In a nationwide crackdown on unwanted foreigners that which started on Sunday, Malaysian authorities arrested 2433 illegal immigrants, including 387 Bangladeshis, on Monday.
Home Minister of Malaysia Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Indonesian nationals made up the biggest number of illegal immigrants arrested, accounting for 717, followed by Myanmar nationals (555), Bangladesh nationals (387) and Nepal nationals (229), according to Malaysian media reports.
Also held were nationals from Cambodia, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, China, Nigeria and Thailand, he added.
Ahmad Zahid also said 8,105 people were checked throughout the country as part of the integrated 6P illegal immigrant comprehensive legalization program carried out by the various enforcement agencies of the ministry and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
In the exercise on Sunday, 2,207 personnel from the ministry's agencies, such as the Immigration Department (976 personnel), People's Volunteer Corps or Rela, Royal Malaysia Police, Department of Civil Defence, National Registration Department, Anti-Smuggling Unit, National Anti-Drugs Agency and MACC were involved.
Ahmad Zahid said the ministry would continue to work with the diplomatic missions of the countries which are a source of immigrant workers to facilitate the issuing of permits.
"We’ll take action in accordance with the principles of international law, including that demanded by the International Labor Organization (ILO), to avoid human trafficking," he said.
The Ops 6P program involves an ongoing exercise to trace, arrest, prosecute and extradite foreign nationals who violate the country's immigration and anti-human trafficking laws.
Ahmad Zahid gave the assurance that the Immigration Department was prepared to approve applications for permits if the applicants adhered to rules and the proper channel.
"Although there have been claims that the Immigration Department made it difficult for them by not issuing permits despite repeated applications and through various means, I give the assurance that permits will be issued for applications that are in order.
"I hope the people will not use the services of middlemen but go directly to the One-Stop Centre represented by the ministry and departments to verify the issuing of permits by sector," he said.
387 Bangladeshis held in Malaysia