At least 14 Indonesians were killed and12 still missing after a boat carrying 62 people capsized a few metres away from the shores of Pantai Batu Layar in Johor, the authorities said on Sunday.
The authorities said the mishap occurred when the passengers were trying to sneak out of Malaysia.
Johor Immigration Department director Rohaizi Ibrahim said the incident took place between 8pm and 9pm on Saturday.
"Initial investigations revealed that the group was attempting to sneak out of the country via a non-gazetted route in a bot pancung (rickety boat)," Rohaizi told The Star Online.
"The group had climbed the boat at around 7pm last night but were struck by waves as high as two metres that caused the boat to capsize," he added.
Rohaizi also said that the 34 survivors were handed over to the department on Sunday for further investigations.
"The villagers rushed to the rescue of the victims before handing over some of them when the authorities arrived," he said.
Earlier, the Fire and Rescue Department issued a statement on the accident and said four people including three women died in the tragedy.
The search and rescue teams are still looking for the 21 people who went missing in the sea.
Azlan Mohd Sobri, the operation commander of the department said 29 army personnel, 12 police officers, and three hospital staff members are working on this operation. The Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) officers were also assisting them in the operation.