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Malaysia agrees to suspends deportations
AFAR
9/1/2002

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Malaysia -- Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has agreed to suspend the forced repatriations of illegal Filipino migrant workers after the Philippines Government filed an official complaint with Malaysia, stating that 3 infants had died during repatriation.

Philippines President Gloria Arroyo, who has visited some of the returning Filipinos, said that she had seen "first-hand the sufferings of thousands of deportees from Sabah."

The increased number of repatriations came after Malaysia’s anti-illegal immigration law came into effect on August 1. Workers who were able to prove that they had tickets to leave the country were given extensions. Both employees and employers have been reportedly annoyed about the enforcement, stating that foreign labor is needed.

While Prime Minister Mohamad has denied accusations of inhumane treatment in the holding centers, and reinstated that there would be no changes to the new law allowing for the arrest of illegal workers, he was willing to allow time for President Arroyo to send officials to inspect the holding centers.

Unconfirmed reports tell of another 10 Filipino child deaths, and Indonesian authorities say at least 27 Indonesian workers who recently left Malaysia have also died.

On Monday, a delegation is expected to inspect the camps in Sabah, a Malaysian state across the seas from the southern Philippines.

Deportations are expected to resume once the team from Manila verifies that there was no ill treatment.

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