Illegal immigrants are the people who enter the country with undocumented or in the illegal ways. Legal foreign workers also can become illegal immigrants as their visa expired due to overstay in the destination country. Those illegal immigrants are not just a few. As of April 2012, the Malaysian government is said to have recorded 3.1 million foreign workers in the country, of which two-thirds are illegal foreigners (The New Straits Times, 12 April 2012) Hence, the presences of that huge amount of illegal immigrants had made some impact on our country economic condition. There have 2 sides to investigate about what illegal immigrants actually bring to our country, whether benefits or cost. This part of study will discuss about cost of having illegal immigrants from the economic aspect.
It is important to state all the statistical data and the definition are referenced from the others sources as the purposes of statistical prove regarding to this study. Sources of data have been taken from Department of Statistics, Malaysia, journal, article and newspaper which content reliable data given by Ministry of Home Affair such as Borneo Post Online, Utusan Malaysia, The New Straits Times, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL and more.
The existence of illegal immigrants had cost a lot to our country economic as it slowly becomes one of the burdens to the government. There are evidences shows that existences of huge amount of illegal immigrants have slowly cost a lot of to our country economy.
The reason of illegal immigrants as the burden to our government is because the government needs to spend extra amount of money which are not necessary to be spent to handle the cost to detent illegal immigrant. Government need to provide food and health care to those illegal immigrants in the detention centre. According to the estimates released earlier in the month of 2014 by the home ministry, daily food and administrative costs for housing about 68,000 undocumented foreign workers in 10 detention centers across the country total nearly 2.4 million ringgit which are $731,000 and these expenses are still not included the medical expenses. If the medical expenses are included, the daily cost swells to 5.1 million ringgit. (THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, 21 Jan 2014).
Based on the estimates given by home ministry, if there are more than 68,000 illegal immigrants that need to take care in the detention centre, our government has to waste more than 5.1 million ringgit daily. This means that the money used by the government to take care about the illegal immigrants in the detention centre will definitely affect the economy growth rate of our country as the money are supposed to grow our country economy. This is a cause of concern to many Malaysians who would rather see such resources be put to better use for the benefit and welfare of the local poor.
Sabah was the state that faced most serious issues about the existence of illegal immigrants in our country. In years 2010, Sabah’s population was 3,117,405 with foreigners making up 27.81% of the total the population of Sabah as of the last census in 2010 as shown in Figure 1. (Statistics Department of Malaysia, 2011)
By referring to the Figure 1, it was found that the number of non-Malaysia citizen was the highest. This might be closely related to the issue of immigrants, since more than 27.8 per cent of the population is non-citizens. Despite that, the statistics only shows the official figures of non-citizens. The influx of illegal immigrants is also a huge issue in the state and their actual numbers are most likely not included in the statistics. It is estimated that there is a ratio of 1 illegal immigrant to 750 Sabahans based on the previous arrests.(Wan Hassan and Dollah, 2010).
To handle these extensive amounts of illegal immigrants, it is believe that our government has been run a lot of operation in order to arrest the illegal immigrants in Sabah. Those illegal immigrants arrested from the operation will send to the detention center which set up by the government. In the mean time to the process of deporting them back to their own, ours government need to take care about them for the daily food and medical care. Our government had spent RM 604,080,840 in order to manage the foreign prisoners in Sabah’s four prisons in between the year of 2006 till Oct 2012. (Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants in Sabah, 24 Feb 2013).
If the amount of illegal immigrants in our country is keep on increasing, this will cost our country economy than getting benefits of having them in the country. As a result, existence of illegal immigrants will be a burden to ours government as it cost ours government on spending huge amount of public fund and will outweigh the economic benefits.
1) The New Straits Times, 12 April 2012, 3.1 million foreign workers in the country, of which two-thirds are illegal foreigners. Available at: http://www2.nst.com.my/nation/general/time-to-weed-out-the-illegals-1.73181/facebook-comments-7.87416
2) Sabah population, Available at: http://www.statistics.gov.my/portal/download_Population/files/population/05Jadual_Mukim_negeri/Mukim_Sabah.pdf
3) THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, 21 Jan 2014 , Daily food and administrative costs for housing
4) Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants in Sabah, 24 Feb 2013, RM 604 million spent to manage the foreign prisoners in Sabah’s four prisons in between the year of 2006 till Oct 2012
Available at: http://www.theborneopost.com/2013/02/24/rm600-mln-spent-on-non-malaysian-prisoners/