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Kuala Lumpur (VNA) - Nine people were confirmed drowned and several others missing after a boat believed to be carrying illegal immigrants capsized off Malaysia’s eastern coast.

According to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, the bodies of six women and three men were washed ashore at a beach near the town of Mersing early January 23.

The agency’s spokesperson said there were about 40 Indonesians who were illegal immigrants on the boat, which was heading from Indonesia to Malaysia when it capsized.

A search is underway for the remaining passengers.

Last November, a speedboat that was also suspected of carrying illegal Indonesian migrant workers returning from Malaysia sank near Batam Island, south of Singapore. More than 40 people were missing in the case.-VNA