Malaysia

47,092

Immigration detainees

2017

885

Detained children

2017

27,627

New asylum applications

2019

129,107

Refugees

2019

3,430,380

International migrants

2019

Overview

Malaysia is a magnet for migrants and asylum seekers despite its poor human rights record and failure to ratify key human rights treaties. Illegal entry and stay is criminalized and migrants often serve prison sentences before being transferred to one of twelve “immigration depots” while awaiting deportation. Caning, a legacy of British colonial rule, is widespread. In 2013, more than 5,000 foreigners were caned.

Types of facilities used for migration-related detention
Administrative Ad Hoc Criminal Unknown

25 February 2021

An immigration truck believed to be carrying Myanmar migrants from Malaysia back to their homeland (Getty Images,
An immigration truck believed to be carrying Myanmar migrants from Malaysia back to their homeland (Getty Images, "Malaysia Deports Myanmar Nationals Despite Court Order," BBC, 24 February 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-56178270)

In the face of mounting international outrage, on 23 February Malaysian authorities proceeded with the deportation of 1,086 people to Myanmar, who included suspected refugees as well as many children (see the 18 February update below for additional details). The deportations took place as the COVID-19 pandemic has severely hurt the job prospects of migrants in Malaysia, effectively turning many documented workers into undocumented ones and potentially subject to immigration enforcement measures.

The mass deportation to Myanmar was in defiance of a court order to delay the move until a judicial review could be completed, a legal move that had been initiated by the Malaysian chapters of Amnesty International and Asylum Access, who provided evidence of refugees and asylum seekers being among the group. The deportation was carried out without assessing the people’s claims for asylum, or allowing the UN High Commissioner for Refugees access to the people while in detention before their deportation. Human Right Watch’s Asia Advisor commented: “Malaysia’s immigration authorities have shown a blatant disregard both for the basic rights of Myanmar nationals and an order by the Malaysian High Court. The immigration director-general has put lives at risk by sending people back to a country now ruled again by a military that has a long track record of punishing people for political dissent or their ethnicity.”

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also condemned the deportations, saying: “The Malaysian authorities in defiance of the court order breached the principle of non-refoulement, a rule of jus cogens, which absolutely prohibits the collective deportation of migrants without an objective risk assessment being conducted in each individual case. Children should not have been separated from their family, or returned without determining that their return is in their best interests.”

Responding to the concerns about the identity and status of the deportees, the Malaysian director-general of immigration claimed that none of the deportees were Rohingya refugees or asylum seekers. However, on 22 February the UN refugee agency claimed that at least up to six of the people to be deported were registered refugees, and 17 were children with at least one parent in Malaysia. Various refugee rights groups had also contended that approximately one hundred Muslim and Chin refugees were among the group initially slated for deportation. These refugees may have been among the group that were not ultimately deported, though Amnesty International reported as of 24 February that the identities of these people remained unclear. The High Court of Kuala Lumpur ruled on 24 February that they should not be sent back to Myanmar, extending the stay order until 9 March 2021.

The government claimed that all deportees voluntarily agreed to their return. However, it was unclear how many people in fact agreed, and under what conditions. There are concerns that many of the deportees may not have been informed about the political volatility in the country after the coup due to limited information being available during detention.


18 February 2021

Malaysian Immigration Officers usher Detainees into a Truck after a Raid in 2018, (Getty Images,
Malaysian Immigration Officers usher Detainees into a Truck after a Raid in 2018, (Getty Images, "Malaysia sticks to deporting Myanmar detainees despite UN pressure," Nikkei Asia, 17 February 2021, https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/Malaysia-sticks-to-deporting-Myanmar-detainees-despite-UN-pressure)

Despite strong criticism from civil society organisations and the UN, Malaysian authorities are preparing to deport 1,200 people to Myanmar on 23 February even as the crisis in Myanmar spurred by the recent military coup there continues to deepen. Observers are particularly concerned that refugees and asylum seekers will be amongst those deported by Malaysia.

