By Ivan Watson, Tim Hume and Kocha Olarn, CNN

A top Malaysian official says the surge of migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh seeking asylum in his country and neighboring Indonesia in recent days is unwelcome — and his government will turn back any illegal arrivals.

“We cannot welcome them here,” Malaysian Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Jaafar told CNN by phone.

“If we continue to welcome them, then hundreds of thousands will come from Myanmar and Bangladesh.”

The comments come as humanitarian groups issue urgent warnings about the fates of estimated thousands of desperate migrants stranded aboard rickety traffickers’ ships in the busy Strait of Malacca and nearby waters, looking for a safe harbor to take them in.

Jeff Labovitz, spokesman for the International Organization Migration in Bangkok, told CNN Thursday that Thai authorities were dealing with one such vessel with 350 passengers on board — including “many women and children” — after it had been abandoned by the trafficker operating the vessel.

“We don’t know if they’re going to let it disembark,” he said.

He said those on board had earlier been given food and water by Malaysian authorities, before being turned around.

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