The Immigration Office has put the captain and crew of KM Bahtera under questioning for transporting illegal migrant workers.
Immigration head Sutrisno said that the KM Bahtera was seen and captured in waters near Riau’s Rojan Hilir district last Friday evening (January 20). The seven-tonne ship was reported to be illegally transporting 140 Indonesian workers to Malaysia.
To protect the suspects’ identities, investigators refer to the captain and crew as ELM, FB, BP, MY, DA, and IA.
“They don’t have proper documents for the boat to make the journey from Malaysia,” stated Sutrisno, adding that the crew did not have any proof of identification either.
All of the illegal migrant workers came from Indonesia and consisted of 110 men and 30 women. These men and women were not able to present the required documents to immigration authorities.
Charanhita Yuantoro of the Dumai Immigration Office said that despite having Indonesian passports, the men and women are illegal migrant workers, as they did not have proper papers to work in Malaysia.
Subsequently, a separate boat capsized in the waters of Indonesia and Malaysia on January 23, causing the deaths of at least four men and six women. All were undocumented illegal immigrants entering Malaysia via Batam.
Illegal transporters of migrant workers often use the Batam route to avoid naval watch. Last year, a number of boats sank in the area due to overloading.
In the past, the Fair Labour Association reported that the foreign workforce in Malaysia comes from 12 countries in Asia. Countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and the Philippines supply a large number of illegal workers. Among the Asian nationalities, Indonesians make up the largest group.
In recent years, an estimated 6 million migrant workers were working in Malaysia. Only 2.9 percent legally work in the country.