Malaysia to offer amnesty to illegal Filipino workers
COTABATO CITY, Philippines—Malaysia plans to offer amnesty to erring Filipino workers in Sabah and Kota Kinabalu during the fasting month of Ramadan in pursuit of the Islamic tenet on forgiving, an official of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) said.
Naguib Sinarimbo, ARMM executive secretary, told reporters that the Malaysian Ministry of Human Resources (MOHR) assured him during a recent visit that the Malaysian government was granting amnesty to Filipinos working in the predominantly Muslim country.
Deputy Human resources Minister Maznah Mazlan made the disclosure after an eight-member delegation from ARMM asked for legalization of hundreds of Filipino job-seekers sneaking illegally to the East Malaysian state of Sabah through the Sulu archipelago, Sinarimbo said.
Mazlan received the ARMM officials led by Sinarimbo at the MOHR office in the Malaysian government’s Putrajaya complex where she assured them of her ministry’s utmost attention.
Mazlan said her office would assist the legalization process, noting that another (Malaysian) agency was involved in the legalization of visiting job-seekers.
Mazlan said the process started after Ramadan started on August 1. Those likely to get amnesty are detained foreign workers with minor offenses such as lack of documentation who may be cleared and deported.
Sinarimbo said hundreds of residents in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao sneak through Tawi-Tawi to Sabah to seek employment, but usually end detained or deported with a tag “halaw,” a Malay term for rejected due to lack of official documents.
Citing official statistics, Mazlan said Malaysia has 1.9 foreign workers and some 35,340 of them are legally documented Filipino workers involved in household services, construction and agriculture jobs.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.