Illegal immigrants plan to flee Malaysia before Sunday

MALACCA - Many illegal immigrants especially Indonesians are set to flee the country before Sunday when the authorities start the biggest crackdown in the country to flush out unwanted aliens.

Some of those interviewed said they were preparing to cross the Strait of Malacca via several spots in Merlimau here and Port Dickson in Negri Sembilan.

Adi Herwan, a 33-year-old construction worker from Tualang Agong in Java Timur, said he was willing to risk his life to cross the busy straits before Sunday.

"I do not want to be put in overcrowded Immigration depots. I want to go back home," he added.

Adi said that SMSes had been circulating among his countrymen on the massive operation against illegals and he was not taking any chances on being caught.

"It is not my fault for overstaying. You have to blame my employer who did not renew my passport.

"I cannot pass off as a local as the Malaysian authorities are sharp and can smell the presence of a foreigner among the locals," said the father of two.

Another Indonesian, Yutho Sudermen, 43, said he, too, had to resort to illegal passage to return to Bandung.

"First, we have to make it to Tanjung Rupat in Sumatra before making the journey overland to my home," he said, adding that his countrymen would depart by boat from several jetties here between tomorrow and Sunday.

He declined to name the jetties here and in Negri Sembilan but said that illegal Indonesian immigrants were desperate to leave the country before Sunday.

Yutho believed that many of his Bangladeshi colleagues were staying put, confident that the authorities would not check on them.

Indian national I.F. Arul from Tiruchi said that his employer was preparing for him to leave the country before Sunday to avoid action being taken against him under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007 (Amendment 2010).