Malaysia delays amnesty plan for illegal workers

Malaysia delays amnesty plan for illegal workers

Malaysian police arresting 23 illegal workers in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. Malaysia is delaying an amnesty programme aimed at fingerprinting an estimated two million illegal foreign workers. -- PHOTO: MALAY MAIL

KUALA LUMPUR - MALAYSIA is delaying an amnesty programme aimed at fingerprinting an estimated two million illegal foreign workers, a minister said on Monday.

The amnesty scheme to encourage illegal workers to come forward and register was originally scheduled to start on Monday.

But Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said it was put off to allow authorities to first fingerprint the country's legal foreign workers, who number some 1.9 million. He gave no new date for the amnesty scheme.

'We have decided to postpone the registration of illegal workers through the biometric system until further preparations,' he told reporters.

'There are several technical issues and national security matters that we have to sort out before going ahead with this,' he added, without elaborating.

The amnesty programme was announced last month to deal with Malaysia's large population of foreign workers, who support the economy by filling low-paid jobs shunned by locals in industries such as plantations and construction. -- AFP

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