Sunday, 18 May 2003

Malaysia arrests 50 Indonesians after clashes

KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 (Reuters) - Fifty Indonesians were arrested after fighting broke out among rival Indonesian groups in Malaysia, police said on Sunday.

One person died in the clash that broke out on Saturday at a construction site in Rawang, 35 km (22 miles) north of Kuala Lumpur.

Later, about 100 of the machete-wielding immigrants were involved in a stand-off with police officers who went to investigate, a local police official said.

The immigrants fled when reinforcements arrived. Police rounded up about 350 people and arrested 50.

It was the second major clash involving Indonesian immigrants in the past 18 months.

In January 2002, about 450 Indonesian workers attacked policemen at a textile factory south of Kuala Lumpur and overturned their vehicles.

Following that, the government launched a crackdown on illegals, then estimated to number around 600,000 out of an alien work force of two million. Hundreds of thousands of Indonesians and Filipinos were deported.