Deportees are due to be returned by military vessels, provided by Myanmar’s navy. Although Malaysia claims that the deportees are not refugees or asylum seekers, organisations such as Amnesty International have questioned the validity of such statements. They point to the fact that Malaysia has denied UNHCR access to immigration detention centres to identify asylum seekers and refugees since August 2019. “UNHCR must immediately have full access to the 1,200 people,” said the Executive Director of Amnesty International Malaysia in a statement on 18 February. “Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin must instruct the immigration department to work closely with UNHCR to ensure not a single person seeking asylum, refugee or anyone who may be at risk of human rights violations is forced to return to Myanmar. To do so would be in violation of the principle of non-refoulement, which applies to Malaysia as part of customary international law.”

Several refugee support organisations, including Myanmar Muslim Refugee Community and Alliance of Chin Refugees, have also confirmed that they have been contacted by members of the refugee groups they represent who are facing deportation, and claim that nearly 100 asylum seekers--including women and children--are amongst the group due to be deported. As of 18 February, UNHCR had yet to verify this claim.

Malaysia has faced condemnation for its roundups and detention of migrants during the COVID-19 pandemic (see 3 May Malaysia update on this platform), with reports indicating that many non-nationals are reluctant to come forwards for COVID-19 testing or treatment out of fear that they too will be arrested and detained (see 25 November Malaysia update). On 17 February, however, the minister responsible for immunisation coordination (Khairy Jamaluddin, Minister for Science and Technology) claimed that undocumented migrants would not be arrested if they presented themselves for vaccination. In a press briefing, the minister said, "We will work with civil society organisations to assist us in reaching out to undocumented foreigners with the assurance that they will not be detained. They can come forward freely.”

Despite the minister’s statement, a former deputy defence minister - Liew Chin Tong - believes that undocumented migrants and refugees will refuse to come forwards to receive the vaccine unless they receive stronger assurances from the immigration department and police themselves. He said: “It’s important that everyone is vaccinated, particularly those in high-risk groups such as migrant workers and refugees. But I don’t think the illegal migrants will come out for it. They will not trust Khairy’s words until and unless there is a rethink on the part of the Immigration Department, the police and all other security agencies.”

The country’s DAP Socialist Youth party has also questioned whether such promises will reassure non-nationals. The party’s deputy chairman argues that verbal promises from a minister unconnected to immigration will fail to reassure migrants and refugees, and instead urged the government to conduct a legalisation programme for undocumented foreigners parallel to its vaccination programme. “Some employers and migrant workers might be worried that the government might talk the talk but not walk the walk due to uncoordinated government responses,” he said.


25 November 2020

R. Latiff, “In Malaysia’s Sabah, Pandemic Rages as Migrants Flee Testing,” Reuters, 23 November 2020, https://uk.reuters.com/article/health-coronavirus-malaysia-sabah/in-malaysias-sabah-pandemic-rages-as-migrants-flee-testing-idUSL4N2HY17A
R. Latiff, “In Malaysia’s Sabah, Pandemic Rages as Migrants Flee Testing,” Reuters, 23 November 2020, https://uk.reuters.com/article/health-coronavirus-malaysia-sabah/in-malaysias-sabah-pandemic-rages-as-migrants-flee-testing-idUSL4N2HY17A

In stark contrast to the increasing efforts by many countries around the world to decrease or end child immigration detention, Malaysia continues to detain large numbers of children, despite the dangers presented by the spread of COVID-19. While UNICEF has called on governments to immediately release children to protect them during the pandemic, Malaysia reported in October that it was holding hundreds of children in migration-related detention. According to information provided by the country’s Home Minister in response to questions from Parliament, 756 children were being held in migration detention as of 26 October 2020. Of these, 405 were unaccompanied--326 of whom were unaccompanied child refugees from Myanmar.

UNHCR, however, has been denied access to immigration detention centres since August 2019, and thus cannot clarify the refugee status of these children, or the procedures they have been granted access to. “Immigration authorities should stop playing games with people’s lives and immediately release all detained children and grant the UN refugee agency access to all detained refugees and asylum seekers,” said Human Rights Watch deputy Asia director, in a statement on 20 November.

