Malaysia enacts stringent human trafficking laws. It said today it was confident of halting the flow of illegal migrants to Australia following the introduction of tough penalties for smugglers using the country as a transit point.
Malaysia can now impose harsh sentences including jail terms of up to 20 years, and fines of up to 317,000 Dollars on people smugglers, under an amendment to human trafficking laws passed yesterday. Last year up to 10,000 migrants from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Iraq were said to be massing in Malaysia waiting for passage to Australia by people smugglers — a hot political issue for Australian leaders.
Muhamad Khair Razman Mohamed Annuar, a senior home ministry official, told a news conference that they are confident that they will be able to curb boatpeople from going to Australia,” “Previously people smuggling was not covered under anti-human trafficking or immigration laws so there was a grey area making it difficult for our enforcement agency. He added that there had been no new cases of boatpeople succeeding in reaching Australia via the Malaysian route since the two countries launched a joint eradication effort late last year.