JAKARTA • Indonesia is preparing to receive thousands of deportees from Malaysia, a government official said, amid a crackdown on undocumented workers as the country suffers its most severe coronavirus outbreak so far.
Malaysia will send back about 7,200 people to Indonesia, which wants the most vulnerable people, including women and children held in detention centres, to be returned first, said Ms Femmy Eka Kartika Putri of Indonesia’s coordinating ministry for human development.
Millions of undocumented workers from Indonesia, Myanmar and Nepal and Bangladesh work in Malaysia, often in the plantation, construction and manufacturing sectors.
But Malaysia has toughened its stance during the pandemic, arresting and deporting thousands of undocumented migrants.
Coronavirus cases and deaths hit record levels last month in Malaysia, which has the most cases per capita in South-east Asia.
Mr Wahyu Susilo, founder of the Migrant Care, a non-governmental group, said the authorities were scrambling to accommodate the planned influx, with no system in place to ensure adequate care, such as social assistance. “There are no specific mitigation efforts post-deportation,”he said.