Malaysian authorities have conducted numerous raids and immigration arrests since May 2020, placing all apprehended persons in already overcrowded detention facilities (for more on these raids, see our 3 May Malaysia update on this platform). During the summer, several detention facilities witnessed COVID-19 outbreaks, prompting the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants to warn that raids and arrests of migrants were “undermining the effort to fight the pandemic in the country.” In particular, he noted that fear of arrest and detention may mean that “migrants might not come forward anymore for testing or access health services even when showing symptoms of the coronavirus.” Indeed, recent reports have highlighted that undocumented migrants, refugees, and stateless persons in Sabah Province have been evading Ministry of Health COVID-19 screening campaigns, out of fear that they will be detained and deported. Doctors in the state, which accounts for nearly half of all cases in the country, have also reported that non-nationals have delayed seeking treatment when they contract the virus, likely contributing to higher levels of infection--as well as higher death rates.


04 June 2020

Undocumented Migrants are Handcuffed Together as they are Escorted to an Immigration Detention Centre after a Raid on May 20 in an Area of Petaling Jaya, (Hasnoor Hussain, Al Jazeera,
Undocumented Migrants are Handcuffed Together as they are Escorted to an Immigration Detention Centre after a Raid on May 20 in an Area of Petaling Jaya, (Hasnoor Hussain, Al Jazeera, "Immigration detention centres become Malaysia coronavirus hotspot," Al-Jazeera, 2 June 2020, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/06/immigration-detention-centres-malaysia-coronavirus-hotspot-200602004727890.html)

On 4 June, Malaysia recorded 277 COVID-19 cases—the highest daily figure recorded since the start of the outbreak. 270 of these cases involved foreigners detained at the Bukit Jalil Immigration Detention Depot, which has a reported capacity of 1,500 people.

Previously, on 25 May, the country’s Director General for Health Noor Hisham Abdullah announced that there were 172 confirmed cases of COVID-19, of which 159 were foreigners, including 112 cases in three of the country’s immigration detention facilities (in Sepang, Bukit Jalil, and Semenyih). Subsequently, Ministry of Health authorities announced that they would undertake measures to contain the outbreak at Bukit Jalil Immigration Detention Depot, including disinfecting the site, and ensuring that people housed there practice social distancing and wash their hands frequently.

According to one report, detainees who test positive are sent to one of three quarantine and treatment centres, including an agricultural exhibition space that state media has reported is "under heavy guard."

In total, there have been 608 confirmed cases of COVID-19 from immigration detention centres, including two that have recovered. Human rights groups and the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia have criticised the government’s round-up of migrants (including Rohingya refugees), its failure to erect a firewall between immigration control and healthcare services, as well as its continued policies of detention of foreigners. Preethi Bhardwaj, interim executive director of Amnesty International Malaysia told Al Jazeera: "[Detainees'] health and lives have been put at risk."


26 May 2020

Immigration Director-General Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud (left) and other Immigration officers check the papers of a detained non-national (The Star, https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/05/12/immigration-detains-1368-illegals-after-kuala-lumpur-wholesale-market-raid-monday-may-11)
Immigration Director-General Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud (left) and other Immigration officers check the papers of a detained non-national (The Star, https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/05/12/immigration-detains-1368-illegals-after-kuala-lumpur-wholesale-market-raid-monday-may-11)

According to information submitted to the GDP by Kendra Rinas, the IOM’s Chief of Mission in Malaysia, all immigration detainees (believed by the IOM to number over 13,000 people) are now being tested for the virus, and on 26 May authorities ceased issuing new detention orders. These developments emerged following news of rapidly rising numbers of confirmed cases inside Malaysian immigration “depots.”

Despite the threat the pandemic poses to detained populations, Malaysian authorities have scaled up immigration arrests, carrying out raids in areas with large numbers of migrants and refugees (see 3 May update). On 21 May, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Felipe González Morales, criticised the country for its treatment of non-nationals during the crisis, pointing to the raids and arrests and warning, “In such a situation, migrants might not come forward anymore for testing, or access health services even when showing symptoms of the coronavirus.”

