Wednesday, 14 April 2010

I was very surprised to find the word 'Malaysia' in our local newspaper's (The Advertiser) website.

The article? Apparently Malaysia is now the headquarters in smuggling people into Australia.

Now I'm not too sure how much coverage there is on people smuggling into Australia back home, but it's quite a big issue here. There's this place called Christmas Island, where the asylum seekers would arrive in and, well, seek asylum. It's a pretty big issue here because the numbers are increasing.

And now, they've found that smugglers operate mainly in Malaysia.

An investigation in Malaysia by The Advertiser shows the process, under which countries such as Malaysia are supposed to share intelligence with Australia, is failing.

People smugglers continue to operate in Malaysia with little disruption from the authorities.

The big Kuala Lumpur syndicates connect with smaller syndicates operating out of Johor state, in southern Malaysia. A group of people smugglers took The Advertiser to the four most active exit points in Johor.

It does not stop there. The syndicates are deeply connected in Australia. They allow some asylum seekers to travel "free" on the condition they repay the money within 12 months.

In some cases, the syndicates help asylum seekers find work in Australia so they can repay them.

Now I would think twice before telling people I come from Malaysia. It is a nice place with a rich culture, but at the same time, with this in people's minds, they might not be as hospitable. And there's even this comment that made it so much worse:

Interesting in Malaysia if you smuggle drugs, you can get the death penalty. If you smuggle human lives, they turn a blind eye.

You can read the full article here.
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