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Malaysian government delays campaign against illegal immigrants

[JURIST] The Malaysian government [official website] has delayed arresting illegal immigrants after threatening a major campaign against hundreds of thousands of foreign workers once a three-month amnesty period closed Monday. Malaysian Home Secretary Azmi Khalid said arrests had been avoided because many illegal immigrants had left voluntarily [JURIST report] in the face of impending arrest. The program had also been opposed by the Indonesian government, as many Indonesian workers would have been forced to return. For the time being, authorities were simply advising illegal immigrants to leave, but the government did not say when it would begin making arrests. The government has been trying to reduce the illegal immigrant population in the country, which remains more than a million, since 2002. The deportation plan was criticized [Amnesty International report] by human rights groups as lacking adequate safeguards against abuse of the immigrants. Malaysian news agency Bernama has local coverage. BBC News has more.

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