, he should have done so many years earlier. Clearly the horses have already long bolted.

source : http://english.cpiasia.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1838:indian-illegal-immigrants-in-msia-but-what-about-missing-indonesians-&catid=141:lim-teck-ghees-contribution&Itemid=93

January 14, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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