KUALA LUMPUR - The Government has refuted claims in a documentary aired on Al-Jazeera that Malaysia has an estimated four million foreign illegal workers, with some being trafficked into the country.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic) said the documentary had unfairly portrayed Malaysia as if it were flooded with foreign workers.
"Based on our own investigation on the documentary made by Al-Jazeera, the recording was made about six months ago.
"With the introduction of the online application registration system (for foreign workers), it means that the issue no longer arises," Dr Ahmad Zahid said in reply to a supplementary question from Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (PKR-Permatang Pauh) during Question time in Parliament.
Dr Wan Azizah had asked the Government on the measures taken following the documentary by Al-Jazeera, and how it intends to tackle the problem of illegal foreign workers.
Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is also the Home Minister, claimed that Al-Jazeera had touched on many other issues that had put the country in a negative light.
"That is why they have problems with other countries as well. I hope this explanation will clear the situation," he said.
He also denied allegations that 1.5 million workers from Bangladesh have been brought into Malaysia, saying that this figure was actually the total number of Bangladeshi nationals who had registered with their government to work overseas.
On the action to be taken against employers who did not register their illegal foreign workers, Dr Ahmad Zahid said they would be charged in court according to the law.
"So far, a total of 1,066 premises have been inspected, while 14,585 people have been checked, and 4,567 illegal foreign workers have been detained," he added.