Immigration set to crack down hard on illegals, human traffickers

Last Updated on Sept. 4, 2018, 11:42 a.m.

PUTRAJAYA: With its 3+1 amnesty programme expiring Thursday (Aug 30), the Immigration Department will begin its large-scale crackdown on Friday (Aug 31) on illegal immigrants as well as human trafficking syndicates, says Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali.

The director-general said syndicates that indulged in "modern day slavery" would be a priority for the department in the operation, dubbed Ops Mega 3.0.

"These syndicates claim to bring in foreign workers for a specific sector or industry but the workers end up working in other sectors altogether.

"We busted a syndicate in Jalan Masjid India recently where the workers were registered to work at certain premises but instead worked in other premises," he told a press conference after attending the department's monthly assembly on Thursday.

Mustafar said the operation against illegal immigrants would also see the department cross-referencing their internal data on foreign workers and immigrants with those of other agencies and ministries, as well as the respective embassies.

"We want to ensure that we have all our bases covered.

"We will also work closely with local councils to ensure that no illegals escape our net," he said.

Mustafar cited an example where the department worked with UNHCR and detected certain illegal immigrants who were using fake UNHCR cards.

"Thus, cross-agency cooperation is of utmost important," he said.

Between 2014 and Aug 28 this year, a total of 867,336 illegal immigrants signed up for the amnesty programme and returned to their home countries.

"We will not extend it beyond the Aug 30 dateline.

"Starting Aug 31, we will go all out to nab illegal immigrants nationwide," Mustafar said.

Between Jan 1 and Aug 29 this year, the department conducted 9,449 enforcement operations and checked 116,270 foreigners, resulting in 29,040 being nabbed, he added.

"The highest arrests were for illegals from Indonesia with 9,759, followed by Bangladesh (5,959), the Philippines (2,820) and Myanmar (2,715)," he said.

Mustafar also hit out at certain parties who demanded that the department slow down their enforcement ops because the total number of illegals arrested only represent a small percentage of those checked.

"It shows we are only going after those who are here in the country illegally," he said.


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