We have to remember that the blame for illegal immigration in Malaysia rests mainly with government authorities who have allowed the situation to steadily escalate in the first place. Having over 1.2 million immigrants - roughly five percent of the population - is not an overnight phenomenon.
There has been unabated and implicitly endorsed use of illegal workers in the economy over many years now. This is particularly evident in the construction sector in the Klang Valley.
I have sympathy for the frustration of Malaysians with the steady increase in crime in recent years, particularly in major cities. This problem is seemingly reaching a crisis point with violent crimes being reported that only five years ago would have been unheard of.
However, most illegal immigrants have tried to make an honest living in a country that offers them little, if any, protection or rights under its laws. Let us not forget that they have provided cheap labour and contributed significantly to the development of Malaysia. They should be seen as victims, not a problem.
I urge the government authorities and fellow Malaysians to be more compassionate in managing this situation. After all, most of our forefathers were migrants once.