KANGAR - Catch the human trafficking ringleaders and give them stiff punishments.
This was Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's message to the Malaysian authorities following the discovery of mass graves of migrants at the Malaysian border areas.
He said the authorities should prosecute the human trafficking syndicate leaders and not just their henchmen.
"We need to co-operate with other governments to determine who the masterminds are and nab them.
"As far as I know, the masterminds are not Malaysians.
"I have instructed our police force to conduct thorough investigations.
"Stern action will be taken against anyone involved in or helping these syndicates," he told a press conference after attending the Anugerah Desa Sejahtera 1Malaysia presentation ceremony in Kampung Kurong Tengar, Kuala Perlis, here.
He added that the issue of human trafficking and refugees had to be solved at the ASEAN and international levels as it was a collective problem faced by several countries.
Najib also called on Myanmar to play its part as the country was the source of the problem.
"Our priority now is to save the thousands of stranded migrants at sea and give them shelter and food so that they can live with dignity and a future," he added.
Najib said he would also discuss the issue with other heads of governments, including the United States, on how they could play their roles.
"We want a response from the global community.
"It cannot just be a Malaysian solution."
On the proposal to build physical border barriers between Malaysia and Thailand, Najib said it would be too costly.
"If we build walls, they (illegal immigrants) will try to come from the waters. That is a problem too," he added.
Meanwhile, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim told The Star that three boats believed to be loaded with illegal migrants near Pulau Jarak in Perak "disappeared" when enforcement teams went looking for them on Friday.
He said that when a navy vessel reached the site, the boats had moved elsewhere.
A police source said the exhumation team would be given access the graves via the easier route from within Thailand on Wednesday.