269 Rohingya boat people detained in Langkawi

Some of the 269 Rohingya on board a boat intercepted by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency off Langkawi yesterday. (MMEA pic)

PETALING JAYA: A boat load of one dead person and 269 Rohingya have been detained in Langkawi after the security forces were unable to turn the boat away because its engine was beyond repair.

A national task force against illegal immigration said border officers had reported the boat heading towards Langkawi waters at 10.30pm on Sunday.

At 5am today, maritime enforcement officers and police approached the boat and asked the people on board to move away into international waters.

“When the patrol craft came nearer to the Rohingya boat, 53 of them jumped into the waters and headed towards the shore but all were detained,” the task force said.

“Checks showed that the boat engine was faulty so much so it could not be repaired.”

The security forces provided the Rohinya with food and clean water, and allowed them to berth at Teluk Ewa jetty in Langkawi. All the Rohingyas were placed at Kem Bina Diri while the body was handed over to the police for further action.

Those involved in the operation were the army, police, coastguard and other enforcement bodies.

So far this year, 396 illegal immigrants and 11 traffickers have been detained and 22 boats have been turned away to international waters, the task force said.

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