Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (BBN)-Bangladesh is trying to repatriate its illegal immigrants held at the Belantik detention centre in Kedah of Malaysia as soon as possible, says Md Shahidul Islam, Bangladesh high commissioner to Malaysia.
He said the first batch would be sent back, possibly next week, and was hopeful he could repatriate the 716 reportedly held at the centre, in stages.
I found all of them interested to return to Bangladesh soon, if possible, before Ramadan, reports The Malaysian Insider.
So, my government is very much aware of this and has taken all necessary steps to send them to Bangladesh as early as possible,” he told Bernama in Malaysia on Friday.
It was reported that 1,158 Rohingya and Bangladeshi refugees, including women and children, arrived in a boat at Langkawi in Kedah on May 10.
The Belantik detention centre has become a temporary home for the stranded refugees.
Md Shahidul said he visited the centre on June 2, and found that 90 per cent of the 716 Bangladeshi illegal immigrants had unwittingly become victims of human trafficking syndicates.
Most of them told me that they were taken to a tourist haunt called Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh and another tourist spot called Martin’s Island, so they went there to visit the places.
Later, someone asked them if they wanted to see a ‘big ship’ and when they headed to where the ‘big ship’ was, it turned out to be just a big boat,” he said, adding that it then dawned on them they had become victims of human trafficking,” he added.
On May 20, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman met his Thai and Indonesian counterparts to discuss the issue of irregular movement of people, in particular, human trafficking.
At the meeting in Putrajaya, Malaysia and Indonesia agreed to provide temporary shelter for the 7,000 Rohingya and Bangladeshi refugees and migrants adrift at sea for a year.