Malaysia is one of several countries - another notable case being South Africa (see our 26 May update on the country) - that have failed to put up “firewalls” between agencies during the crisis that would enable undocumented people to access services without risk of enforcement measures like arrest or detention, which risks exasperating the crisis.

As many have feared, cases of Covid-19 amongst the country’s immigration detainee population began to rise in the wake of these raids. On 25 May, the country’s Director General for Health Noor Hisham Abdullah announced 172 new cases – of which 159 were foreigners, including 112 cases in three of the country’s immigration detention facilities (in Sepang, Bukit Jalil, and Semenyih).

According to the IOM, deportations have continued throughout the pandemic. On 12 May, almost 400 Myanmar nationals were deported on charter flights – reportedly in an effort to free up additional space in detention facilities. (The previous day, for example, saw more than 1,300 non-nationals—including 98 children—arrested in a raid in Kuala Lumpur.) Rinas also adds that several embassies have been working with immigration authorities to expedite deportations in order to prevent lengthy stays in detention.


03 May 2020

Still from video of migrant raids in Kuala Lumpur, 1 May 2020, Youtube, https://youtu.be/tGxGcPp-kfM
Still from video of migrant raids in Kuala Lumpur, 1 May 2020, Youtube, https://youtu.be/tGxGcPp-kfM

Refugees and undocumented migrant workers in Malaysia are being targeted as part of a purported anti-Covid-19 campaign, which has included mass arrests and raids across the country since the start of May. According to Al Jazeera, “There has been growing public anger in recent days over the presence of migrant foreigners, with some in Malaysia accusing them of spreading the coronavirus and being a burden on government resources.”

Malaysia has approximately two million registered foreign workers, however thousands more live and work in the country without proper documents. This is in part due to the fact that Malaysia does not recognise refugees and considers them to be undocumented migrants. The country is also notorious for terrible conditions in its immigration detention centres as well as its brutal penalties, including caning, for being in the country without authorisation. The Global Detention Project has documented some two dozen detention centres in the country, which are called “immigration depots.”

Rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN), reported that hundreds of migrants were taken into custody during May Day raids, including children. "Malaysian government does a U-turn on its earlier pledge not to arrest and detain undocumented migrants. Children as young as one year old have also been detained," Lilianne Fan, chairman of the Rohingya Working Group at APRRN, said in a statement. The group posted a video on Twitter reportedly showing long lines of migrants being led through the streets of Kuala Lumpur after a raid.

According to the BBC, “The raids took place in a part of the capital known to house foreigners. The UN has urged the Malaysian authorities to release children and vulnerable individuals from the detention camps where migrants are held. Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch tweeted that the detentions risked worsening the pandemic in Malaysia, both in terms of potential outbreaks inside the camps but also by making undocumented people less likely to co-operate.”

According to The Guardian, “Those detained included young children and ethnic Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. Social media posts, including some by Malaysian politicians, have recently blamed Rohingya of committing crimes and accused them of dominating areas of the capital. The xenophobic campaigns have included activists having their names and photos circulated alongside inflammatory accusations, and have injected further fear into a community struggling for food and shelter through the pandemic lockdown. Police said the operation was aimed at preventing undocumented migrants from travelling to other areas amid movement curbs imposed to contain the spread of the virus outbreak, the state news agency Bernama reported.”

The day before the May Day raids, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said that “Rohingya nationals who are holders of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) card have no status, rights or basis to make any claims on the government.” According to a report in The Star, the Home Minister also said that anyone claiming to represent Rohingya in Malaysia would be considered illegal under the Registrar of Societies Act (RoS). He said, “The Home Ministry has made checks with the RoS and found no organisations under the name 'Rohingya' are registered in Malaysia. Any organisation that claims to represent the Rohingya ethnic group is illegal under the RoS Act, and legal action can be taken.”


