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June 24, 2017

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Malaysia offers Indonesian illegals safe return home

KUALA LUMPUR--Malaysia is offering illegal Indonesians safe return home without being prosecuted to avoid them making secret journeys in rickety boats after several fatal accidents ahead of the Eid al-Fitr festival, officials said Saturday.

At least four boats have sunk since last month as Indonesians, drawn to the relatively affluent Southeast Asian country for work, sought to go home for Eid al-Fitr, Islam's biggest festival, which starts in Malaysia on Monday.

The sinkings killed dozens and have left scores more missing.

Those wanting to return will be fined for being in Malaysia illegally, but will escape harsher prosecution, such as jail terms and caning, said a home ministry official who declined to be named as he is not authorized to make public statements.

In addition to the fine of at least 300 ringgit (US$95), Indonesians have to pay 100 ringgit more for a one-way pass to return home.

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