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LETTER | Call for moratorium on immigration detention of undocumented migrants

LETTER | The People’s Health Forum (PHF) expresses its deepest regret that the federal government has failed to pay heed to various civil society groups calling for a moratorium on actions against undocumented migrants for at least six months.

The PHF had sent a memorandum to the Prime Minister on March 20, 2020, on this exact issue, and another statement on May 1, expressing deep concern and repeating the call to the government to desist from pursuing the crackdown on undocumented migrant workers. Three weeks later (as of May 23) 60 and 21 positive Covid-19 cases have been detected in the immigration detention centres in Bukit Jalil and Semenyih, respectively.

In the press conference held by the Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on 22nd May, he stated that the 60 confirmed positive cases in Bukit Jalil had been in detention in the centre even before the movement control order (MCO) took effect and that all 114 of the immigration officers on duty had tested negative.

Based on the above statements which were made public and the absence of information on case zero in the centres, the supposition that the infection started in both detention centres before the MCO is ambiguous and arguable. In view of the foregoing circumstances and limited information provided...

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