16 April 2020

A child is tested for COVID-19 at a temporary testing facility set up by the Malaysian Ministry of Health in a community centre on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Al Jazeera (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/fear-refugees-malaysia-home-coronavirus-lockdown-200406014514452.html)
A child is tested for COVID-19 at a temporary testing facility set up by the Malaysian Ministry of Health in a community centre on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Al Jazeera (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/fear-refugees-malaysia-home-coronavirus-lockdown-200406014514452.html)

In late February, some 16,000 people attended a religious gathering at a mosque on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. Among the attendees were large numbers of undocumented Rohingya refugees. This gathering proved to be a “hotspot” for Covid-19, with significant numbers of those in attendance developing symptoms. Seeking to stem the spread of the virus, the Malaysian government, together with UNHCR, sought to trace the refugees in attendance and ensure they were tested, and authorities such as the police commissioner in Sabah - a state which is home to large numbers of migrants, refugees, and stateless persons - encouraged undocumented persons who attended the event to come forward to be tested. Although the country’s Circular 10/2001 requires health care providers to report undocumented persons to the police, the country’s Defence Minister vowed that the government would not arrest anyone based on their immigration status who sought medical services in relation to Covid-19, and the Ministry of Health confirmed that Covid-19 treatment would be free for any foreigner displaying symptoms. Despite these assurances, some organisations such as MSF have noted that the country’s past heavy-handed treatment of migrants and refugees may leave many hesitant to seek assistance.

Aside from these steps, the Malaysian government appears to have adopted few measures to protect migrants and asylum seekers, such as those behind bars. The country’s immigration detention facilities are particularly notorious for their cramped, unsanitary conditions, but to date, no detainees have been released. Instead, it appears that authorities may be continuing to place people in detention. On 5 April, the country’s Maritime Enforcement Agency intercepted a boat carrying 200 Rohingya refugees. According to Amnesty International Malaysia, this group were placed in 14-day quarantine, and are expected to soon be moved into already over-crowded immigration detention facilities. Amnesty thus called on authorities to urgently provide alternative measures to detention - particularly for elderly detainees and those with underlying health issues - to take steps to prevent overcrowding, and to ensure the right to adequate health care.


Last updated: July 2015

Malaysia Immigration Detention Profile

    One of the more vibrant economies of southeast Asia, Malaysia is a magnet for migrants and asylum seekers despite its poor human rights record and failure to ratify key human rights treaties. All unauthorized foreigners, including Rohingyas fleeing Myanmar, are considered “illegal” or “prohibited” immigrants under the Immigration Act.[1] Immigration detention in Malaysia includes various unique and brutal features such as caning and detention aboard vessels.

    Illegal entry and stay in Malaysia is criminalized and migrants often serve time in prisons before being transferred to one of the twelve administrative “immigration depots” while awaiting deportation.[2] Caning, a legacy of British colonial rule, remains a judicial punishment for criminal offences in the Malaysian Criminal Procedure Code. It was introduced in the Immigration Act in 2002 to deter unlawful migration. According to the Home Minister, 8,481 prisoners were caned in 2013, of whom 5,968 were non-citizens.[3] Denounced as a form of torture by Amnesty International[4] and as “anachronistic and inconsistent with a compassionate society in a developed nation” by the national Bar Association,[5] it is applied to adult males between 18 and 50 years old and leaves permanent physical and mental scars.

    Some 68,000 people were placed in immigration detention in 2013 according to the local press[6] including mainly Burmese, Indonesians, and Bangladeshis. The national human rights institution, SUHAKAM, reported that 1,406 children were detained in detention centres (immigration depots) from January to October 2013.[7] Section 34(1) of the Immigration Act provides that persons may be detained for “such period as may be necessary” pending removal. Immigration detainees generally spend between two months and two years in detention.[8]

    Procedural standards are reportedly very poor. Immigration detainees are rarely informed of the reasons for detention in a language they understand and they have scant access to legal counsel. There are no alternatives to immigration detention. Some UNHCR refugee cardholders detained in immigration depots can be released subject to the government’s discretion but the UN refugee agency only has access to them after they are transferred to the depots from prisons where they first serve immigration related sentences.

    The Malaysian Passport Act empowers immigration and police officers to “lawfully detain” persons unlawfully entering Malaysia on board vessels during the period that the vessel is within Malaysia or the territorial waters thereof.[9] However, no information about the frequency of the application of this measure appears to be available.


