Police to open investigations on illegal immigrant report

by AFIQ AZIZ/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) will summon Al Jazeera journalists in an investigation for allegedly undermining Malaysia in a report of how illegal immigrants were being handled during the Movement Control Order (MCO).

IGP Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador (picture) said action is to be taken after several police reports were lodged by the public.

“Since several police reports have been made, it is PDRM’s responsibility to investigate and determine if there are any elements of sedition or misconduct,” he told reporters in Putrajaya yesterday.

Abdul Hamid said he will look into several laws, including the Sedition Act and the Penal Code in relation to the investigation.

The documentary entitled “Locked Up in Malaysia’s Lockdown” on Al Jazeera’s 101 East has drawn criticism from the public, with many accusing the report as being distorted and biased.

It described Malaysia as “xenophobic” in its treatment of undocumented migrant workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 25-minute video, which was uploaded on YouTube last Friday, had over 772,000 views and 196,000 dislikes, while its comments section had been disabled following the backlash.

On Monday, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob demanded an apology from the news outlet and described the accusations in the documentary as misleading, flawed and baseless.

He said allegations that children had been handcuffed during the raids were a lie.

Photos and videos of hundreds of migrant workers and refugees being detained in the Covid-19 red zones went viral on Labour Day in a mass crackdown by the police and immigration forces.

The operation took place in three buildings — the Selangor Mansion, Malayan Mansion and Menara City One — known to be homes to many migrant workers in Kuala Lumpur (KL). Social and human rights activists criticised the move.

Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin had refuted claims on the government’s alleged mistreatment of undocumented migrant workers and said that authorities had acted lawfully and according to the public’s “wish”.

“Although Al Jazeera accused us of being harsh and hard (on the illegal immigrants), I feel that was what the people wanted. The people want the government to be firm on those who do wrong.

“So, we should not dwell on what was reported as the story had been distorted. To me, the offenders were detained according to standard operating procedures and within the laws of this country,” he said, as reported by Bernama.

Yesterday, Abdul Hamid said all forms of action taken against illegal immigrants are for national security and health reasons, and that no country would allow illegal immigrants to move freely, especially during a global pandemic.

He said during the ongoing Recovery MCO period, the police will continue to intensify efforts to monitor sea and land borders against the entry of illegal immigrants.

At the same time, Abdul Hamid also assured that there will be no discrimination against those detained.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba also refuted the report, saying the allegation was baseless as Malaysia introduced the MCO to prevent the spread of Covid-19 regardless of whether those subjected to it were citizens or foreigners.