The Immigration Department of Malaysia plans to expedite the deportation of about 4,000 undocumented Indonesians currently held in its detention centers, so they may arrive home in time for the fasting month starting on May 15.
They could arrive even earlier, if their families were willing to shoulder the cost of their return, Malaysia’s director general of immigration, Dato’ Seri Haji Mustafar Bin Haji Ali, told The Jakarta Post Wednesday.
During the first coordination meeting between Indonesian and Malaysian immigration authorities in Batam, Riau Islands, Mustafar encouraged undocumented Indonesians in Malaysia to turn themselves in for a lighter punishment.
“According to the law, the punishment [for undocumented workers] is detainment and deportation. But if they give in themselves to us, they will only get a very low fine, and they can go home to Indonesia quickly,” he said. “But we’re trying to send them [home] all before the fasting month.”
Indonesia’s director general of immigration, Ronny Sompie, said during the meeting that the archipelago tightened the passport requirements for 6,000 Indonesians who showed indications that they would overstay their visas overseas.
“They are vulnerable of becoming victims of illegal work practices,” he said, adding that the immigration office had a checklist of characteristics identifying a possible undocumented worker.
“They show obvious signs,” Ronny said. “If any families of the [Indonesian] detainees in Malaysia can pay for their loved one’s return, please contact us, we will facilitate a discussion with Malaysian immigration officials.”