Petition: Stop operations to arrest undocumented migrants, focus on the goal of controlling the spread of Covid-19

by | Jun 11, 2021 | Migrant Workers, Solidarity

Calling for endorsement of the petition to the YAB Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

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:


  1. People’s Health Forum (Forum Kesihatan Rakyat)
  2. Citizens’ Health Initiative
  3. Agora Society Malaysia
  4. Third World Network
  5. Health Equity Initiatives
  6. Parti Sosialis Malaysia
  7. Aliran
  8. All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
  9. Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP Malaysia)
  10. ALTSEAN-Burma
  11. Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM)
  12. Archdiocesan Human Development Commission (AHDC)
  13. Asylum Access Malaysia
  14. Beyond Borders Malaysia
  15. Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
  16. Citizens Against Enforced Disappearances (CAGED)
  17. Consumers Association of Penang (CAP)
  18. Demokrat Kebangsaan
  19. Dewan Perhimpunan China Kuala Lumpur dan Selangor (KLSCAH)
  20. Dewan Pimpinan Pusat Gabungan Serikat Buruh Indonesia (DPP GSBI)
  21. ENGAGE
  22. Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants & Itinerants (ECMI)
  23. Family Frontiers
  24. Forum Ekonomi Manusiawi
  25. Fugee
  26. G25 Malaysia
  27. GERAK
  28. Geutanyoe Foundation
  29. Humanity Heroes Foundation
  30. IMAN Research
  31. In Between Cultura
  32. Institute for Leadership and Development Studies
  33. International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific
  34. Islamic Renaissance Front
  35. Jaringan kampung Orang Asli Semenanjung Malaysia
  36. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)
  37. Koalisi Buruh Migran Berdaulat
  38. Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Bina Karya Utama (LBH-BKU)
  39. Liga Rakyat Demokratik
  40. LLG Cultural Development Centre
  41. Mahasiswa Amanah Nasional
  42. Mahasiswa Keadilan Malaysia
  43. Majlis Kebajikan Kanak-kanak Malaysia (MKKM)
  44. Malaysia Hindu Sangam
  45. Malaysian CARE
  46. Malaysian Health Coalition
  47. Malaysian Medical Association (MMA)
  48. Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (MUDA)
  49. Migrant Workers Right to Redress Coalition
  50. Monitoring Sustainability of Globalisation
  51. Muslim Professionals Forum
  52. MyPJ
  53. New Student Movement Alliance of Malaysia (NESA)
  54. North South Initiative
  55. Our Journey
  56. PACOS Trust
  57. Pemuda Sosialis
  58. People Like Us Support Ourselves (PLUsos)
  59. Persatuan Kebajikan Anak Anak Miskin Sabah
  60. Persatuan Kebajikan Biji Sawi (Mustard Seed Soup Kitchen)
  61. Persatuan Kebajikan Komuniti Dan Dialog
  62. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
  63. Pertubuhan IKRAM Malaysia
  64. Pertubuhan Jaringan Orang Asli Johor (JPOAJ)
  65. PeSAWAH
  66. Prison Fellowship Malaysia Sabah
  67. Projek Wawasan Rakyat (POWR)
  68. Pusat Komas
  69. Refuge For The Refugees
  70. Sabah Reform Initiative (SARI)
  71. Sahabat Alam Malaysia
  72. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
  73. Serikat Buruh Migran Indonesia (SBMI) Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT)
  74. Sisters in Islam
  75. Stairway to Hope
  76. Student Progressive Front UUM
  77. Student Unity Front UKM
  78. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
  79. Tenaganita
  80. Tindak Malaysia
  81. Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of KL (TRCAKL)
  82. Together Against Cancer (TAC)
  83. UMANY



  1. Abu Mufakhir
  2. Ahmad Kamal
  3. Ananti Rajasingam
  4. Andrew Khoo
  5. Anthony David
  6. Arief Subhan
  7. Arutchelvan
  8. Bernice Ho
  9. Bin Rites
  10. Celine Khoo
  11. Charles Bertille
  12. Cikgu Mohd Azmi b Abdul Hamid
  13. CR Selva
  14. Datuk Dr Amar-Singh HSS
  15. Datuk M. Ramachelvam
  16. Datuk Noor Aziah Mohd Awal
  17. Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan
  18. Datuk Dr Anwar Fazal
  19. Datuk Dr Toh Kin Woon
  20. Dr Alice Nah
  21. Dr Ayesah Uy Abubakar
  22. Dr Hartini Zainudin
  23. Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj
  24. Dr Lee Boon Chye
  25. Dr Ryan Chua
  26. Elain Lockman
  27. Elaine Lau
  28. Faisal Tehrani
  29. Hamidon Ali
  30. Hana Maisurah
  31. Heidy Quah Gaik Li
  32. Hew Kuen Hin
  33. Jarud Romadan
  34. Jeremy Kwan
  35. Jeyaraj
  36. Kelvin Soimin
  37. Lilian Si
  38. Lim Siew Kiau
  39. Linda Lumayag
  40. Loh Jon Ming
  41. LY Phang
  42. Lynn Tung
  43. Pusenthi P.Maniam
  44. Mahirah Hanis
  45. Mary Shanthi Dairiam
  46. Mohd Nadzir bin Mohd Nordin
  47. Muhammad Sha’ani bin Abdullah
  48. Mui Mei Moon
  49. Nazihah Muhamad Noor
  50. Ng Peng Wah
  51. Nik Elin Zurina Bt Nik Abdul Rashid
  52. Ooi Vern Hau
  53. Peter Pang
  54. Prof Shad Saleem Faruki
  55. Pua Lay Peng
  56. Ronnie Hii
  57. Saha Deva A. Arunasalam
  58. Salina Hussein
  59. Sangeeta choudhury
  60. Sivarajan A
  61. Sunita Rajakumar
  62. Surina Shukri
  63. Teng Pooi Kui
  64. Teoh Siang Chin
  65. Thamboo Devaraj
  66. Veronica Anne Retnam
  67. Victoria Ng Yiow Kheng
  68. Vizla Kumaresan
  69. Yap Heng Lung
  70. Zahid Alom
  71. Zhen Ling Ong

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