Filipinos were among the 153 people nabbed in Kuala Lumpur for violating the country’s immigration laws.
Malaysia’s crackdown on illegal workers started in January, but this is the first time Filipinos were detained by Malaysian forces.
A report from state-run Bernama news agency said the illegal immigrants were detained in the city for various offenses under “Ops Bersepadu 6P,” a nationwide operation to track illegal immigrants there.
The detainees, composed of 136 men and 17 women, were from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nepal, India, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines.
The offenses included not having travel documents, overstaying in the country, and possession of fake travel permits, the report said.
James Muda Singa, enforcement division assistant director, said the eight-hour operation covered parts of the city, including Jalan Silang, Jalan Tun H. S. Lee, Jalan Petaling, and Central Market.
Immigration officers also nabbed three employers of illegal immigrants from Nepal, Bangladesh, and Indonesia for allegedly harboring them.
The Philippine government, on the other hand, has no official number of illegal immigrants in Malaysia mainly because of the varying figures.
Malaysia is just a two-hour boat ride away from Sulu province in Mindanao, and a number of Filipinos in the southern part of the country enter Malaysia through back channels.