9 Filipinos arrested in Malaysia for not having proper immigration papers

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DFA spokesman Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Malaysian authorities arrested nine Filipinos who did not have proper immigration documents on September 3, the third day of a crackdown on foreign nationals illegally staying there, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Thursday.

Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez said eight of the Filipinos were arrested at the Labuan Federal Territory in eastern Malaysia and one was caught in Bintulu, Sarawak.

“We continue to closely monitor the situation. We also wish to reiterate our call for our kababayans in Malaysia to fully complete their immigration documentation and always carry proper identification documents,” Hernandez told reporters in a press briefing.

Malaysia began its crackdown on undocumented foreign workers through simultaneous nationwide operations on September 1, leading to the detention of more than 2,400 undocumented foreigners, reports from Malaysia indicated.

Apart from Filipinos, among those affected so far are nationals from Burma, Bangladesh, Nepal, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, China, Nigeria, Thailand, Malaysian media quoted Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as saying.

Earlier this week, the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur called on Filipinos to complete proper immigration documentation and to carry their papers at all times in case of immigration checks.

Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Eduardo Malaya also met with Hamidi on Monday to request proper treatment of Filipinos who might be affected by the crackdown.

The Commission on Filipinos Overseas placed the number of Filipinos in Malaysia, at 569,081 Filipinos in Malaysia, as of 2011.  Of that number, some 447,590 are listed as “irregular.”

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