    [1] Act 155, Immigration Act 1959/63. Amended up to 1 January 2006. Section 55E (7). http://www.agc.gov.my/agcportal/uploads/files/Publications/LOM/EN/Act%20155.pdf

    [2] Act 155, Immigration Act 1959/63. Amended up to 1 January 2006. Sections 6(3), 15(4) and 36. http://www.agc.gov.my/agcportal/uploads/files/Publications/LOM/EN/Act%20155.pdf

    [3] Yuen Meikeng. Zahid: Over 8,000 prisoners caned last year. The Star online. 12 November 2014. http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/11/12/Zahid-Parliament-prisoners-caned/.

    [5] Anil Netto. MALAYSIA: Illegal Migrant Workers May Escape the Cane. Inter Press Service. 20 March 2007. http://www.ipsnews.net/2007/03/malaysia-illegal-migrant-workers-may-escape-the-cane/.

    [6] Gho Chee Yuan. Government spends RM2m a day to feed illegal immigrants, says deputy minister. The Star Online. 6 January 2014. http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/government-spends-rm2m-a-day-to-feed-illegal-immigrants.

    [7] Human Rights Commission of Malaysia. Roundtable on Alternatives to Immigration Detention Held on 12th November 2013. http://www.suhakam.org.my/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Report-on-Roundtable-on-ATD-Malaysia.pdf.

    [8] Report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention: Addendum: Mission to Malaysia. A/HRC/16/47/Add.2. 8 February 2011.

    [9] Act 150, Passport Act 1966. Incorporating all amendments up to 1 January 2006. Section 5(3). http://www.agc.gov.my/Akta/Vol.%204/Act%20150.pdf.

    DETENTION, EXPULSION, AND INCARCERATION STATISTICS

    Total number of immigration detainees by year
    47,092
    2017
    86,795
    2016
    68,000
    2013
    Number of immigration detainees on a given day
    13,000
    2020
    Total number of detained minors
    885
    2017
    166
    2017
    1,196
    2014
    1,406
    2013
    Number of dedicated long-term immigration detention centres
    14
    2014
    12
    2014
    13
    2014
    15
    2014
    13
    2010
    17
    2008
    Estimated capacity of dedicated long-term immigration detention centres
    14,000
    2014
    13,000
    2014
    6,640
    2010
    11,400
    2007
    Number of transit facilities
    2
    2014
    Number of persons removed/returned (voluntary returns and deportations)
    59,765
    2014
    10,000
    2009
    Criminal prison population
    51,602
    2016
    39,740
    2013
    38,387
    2010
    50,305
    2007
    43,424
    2004
    28,891
    2001
    29,150
    1998
    24,831
    1995
    21,612
    1992
    Percentage of foreign prisoners
    29.1
    2016
    29.4
    2013
    Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population)
    167
    2016
    133
    2013
    135
    2010
    186
    2007
    170
    2004
    119
    2001
    129
    1998
    118
    1995
    111
    1992

    DEMOGRAPHICS AND IMMIGRATION-RELATED STATISTICS

    Population
    32,400,000
    2020
    30,331,000
    2015
    29,300,000
    2012
    International migrants
    3,430,380
    2019
    2,514,200
    2015
    6,000,000
    2014
    2,469,200
    2013
    International migrants as a percentage of the population
    8.3
    2015
    8.3
    2013
    Estimated number of undocumented migrants
    2,000,000 - 3,000,000
    2014
    540,000 - 1,800,000
    2011
    Refugees
    129,107
    2019
    121,302
    2018
    103,839
    2017
    92,209
    2016
    94,166
    2015
    97,513
    2014
    Ratio of refugees per 1000 inhabitants
    3
    2016
    3.32
    2014
    3.19
    2012
    Total number of new asylum applications
    27,627
    2019
    20,346
    2016
    25,711
    2014
    20,183
    2012
    Refugee recognition rate
    90.4
    2014
    Stateless persons
    9,631
    2018
    10,068
    2017
    10,931
    2016
    40,000
    2015
    40,000
    2014

