Promised life in New Zealand or Australia, refugees halted before boat leaves Malaysia

A tip-off from the Australian Federal Police has resulted in Malaysian authorities intercepting an asylum seeker boat before it could leave with 34 people on board.

The asylum seekers, including 11 women and seven children, were stopped 10 days ago as they were about to board a boat with the promise they would be taken to either Australia or New Zealand, News Corp Australia reports.

Three members of a people-smuggling ring were also arrested in the operation on January 4.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the threat of asylum seekers arriving by boat wasn't over.

"It is only the Coalition's policies which have halted the people-smugglers," he told News Corp.

"Just like Kevin Rudd, if elected (Opposition Leader) Bill Shorten will change our border policies and the result will be more boats, more deaths at sea and more children in detention. He is not worth the risk at the border."

Malaysia flag and golden scale with a judge's gavel
Malaysia justice (file picture). Source: