TAWAU: All illegal foreign workers will be returned to their countries of origin before the approximately 1.5 million workers from Bangladesh are brought into Malaysia, said Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
"Before we bring in 1.5 million legal workers from Bangladesh, we will first take the illegal ones out, which now number about two million" said the Home Minister.
He said the Ministry, through the Immigration Department, police, RELA and other agencies, had intensified their cooperation to carry out joint enforcement to flush out illegal foreign workers in the peninsula, as well as in Sabah and Sarawak.
"In the meantime, we will also seek cooperation from the embassies of the countries involved," he told a press conference after attending the Inculcation of Good Values Programme with the Ministry's staff here Saturday.
He said that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's effort to bring in the Bangladeshi workers was aimed at meeting the demands of employers in the plantation, construction, manufacturing and service sectors.
"Therefore, the matter should not be politicised... it will not be an uncontrolled dumping of foreign workers because we will take out all illegal foreign workers first before bringing in those with complete documents.
"There is no country that allows foreign workers to work without valid documents or to stay longer than their visa allows," he said.
Last Thursday, Ahmad Zahid said approximately 1.5 million workers from Bangladesh would be brought to Malaysia in stages over three years to meet the demands of employers from various sectors. - Bernama