Engage calls upon Prime Minster Muhyiddin Yassin to immediately stop any plan to deport undocumented non-citizens under the enhanced movement control order as its unintended consequence may put Malaysian lives at risk by frustrating contact tracing by the Ministry of Health.
Engage is alarmed by the photos and footage of undocumented non-citizens in Menara City One, Masjid India, Malaya Mansion and Selangor Mansion (all under the enhanced movement control order) being arrested en mass and sent to immigration facilities.
Engage stresses, by breaking its promise of no repercussions for undocumented foreigners who come forward for screening, the government will irresponsibly put all 30 million Malaysians at risk.
By deporting thousands of undocumented foreigners under the enhanced movement control order, the government is causing fear to possibly up to 3.3 million undocumented foreign workers in Malaysia – an estimate by the Malaysian Employers Federation – – to avoid screening, go into hiding if they have developed symptoms or established contacts with Covid-19 patients, and frustrate efforts at contact tracing.
As Malaysia’s long coastlines make it impossible to completely stop the illegal movement of persons from Indonesia, which registers 10,551 cases as of 1 May https://www.sinarharian.com.my/article/81498/KHAS/Koronavirus/Covid-19-Kes-positif-di-Indonesia-meningkat-kepada-10551, the weeks after Hari Raya Aidil Fitri may see a surge of undocumented non-citizens who have contracted the disease avoid screening and contact tracing.
And the great sacrifice Malaysians have endured for seven weeks of the movement control order may be all in vain.
Engage reminds the PM that foreign workers – including the potentially 3.3 million undocumented ones – are also vital for our economy. Even for pure economic reasons, deporting foreign workers now is a bad move and misplaced priority because this obstructs the restarting of the economy and may cause a supply chain shock for those industries heavily dependent on foreign workers.
Engage appeals to the PM to consult the professional opinion of Noor Hisham Abdullah and his Ministry of Health team, instead of acting on political calculations, on strategies and actions needed to fight the pandemic. As late as 30 April Noor Hisham reiterated that the ministry only cares to screen and treat undocumented foreigners under the enhanced movement control order.
Engage executive committee