Not viable to do mass arrest on undocumented workers, bipartisan group says


MASS  arrest and imprisonment of undocumented foreign workers should not be an option in this country, especially amid the resurgence of Covid-19 cases.

The All Party Parliamentary Group Malaysia for the Reform of Prisons and All Places of Detention said the government should learn from past mistakes and attempt to do better this time around.

“It is not a viable option to control the pandemic, especially when more than 109 countries have followed the evidence and implemented decongestion measures and alternatives to incarceration. We remain behind despite making initial progress,” it said in a statement.

The group said the third wave in September 2020 culminating from prisons in Sabah was a painful experience and adding new people to temporary prisons will spread the already limited resources even more thinly.

It also said locking up undocumented migrants creates a climate of fear that can deter people from volunteering to be vaccinated, which beats the aim of wanting to achieve herd immunity in the country.

“Without their participation in the national vaccine programme, achieving herd immunity will be elusive. Thus, our country will continue to be very susceptible to new variants and mutations of the virus, while wasting billions of Ringgit and human resources to curtail the spread,” the group said.