800 detained Bangladeshis await amnesty
Although the Malaysian authorities declared an amnesty to the illegal foreign workers, around 800 Bangladeshis languishing in jails and detention centres may not benefit from it as they still await an official decision.
Bangladesh High Commission here recently raised the issue in a meeting with Malaysia's home ministry and was told that those sentenced to jail terms would not be granted amnesty, according to an official of Bangladesh mission.
“There has been no decision yet in this regard,” said Mantu Kumar Biswas, labour counsellor of the embassy.
A legal employer could release a detained worker within 14 days of arrest, but it is not clear if they would be interested to free any of the workers by that time frame, he added.
Once the time period is over, they would be tried and sentenced if found guilty, mentioned Mantu.
Malaysian human rights activist Dr Irene Fernandez observed clemency to the detained workers is unlikely.
However, she insisted for granting amnesty to the workers picked up for non-criminal reasons, such as violating the immigration laws.
She found most of the Bangladeshi workers are not responsible for their irregular status, but it is either for their employers, agents or brokers.
“Even those sentenced to jail terms for flouting immigration laws should not be blacklisted. They should be allowed to return here for work after their deportation, if they want,” she said.
Around five lakh Bangladeshis are in Malaysia, of whom an estimated three lakh are undocumented.
The Malaysian government declared the amnesty for about two million irregular foreign workers and asked them to register.
The registration began yesterday after a day's delay due to software glitches.
The clemency would allow the unregistered workers either to return home without facing any penalty or resume work here.