The press statements by YB Dato’ Seri Hamzah Zainudin, Minister of Home Affairs on 29 May 2021 and 3 June 2021 have created the perception among many that the government has decided to launch a plan to arrest and detain undocumented migrants (or illegal immigrants in government lingo) on a massive scale over a short period of time.

We, from the various organizations that have signed this petition, view the current approach of arresting and detaining undocumented migrants at this time further complicating efforts to fight the pandemic among Malaysians, because:

1. Such operations will intimidate foreign workers, regardless of whether they are documented or undocumented. In fact, such actions would cause them to avoid any government representative and go to hide. Therefore, this will defeat the government’s efforts to create herd immunity in Malaysia. Herd immunity requires vaccination for 80% of the Malaysian population, including the migrant community. Failure to reach the vaccination level of 80% of the population will delay the country’s economic recovery and extend the suffering of the people.

2. There is a strong possibility that the arrest and detention of undocumented migrants at this time will result in new clusters of Covid-19 in immigration detention centres. This will increase the spread of Covid-19 among undocumented migrants and will also infect immigration officers, police officers and court staff (who are involved in remand control), as well as their family members. This possibility can and should be avoided.

3. The immigration department does not have the capacity to arrest and repatriate the two to three million undocumented migrants that are in Malaysia. According to Suhakam, estimates as of 1 July 2020 show that immigration detention centres that can only accommodate 12,530 detainees have exceeded their capacity by being filled with as many as 15,163 detainees. Besides that, more than 95% of undocumented migrants are working and contributing to the national economy. In fact, our country’s economic activities also require their services.

Perhaps YB Dato’ Seri Hamzah Zainudin believes that his assertiveness in this matter will help overcome the Covid-19 pandemic. However, YB should remember that every action plan taken must be based on clear, objective and reasonable scientific analysis. Currently, the approach of arresting and detaining undocumented migrants will be detrimental to the government’s efforts to control the spread of Covid-19 in our country.

We sincerely hope that YAB will bring this issue to the National Security Council meeting so that a more appropriate and integrated approach can be formulated for handling undocumented migrants when Covid-19 is spreading. At this point of time, we should focus on the goal of controlling the spread of Covid-19 in our country. Other goals are secondary and should be postponed if they conflict with the primary goal that is to control and overcome the spread of Covid-19.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Signed by:

List of endorsements:


People’s Health Forum (Forum Kesihatan Rakyat)

Citizens’ Health Initiative

Agora Society Malaysia

Third World Network

Health Equity Initiatives

Parti Sosialis Malaysia


All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)

Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP Malaysia)


Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM)

Archdiocesan Human Development Commission (AHDC)

Asylum Access Malaysia

Beyond Borders Malaysia

Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)

Citizens Against Enforced Disappearances (CAGED)

Consumers Association of Penang (CAP)

Demokrat Kebangsaan


Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants & Itinerants (ECMI)

Family Frontiers

Forum Ekonomi Manusiawi


G25 Malaysia

Gabungan Serikat Buruh Indonesia (GSBi)


Geutanyoe Foundation

Humanity Heroes Foundation

IMAN Research

In Between Cultura

Institute for Leadership and Development Studies

International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific

Islamic Renaissance Front

Jaringan kampung Orang Asli Semenanjung Malaysia

Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)

Koalisi Buruh Migran Berdaulat

The Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)

Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Bina Karya Utama (LBH-BKU)

Liga Rakyat Demokratik

LLG Cultural Development Centre

Mahasiswa Amanah Nasional

Mahasiswa Keadilan Malaysia

Majlis Kebajikan Kanak-kanak Malaysia (MKKM)

Malaysia Hindu Sangam

Malaysian CARE

Malaysian Health Coalition

Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (MUDA)

Migrant Workers Right to Redress Coalition

Muslim Professionals Forum


New Student Movement Alliance of Malaysia (NESA)

North South Initiative

Our Journey


Pemuda Sosialis

People Like Us Support Ourselves (PLUsos)

Persatuan Kebajikan Anak Anak Miskin Sabah

Persatuan Kebajikan Biji Sawi (Mustard Seed Soup Kitchen)

Persatuan Kebajikan Komuniti Dan Dialog

Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor

Pertubuhan IKRAM Malaysia

Pertubuhan Jaringan Orang Asli Johor (JPOAJ)


Prison Fellowship Malaysia Sabah

Projek Wawasan Rakyat (POWR)

Pusat Komas

Refuge For The Refugees

Sabah Reform Initiative (SARI)

Sahabat Alam Malaysia

Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)

Serikat Buruh Migran Indonesia (SBMI) Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT)

Sisters in Islam

Stairway to Hope

Student Progressive Front UUM

Student Unity Front UKM

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)


Tindak Malaysia

Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of KL (TRCAKL)

Together Against Cancer (TAC)




Abu Mufakhir

Ahmad Kamal

Ananti Rajasingam

Andrew Khoo

Anthony David

Arief Subhan


Bernice Ho

Bin Rites

Celine Khoo

Charles Bertille

Cikgu Mohd Azmi b Abdul Hamid

CR Selva

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS

Dato M. Ramachelvam

Dato Noor Aziah Mohd Awal

Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan

Datuk Dr Anwar Fazal

Datuk Dr Toh Kin Woon

Dr Ayesah Uy Abubakar

Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj

Dr Lee Boon Chye

Dr Ryan Chua

Elain Lockman

Elaine Lau

Faisal Tehrani

Hamidon Ali

Hana Maisurah

Hartini Zainudin

Heidy Quah Gaik Li

Hew Kuen Hin

Jarud Romadan

Jeremy Kwan

K. Jeyaraj

Kelvin Soimin

Lilian Si

Lim Siew Kiau

Linda Lumayag

Loh Jon Ming

LY Phang

Lynn Tung

M.Pusenthi P.Maniam

Mahirah Hanis

Mohd Nadzir bin Mohd Nordin

Muhammad Sha’ani bin Abdullah

Mui Mei Moon

Nazihah Muhamad Noor

Ng Peng Wah

Nik Elin Zurina Bt Nik Abdul Rashid

Ooi Vern Hau

Peter Pang

Prof Shad Saleem Faruki

Pua Lay Peng

Saha Deva A. Arunasalam

Salina Hussein

Sangeeta choudhury

Sivarajan A

Sunita Rajakumar

Surina Shukri

Teng Pooi Kui

Teoh Siang Chin

Veronica Anne Retnam

Victoria Ng Yiow Kheng

Vizla Kumaresan

Yap Heng Lung

Zahid Alom

Zhen Ling Ong

Mary Shanthi Dairiam

Ronnie Hii

Thamboo Devaraj


Source: Astro Awani

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