The Foreign Affairs Ministry says the Malaysian government has taken notice of Thailand’s recent crackdown on illegal foreign workers and begun one of its own, wrangling 79 illegal Cambodian migrant workers in two weeks.
In a statement issued on Friday, the ministry said Malaysian authorities arrested 79 illegal migrant workers between July 1 and 14.
“Among the 79 workers, there are 47 men and 32 women,” the statement said. “The Malaysian authorities are investigating to decide whether to deport them to Cambodia, or send them to court.”
The statement added that another 30 workers have sought refuge in the Cambodian embassy.
Ministry of Labour spokesman Heng Sour said the migrant workers caught in the crackdown did not have any proper documentation to be working in the country.
Mr Sour added that despite a memorandum of understanding between the two countries, workers are yet to be formally allowed to migrate to Malaysia for work.
“We are working with the Cambodian embassy there to offer legal services to protect those who are accused by the Malaysian authorities,” he said.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry meanwhile issued a second report on Friday regarding migrant workers across the region and its work to support them in the first half of 2017.
In Thailand, Cambodian officials intervened to help 178 workers being cheated by brokers and not being paid any wages, the statement said.
Cambodian officials in Thailand also aided 445 workers who were arrested after using illegal border crossings to access the country.
In Vietnam, Cambodian officials helped 68 workers who were victims of human trafficking, the statement added, noting that another 143 Cambodian workers who were also human trafficking victims received aid in Malaysia.
In Thailand, the Thai Labour Ministry has plans to open 99 centres to issue proper documents to foreign workers who remain in the country illegally, according to the Bangkok Post.
Of the 99 centres, 11 will be in the capital and will allow workers to gain easy access to required documentation as set out by an executive decree to regulate the employment of migrant labourers.