Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary- General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Malacca on Wednesday, 4.9.1985 at 11.30 a.m.
DAP delegation to meet Indonesian Ambassador to convey to Indonesian government authorities the Malaysian people’s grave concern at the unrestricted influx of illegal Indonesian immigrants
Radio and Television Malaysia news bulletins yesterday carried two items which have direct bearing on the problem of illegal Indonesian immigrants in Malaysia.
One news item reported that in the second quarter of this year, some 48,000 workers, mostly foreigners (and undoubtedly with Malaysians as the majority) were retrenched in Singapore. The second news item reported a statement by the Deputy Health minister, Datuk K. Pathmanaban, that the illegal immigrants is one main cause of the malaria comeback in Malaysia.
The problems created by the illegal Indonesian immigrants will become more complicated when more and more Malaysian workers abroad have to return because of retrenchments, especially as Malaysia’s unemployment rate is over six per cent.
The problem of illegal Indonesian immigrants is not a racial problem in the sense that only one or two racial groups are concerned. All Malaysians whether Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans or Ibans, are worried about this problem, whether from the socio-economic or law and order aspect!
The problems of illegal foreign nationals in Malaysia is not confined to the Indonesian, as there are the so-called ‘Filipino refugees’ in Sabah, the illegal Thai immigrants in Kelantan and the illegal Burmese Muslim immigrants in Teengganu. In Kelantan for instance, tens of thousands of Kelantanese who returned to the state after being retrenched in Singapore found themselves unable to compete with the illegal Thai immigrants.
But of all of the illegal foreign national groups in Malaysia, the illegal Indonesian immigrants pose the biggest problem, as there is an estimated one million of them in the country.
The Malaysia- Indonesia Agreement to supply and regularise Indonesian workers in Malaysia and to resolve the problem of illegal Indonesian immigrants is a big flop- for some of the Indonesian workers brought in legally have disappeared from their contracted workplace to join the rank of illegal Indonesian immigrants in Malaysia!
The people are very disappointed that after all these years, the government had not take firm, effective and meaningful measures to contain, check and resolve the problem of illegal Indonesian immigrants and other illegal foreign presence.
If the illegal Indonesian immigrants continue to enter Malaysia without restriction, it will strain the relationship between the people of Malaysian and Indonesian which would undo the work to build up an ASEAN spirit and solidarity in the last two decades.
The Indonesian Government must be made to understand the complex problems of political, economic, social, law and order dimensions which the illegal Indonesian immigrants are causing to Malaysia and its people. The DAP will send a delegation to meet the Indonesian Wmbassador to Malaysia to convey to him the Malaysian people’s grave concern at the continuing influx of illegal Indonesian immigrants, and the complete failure of the Malaysia Indonesia Agreement on the supply of Indonesian labour to resolve this problem.