Malaysia Cracks Down on Illegal Aliens

October 22, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. alien [EYL-yuh n] (n.) – a person who is from another country
Example:  Foreign workers should always bring their passports and work permits because of the government’s strict policies about illegal aliens.

2. detain [dih-TEYN] (v.)  – to keep someone from leaving a place, or to hold someone in prison
Example: The police detained the man after several witnesses identified him as the person behind the robbery.

3. plummet [PLUHM-it] (v.) – to decline suddenly
Example: The stock price of the company plummeted after the CEO announced his resignation.

4. repatriate [ree-PEY-tree-eyt] (v.) – to return a person back to his country of origin
Example:  The immigration officials found out that the man did not have a work visa so they repatriated him back to Vietnam.

5. human trafficking [HYOO-muh n TRAF-iking] (n. phrase) – the illegal trade of human beings for the purpose of exploitation, usually in the form of forced labor or sexual services
Example:  According to my human rights professor, human trafficking is the modern form of slavery.


Read the text below.

The Malaysian government is cracking down on illegal aliens in a nationwide operation that could deport hundreds of thousands of people.

According to Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, the Malaysian government is examining around 8,000 immigrants. Out of 8,000, 2,433 have already been detained. Most of the detainees are Indonesian, Burmese, Bangladeshi, and Nepali, with some Vietnamese, Indian, Filipino, and Chinese immigrants in the mix.

Officials estimate that more than 400,000 immigrants will be affected by the crackdown. Among these immigrants are low-wage workers employed as domestic helpers, construction workers, or plantation workers.

This low-income, immigrant workforce has helped turn Malaysia into the third largest economy in Southeast Asia. But as the economy has weakened over the past few years, some Malaysians worry that the presence of these foreigners could cause wages to plummet and crime rates to rise.

Authorities in Malaysia are cooperating with foreign embassies to repatriate the undocumented workers. Home Minister Zahid also stressed that the operation is meant to prevent human trafficking in accordance with international law.

Malaysia is known as a hotspot for human trafficking, in which victims suffer exploitation and become forced laborers or sex slaves. This year, the U.S. Department of State placed Malaysia on its human trafficking watch list for the fourth consecutive year. Malaysia was included in the list since its government still does not comply with the minimum standards for ending human trafficking.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think that it is fair for Malaysia to deport illegal immigrants even though their presence has helped boost the Malaysian economy? Why or why not?
·         Why do you think some workers transfer to foreign countries despite having no proper documents? Discuss with your tutor.

Discussion B

·         Do you think allowing an immigrant worker work in one’s country is a good thing or a bad thing? Explain.
·         If you were offered a good job with a big salary overseas, would you take it? Why or why not?    


October 22, 2013