    SOCIO-ECONOMIC INDICATORS

    Gross Domestic Product per capita (in USD)
    11,307
    2015
    10,514
    2014
    Remittances to the country
    1,565
    2014
    1,235
    2011
    Remittances from the country
    1,754
    2010
    Unemployment Rate
    2014
    Net official development assistance (ODA) (in millions USD)
    11.9
    2014
    15,370,000
    2012
    Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)
    62 (High)
    2015
    Pew Global Attitudes Poll on Immigration
    89
    2007

    DOMESTIC LAWS AND POLICIES

    Legal tradition
    Common law
    Muslim law
    Customary law
    Constitutional guarantees?
    Yes (Federal Constitution of 1957 as amended in2007 by Act A1320. Article 5) 1957 1957
    1957
    Core pieces of national legislation
    Immigration Act 1959/63. Amended up to 1 January 2006. (1959) 2006
    1959
    Additional legislation
    Act 670. Anti-Trafficking in Persons and anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007. As at 1 November 2014. Section 25. (2007) 2014
    2007
    Act 537, Prison Act 1995. (1995) 2009
    1995
    Act 150, Passports Act 1966. (1966) 2006
    1966
    Regulations, standards, guidelines
    Immigration Regulations 1963. Regulation 39(b). (1963)
    1963
    Immigration-status-related grounds
    Detention to prevent unauthorised entry at the border
    2015
    Detention for unauthorised entry or stay
    2015
    Detention to effect removal
    2015
    Detention of unauthorised persons by executive discretion
    2015
    Non-immigration-status-related grounds providing for administrative detention in immigration legislation.
    Detention on health-related grounds
    2015
    Detention on public order, threats or security grounds
    2015
    Does the country provide specific criminal penalties for immigration-related violations?
    Yes (Yes)
    2015
    Grounds for criminal immigration-related detention/incarceration and maximum potential duration of incarceration
    Unauthorized entry (1825)
    2015
    Unauthorised stay (1825)
    2015
    Unauthorized re-entry (1825)
    2015
    Maximum length for administrative immigration detention in law.
    No Limit
    2015
    Maximum length of time in custody prior to issuance of a detention order
    14
    2015
    30
    2015
    Maximum length of detention for asylum-seekers
    No Limit
    2014
    Provision of basic procedural standards
    Right to appeal the lawfulness of detention (Yes) No
    2014
    Independent review of detention (No) No
    2014
    Right to legal counsel (No) No
    2014
    Information to detainees (No) No
    2014
    Access to consular assistance (Yes) Yes
    2014
    Access to asylum procedures (No) Yes
    2014
    Complaints mechanism regarding detention conditions (No) No
    2014
    Access to free interpretation services (No) No
    2014
    Types of non-custodial measures
    Release (Yes) infrequently
    2014
    Is the detention of vulnerable persons provided in law? Are they detained in practice?
    Accompanied minors (Provided) Yes
    2014
    Unaccompanied minors (Not mentioned) Yes
    2014
    Stateless persons (Not mentioned) Yes
    2014
    Victims of trafficking (Prohibited) Yes
    2014
    Elderly (Not mentioned) Yes
    2010
    Pregnant women (Not mentioned) Yes
    2010
    Persons with disabilities (Not mentioned) Yes
    2010
    Mandatory detention
    Yes (All apprehended non-citizens who do not have proper documentation)
    2010
    Re-entry ban
    Yes
    2015

