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Malaysia grappling with foreign pri

Subject: Malaysia grappling with foreign prisoners, workers

Subject: Malaysia grappling with foreign prisoners, workers
Date: Monday, January 10, 1994

	KUALA LUMPUR (UPI) -- Hundreds of foreigners who have served their
sentences in Malaysian prisoners, including 400 people from Burma, will
stay behind bars because their native lands refuse to recognize them or
pay for their return, the Malaysian Home Ministry said Monday.
	That is part of a larger problem involving immigrants for the
Malaysian government, which has also decided to end accepting work
permit applications from foreigners to help reign in a problem with 200,
000 undocumented workers.
	Deputy Home Minister Megat Junid Megat Ayub said 400 Burma citizens
who have finished their sentences would remain in Malaysia prisons
because Burma would not recognize them. He said others will remain
imprisoned because their counties will not cover deportation costs as
required under Malaysian law.
	``We had talks with their embassies. Some just refuse to fund the
deportation. For the Indonesians, it is easier as their fare is about
$32, while for the Bangladeshis, the fare may come up to $400,'' Megat
Junid added.
	He said his ministry had stopped as of Dec. 31, 1993, accepting
applications for work permits for all skilled or semi-skilled foreign
workers, including those with valid travel documents.
	The Malaysian government has spent $8.8 million to detain 8,000
undocumented workers since a crackdown began last July -- a fraction of
the illegal workers, mostly Filipinos, Indonesians, Bangladeshis and
Thais, believed to be in Malaysia.