PUTRAJAYA, Sept 2 — The Immigration Department arrested 2,433 illegal immigrants for various offences in 40 operations on the first day yesterday of a nation-wide exercise to flush out illegal immigrants in the country, Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today.
He said 8,105 people were checked throughout the country as part of the integrated 6P illegal immigrant comprehensive legalisation programme carried out by the various enforcement agencies of the ministry and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
Ahmad Zahid said Indonesian nationals made up the biggest number of illegal immigrants arrested, accounting for 717, followed by Myanmar nationals (555), Bangladesh nationals (387) and Nepal nationals (229).
Also held were nationals from Cambodia, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, China, Nigeria and Thailand, he added.
"This operation is not seasonal and will not end on December 31 this year. This is an ongoing operation and we will not compromise. Our target is to achieve zero illegal immigrants,” he said.
“This shows the seriousness of the Home Ministry and Immigration Department (to flush out the illegal immigrants). Ours is not a spur-of-the-moment action,” he told reporters after attending the monthly assembly of the Home Ministry, here.
In the exercise yesterday, 2,207 personnel from the ministry’s agencies, such as the Immigration Department (976 personnel), People’s Volunteer Corps or Rela (479), Royal Malaysia Police (370), Department of Civil Defence (94), National Registration Department (72), Anti-Smuggling Unit (43), National Anti-Drugs Agency (33) and MACC (48) were involved.
Ahmad Zahid said the ministry would continue to work with the diplomatic missions of the countries which are a source of immigrant workers to facilitate the issuing of permits.
“We will take action in accordance with the principles of international law, including that demanded by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), to avoid human trafficking,” he said.
The Ops 6P programme involves an ongoing exercise to trace, arrest, prosecute and extradite foreign nationals who violate the country’s immigration and anti-human trafficking laws.
Ahmad Zahid gave the assurance that the Immigration Department was prepared to approve applications for permits if the applicants adhered to rules and the proper channel.
“Although there have been claims that the Immigration Department made it difficult for them by not issuing permits despite repeated applications and through various means, I give the assurance that permits will be issued for applications that are in order.
“I hope the people will not use the services of middle-men but go directly to the One-Stop Centre represented by the ministry and departments to verify the issuing of permits by sector,” he said. — Bernama