3 govts agree to take back Covid-free migrants

Undocumented migrants being rounded up in a recent raid by immigration authorities.

PUTRAJAYA: The governments of Indonesia, Nepal and Bangladesh have agreed to Putrajaya’s decision to deport undocumented migrants who test negative for Covid-19.

Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Wisma Putra would hold discussions with its counterparts in those countries on how to send the migrants home.

“I hope all other governments will follow in their footsteps to cooperate with Malaysia in sending back their undocumented citizens,” he said in his daily briefing here today.

Previously, Ismail had said that undocumented migrants who had been found negative after screening would be deported to their home countries.

He said the 4,399 migrants who were part of the three immigration depot clusters in Bukit Jalil, Semenyih and Sepang had been screened, and only 13 were still waiting for their results.

“As of May 27, out of the 4,399 screened, 354 undocumented migrants from the three depots have been found positive for Covid-19,” he said.

Three hundred and five were from the Bukit Jalil depot, 45 from Semenyih and four from Sepang.

They had been sent to the quarantine centre at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) for treatment.

He said the Immigration Department staff at the depots and other workers such as food suppliers had also been screened, with only one testing positive.

Ismail said the government would continue to monitor rat trails used by undocumented migrants to enter the country illegally.

Since May 1, he said, 327 undocumented migrants, 41 traffickers and seven suspected migrant smugglers had been arrested for trying to cross the border through these rat trails.

Meanwhile, 86 undocumented migrants, including three traffickers, and three ships carrying undocumented migrants attempting to enter the country illegally had been sent back by enforcement authorities.

He said the government would continue its crackdown against undocumented migrants.

However, no action would be taken against documented migrants with recently expired visas. “We know that the embassies have been closed due to Covid-19.”

He said those who wished to go home may show their plane tickets to the immigration authorities at the airport and they would not need to present valid visas.

“If they want to stay longer, the immigration offices have been reopened and they need to set up an appointment to renew their visas.”

Ismail also said the Cabinet meeting this morning decided that Malaysian students under scholarships who had completed their studies abroad and wished to return home need not  bear 50% of their quarantine costs if they stayed at hotels.

He said their sponsors would need to bear this cost after the 50% government subsidy.

There are 269 active quarantine centres, and 174 centres are currently housing 12,913 patients under observation.

Meanwhile, 95 more back-up quarantine centres are ready to house more Malaysians returning home from overseas, if necessary.

Yesterday, 886 Malaysians returned from Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei, Egypt, Japan, Hong Kong and Qatar and are now undergoing mandatory quarantine.

A total of 43,025 Malaysians have been quarantined since April 3, and 34,445 have been discharged.

On a separate matter, Ismail said enforcement authorities had conducted 71,395 checks to ensure SOP compliance yesterday.

A total of 194,813 vehicles were checked at 150 interstate roadblocks. Eight hundred and forty-two vehicles had attempted to travel interstate to go back to their hometowns, and were asked to turn back.

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