Malaysia marine police rescued 40 illegal immigrants after their boat capsized in the waters off Punggai on 14 January. The victims were Indonesians and Bangladeshis believed to have been returning to their homelands.
The influx of immigrants from Bangladesh and Indonesia has emerged as a huge concern in the Southeast Asian country. A new Employer Mandatory Commitment rule and steep penalties for hiring illegal migrant labours have been imposed by the government after Malaysia was ranked by a US trafficking report as the country where human trafficking incidents are excessively high.
According to Bernama, Region 2 Marine Police Commander ACP Paul Khiu Khon Chiang said that the boat capsized at around 9:30pm, when it was being chased by the marine police. "When the patrol boat tried to approach the vessel, it sped away before the boat was tipped over by a huge wave, causing all passengers to be thrown overboard," said the officer at reported.
"Three of them sustained injuries before all were rescued by the marine police," he added. The injured were rushed to the Sultan Ismail Hospital and Kota Tinggi Hospital.
Meanwhile, the other immigrants were taken to Pengerang police station to assist in the investigations, reported the news website.