India seeks amnesty for undocumented workers in Malaysia

11-Oct-2018 Intellasia | New Straits Times | 6:00 AM Print This Post

India has sought an amnesty for its illegal workers in Malaysia so that they can either regularise their stay or return home, Human Resources minister M. Kulasegaran said.

The matter came up for discussion during a meeting between Kulasegaran and India’s minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi on Monday.

Speaking to journalists here, Kulasegaran said he had informed the Indian minister that an independent committee is studying various issues related to foreign workers in the country and after it submits its report, Malaysia will look at “what best can be done” about the undocumented workers from India.

On the issue of amnesty, Kulasegaran said: “We have no objection to that.”

There are some 150,000 Indian workers in Malaysia, but the minister didn’t give an estimate about the number of those without proper documentation.

Malaysia and India are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding on migrant labour by January, Kulasegaran said.

The minister during his meeting with Swaraj also raised the issue of the steep hike in Indian visa fee for Malaysian visitors.

He proposed that India should allow visa-free entry for two weeks to Malaysians coming “principally for spiritual and religious” purposes.

“The minister has agreed to consider it,” Kulasegaran said.

He said with Malaysia being home to the largest Indian diaspora, numbering more than two million and the majority adhering to the Hindu faith, such a move could significantly boost tourism to India.

The issue of 52-year-old Indian preacher Zakir Naik, whose extradition is being sought by New Delhi on charges of extremism, also came up during the meeting with Swaraj.

She wanted to know when Malaysia would deport him.

“We said the Malaysian government has not made a final decision to deport him. We will leave it to the courts to decide,” Kulasegaran told the journalists.

“We will ensure that necessary justice (and) fair play is there,” he said, referring to the accusations by Naik’s supporters that the charges against him are politically motivated.

The Malaysian minister, accompanied by a delegation, arrived in Delhi on Saturday night for a week-long India visit.


Category: Malaysia

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