NAY PYI TAW: Putrajaya and Nay Pyi Taw have agreed to work together in documenting Myanmar nationals living illegally in Malaysia so that they can either return home or be employed, says Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
He said a dedicated one-stop centre would be opened next month to process qualified Myanmar nationals to obtain work permits.
Under the new working arrangement, the one-stop centre would also assist those who want to return to their country with their documentation, he said, adding that there is a large number of Myanmar nationals who want to go home.
Ahmad Zahid said co-operation between the two governments would solve the problem of Myanmar illegals being held at immigration depots for long periods.
There are some 12,000 Myanmar nationals currently being held and they remain in detention, some for as long as six months, as they face difficulties in getting their authorities to issue documents.
“We are pleased to have come to an agreement on this matter with the Myanmar government.
“While Malaysia is aware of the lack of workers in certain sectors and the need to make humanitarian considerations, we also must not compromise on our security,” he told the Malaysian media.
Ahmad Zahid and Myanmar Labour, Employment and Social Security Minister U Aye Myint had earlier witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Diamond Palace Services Co Ltd and Bukit Megah Sdn Bhd.
The MoU was for a government-to-government programme on co-operation in biometric, registration, legalisation and deportation of undocumented Myanmar workers in Malaysia.
According to Home Ministry figures, there are about 144,000 Myanmar nationals working either legally or illegally, and another 120,000 people are United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees card holders.
Bukit Megah executive chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Suleiman said one-stop centres would be opened in Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, Johor and Penang, adding that there were already prospective employers for the Myanmar workers once they are legalised.