Tawau in Malaysia. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Tawau in Malaysia. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Six Indonesian migrant workers were killed and four others are missing after two speedboats collided on the Nyamuk River, which separates the Indonesian and Malaysian parts of Borneo Island.

The two boats were suspected to be carrying illegal migrant workers and traveling with their lights off on Friday evening in order to avoid being noticed by local authorities. Thirteen other people survived the collision in the darkness, UCA News reported.

One of the boats was carrying migrant workers returning from Tawau in Sarawak, Malaysia to Sebatik Island in North Kalimantan, Indonesia.

Gabriel Goa Sola, director of the Advocacy Service for Justice and Peace, said that the workers were trying to escape from Malaysia as the new Mahathir government is planning a crackdown on illegal foreign workers starting on Sunday.

According to the Indonesian government, there are more than three million Indonesians working in Malaysia, and at least 500,000 of them work in the country illegally.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo met with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad late last week and the two leaders agreed to renew a memorandum of understanding on migrant worker placement and protection that expired in 2016.