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Monday, June 15, 2015, Ashar 1, 1422 BS, Shaban 27, 1436 Hijr

Govt to repatriate 713 boatpeople in phases
Saleem Samad
Published : Monday, 15 June, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 231
Malaysia has urged the government to repatriate the hundreds of boatpeople held at Belantik detention centre at Kedah in Malaysia as soon as possible.
Bangladesh High Commission in Malaysia is working overtime to determine the identity of the 716 stowaways picked up from the sea off Malaysian coastline.
The government is trying to repatriate its illegal immigrants as soon as possible, the High Commissioner to Malaysia, Shahidul Islam, told the newspaper The Malaysian Insider.
The repatriation of the first group of 716 Bangladesh nationals detained in Malaysia would begin from next week, the envoy confirmed.
Shahidul Islam said all the detainees wish to return home, if possible before Ramadan.
"So, my government is very much aware of this and has taken all necessary steps to send them to Bangladesh as early as possible," Shahidul Islam told Malaysian news agency Bernama on Friday.
It was reported that 1,158 Rohingya and Bangladeshi refugees, including women and children, arrived in a boat at Langkawi in Kedah on May 10. The Belantik detention centre has become a temporary home for the refugees.
The Bangladesh envoy said he visited the detention centre on June 2 and found that 90 per cent of the 716 Bangladeshi illegal immigrants had unwittingly become victims to human trafficking syndicates.
"Most of them told me that they were taken to the tourist haunts of Cox's Bazar and St Martin's Island as tourists.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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