Vaccinate migrants now, expel them later, says Umno man

Sabah Umno leader Rahman Dahlan says any crackdown against migrants must only be done after the pandemic is brought under control. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Any crackdown on undocumented migrants should only be launched after the Covid-19 pandemic has been brought under control, said a Sabah Umno leader.

Abdul Rahman Dahlan has called on the state government to protest Putrajaya’s decision to go after undocumented migrants, arguing it would only aggravate the health crisis in Sabah.

This was because there is a huge population of undocumented migrants in Sabah, many of whom would go into hiding if a crackdown got under way, he said.

This, he said, would scuttle the government’s plan to achieve herd immunity anytime soon.

Any decision for a crackdown, he said, could only be accepted if the authorities vaccinated all detainees.

“We do not want the international community to allege that Malaysia is inhumane and violates human rights should a cluster emerge from detention centres,” he said in a statement.

The former housing and local government minister said that based on the country’s experience, nabbing undocumented migrants was difficult and time consuming.

“In this pandemic, we do not have time,” he said.

Last month, home minister Hamzah Zainudin said the immigration department would be conducting large-scale operations to detain undocumented migrants.

This, he said, was to ensure that they possessed valid documents for vaccination purposes.


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