    INTERNATIONAL LAW

    Ratio of relevant international treaties ratified
    Ratio: 4/19
    International treaty reservations
    Reservation Year
    Observation Date
    CRPD Article 3 2010
    2010
    2017
    CRPD Article 15 2010
    2010
    2010
    CRC Article 14 1995
    1995
    1995
    CRC Article 28 1995
    1995
    1995
    CRC Article 37 1995
    1995
    1995
    Ratio of complaints procedures accepted
    Observation Date
    0/3
    2017
    Regional legal instruments
    Year of Ratification (Treaty) / Transposed (Directive) / Adoption (Regulation)
    ASEAN CATPWC Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children 2017
    2017
    Visits by special procedures of the Human Rights Council
    Year of Visit
    Observation Date
    Working Group on arbitrary detention 2010
    2010
    2015
    Relevant recommendations by UN Special Procedures
    Recommendation Year
    Observation Date
    Working Group on arbitrary detention "117. Regardless of immigration status, nobody should be subjected to arbitrary detention or appalling detention conditions. The Government is reminded that it is its responsibility to guarantee the right to physical and psychological integrity and the right to security in immigration detention centres.[...] 119. The Government should also rule out detention of asylum-seekers and refugees as well as vulnerable groups of migrants, including unaccompanied minors, families with minor children, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, elderly persons, persons with disabilities, people with serious and/or chronic physical or mental health problems. 120. The Government should, in all cases, provide for automatic periodic review by a court of law on the necessity and legality of detention. 121. The Government should also provide for an effective remedy for detainees to challenge the necessity and legality of detention at any time of the detention period and ex post facto, and define the circumstances. 122. As long as there is a regime of mandatory administrative detention for migrants in an irregular situation, the Government should legally define its maximum period rather than basing it on Government regulations or policy. 123. The Government should also provide for a system of legal aid for immigration detainees. 124. The Government should assume the responsibility of improving the conditions in immigration detention centres as a matter of urgency. 125. RELA [Ikatan Relawan Rakyat Malaysia Volunteer Corps], as a volunteer force, should not be used for law enforcement nor for guarding immigration detention centres. " 2010
    2010
    2010
    Relevant recommendations of the UN Universal Periodic Review
    Observation Date
    No 2009
    2017

    INSTITUTIONAL INDICATORS

    Federal or centralized governing system
    Federal system
    2015
    Custodial authority
    Federal Task Force of Sabah ()
    2015
    Immigration Department (Interior Ministry) Interior or Home Affairs
    2015
    Immigration Department (Home Affairs) Interior or Home Affairs
    2014
    Officer in Charge of the prison (Interior Ministry) Interior or Home Affairs
    2014
    Prison Department of Malaysia (Interior Ministry) Interior or Home Affairs
    2014
    Immigration Department (Interior Ministry) Interior or Home Affairs
    2014
    Immigration Department (Ministry of the Interior) Interior or Home Affairs
    2014
    Jabatan Penjara Malaysia - Prison Department () Prison
    2009
    Jabatan Penjara Malaysia - Prison Department () Prison
    2008
    Jabatan Penjara Malaysia - Prison Department () Prison
    2007
    ()
    ()
    Apprehending authorities
    immigration officers, police officers and custom officers ()
    2014
    RELA - Peoples Volunteer Corps, under the Ministry of Home Affairs ()
    2012
    Detention Facility Management
    Department of Depot Management, Ministry of Home Affairs, in peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak (Governmental)
    2015
    Federal Special Task Force, for facilities in Sabah (Governmental)
    2015
    Department of Depot Management, Ministry of Home Affairs (Governmental)
    2015
    Federal Task Force of Sabah (Governmental)
    2015
    Federal Special Task Force (Governmental)
    2015
    Prisons Department of Malaysia (Governmental)
    2014
    Prison Department of Malaysia (Governmental)
    2014
    Immigration Department, with collaboration from the prisons department, police, RELA (Peoples Volunteer Corps under the Ministry of Home Affairs) and the civil defence force (JPAM). (Governmental)
    2013
    Jabatan Penjara Malaysia - Prison Department (Governmental)
    2009
    Jabatan Penjara Malaysia - Prison Department (Governmental)
    2008
    Jabatan Penjara Malaysia - Prison Department (Governmental)
    2007
    Pasukan Petugas Khas Persekutuan Negeri Sabah (Governmental)
    2007
    Penjara Wanita Kajang (Governmental)
    2007
    Formally designated detention estate?
    Yes (Dedicated immigration detention facilities)
    2014
    Types of detention facilities used in practice
    2015
    2014
    Authorized monitoring institutions
    International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) (International or Regional Bodies (IRBs))
    2017
    Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) (National Human Rights Institution (or Ombudsperson) (NHRI))
    2015
    International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) (International or Regional Bodies (IRBs))
    2014