Seven Indonesians suspected of trying to sneak out of Malaysia after working there illegally drowned after their boat capsized, an immigration official said Sunday.
The fatalities were among the estimated 62 illegal Indonesian migrants who hoped to return to their homeland after working for years in Malaysia, according to state immigration chief Rohaizi Ibrahim.
Thirty-four other people were rescued alive in the accident that occurred late Saturday off the town of Pantai Batu Layar in the state of Johor, south of Kuala Lumpur, Rohaizi added.
“The boat left the shore early evening but after a few hours at sea, the vessel was battered with strong waves, causing the boat to capsize,” he told reporters in a press briefing.
Operations are still locating passengers of the vessel.
Deadly boat accidents usually involving illegal migrants on unsafe vessels are common along the Malaysian coast.
The Home Ministry estimate there are 1.5 million illegal Indonesian workers in Malaysia.