Arrests of illegals done properly — Ismail Sabri


PUTRAJAYA: Measures taken by the government to detain illegal immigrants in areas under the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) are based on existing laws aimed at protecting the nation’s interests.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said as a sovereign nation, Malaysia has the authority to implement these measures, and therefore, all parties must respect the laws of the land.

“We have the right to make any decision meant to protect the nation’s interests and we carry them out based on existing laws,” he said at the daily Movement Control Order (MCO) media briefing here yesterday.

Ismail Sabri was responding to the statement by Amnesty International, who had questioned the authorities’ move to arrest illegal immigrants in EMCO areas, saying that placing people in detention centres exposes them to increased risk of contracting Covid-19.

Ismail Sabri, who is also Defence Minister, said all illegals detained in EMCO areas are subjected to compulsory Covid-19 screening before they are sent to detention centres.

“Those from EMCO areas will have swab tests taken, and I was made to understand that those from the Masjid India area took the (swab) test thrice,” he said.

He said the decision to place them in detention centres was also to ensure they would not be able to roam freely once the EMCO period ends.

“Where are they planning to go once the EMCO ends? Does this mean we allow those who enter the country to move freely even if they do not have valid travel documents? he asked, while adding that Amnesty International must respect the country’s laws.

Ismail Sabri said the government will ensure social distancing directives are adhered to at all Immigration detention centres.

He also stressed that the government will continue to tighten border security to prevent foreigners from sneaking into the country through rat routes. – Bernama