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M'sia begins crackdown on illegal immigrants
Publication Date : 01-09-2013
Malaysian authorities have begun the nationwide crackdown on some 40,000 illegal immigrants in the country
Malaysian authorities arrested 71 illegal immigrants and even confiscated a samurai sword during raids on squatter homes here, as the nationwide crackdown against unwanted foreigners began early Sunday morning.
The arrested (60 men and 11 women), mostly from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar and Nepal, were picked up in Bukit Raja, Klang and Dengkil for having improper documents, fake work permits or for overstaying in the country.
The operation, involving 150 officers from the Immigration Department, police, Armed Forces, Rela, Civil Defence, National Registration Department, marked the start of the largest nationwide crackdown on unwanted foreigners in the country.
The operation was targeting those who registered under the Illegal Immigrant Comprehensive Settlement Programme or 6P but did not turn up for further processing, including legalisation and voluntary deportation.
During the registration, which was conducted for three months ending in October 2011, about 1.3 million of the estimated two million undocumented foreigners registered.
Of those who registered, 500,000 applications for legalisation were processed while 330,000 were repatriated.
During the raid in Dengkil at 3am, the officers arrival triggered chaos as immigrants fled their makeshift homes into the jungle after being woken up by barking dogs.
Authorities confiscated a long samurai sword and hammers found hidden in the homes and arrested 21 people during the operation.
"I wanted to get a real work permit but my boss tricked me! I gave him 3,000 ringgit (US$912) and he promised he would do it but he hasn't done it until now. I'm very angry!" said Suherman, 34, an Indonesian who was apprehended for not having proper documents.
When questioned by officers on why he did not seek assistance under the 6P programme, Suherman said he was afraid as he was in the country illegally.
In Klang, Indonesian Faizatul Abror, 20s, was jolted from her sleep when authorities raided her squatter home in Bukit Raja at around 5am.
Unlike the 50 arrested there, Faizatul who is also caring for a one-year-old son, had managed to obtain an extension on her permit after she read about the news of the operation.
"I've been working here for five years and have been raided before. If I am going to continue working here, I'm going to be here with all the right papers.
"6P wasn't easy but it also wasn't hard. The authorities gave leeway so I should follow," she said.
Meanwhile, Immigration Department deputy director (enforcement) Saravana Kumar said those arrested would be investigated under Section 6, 15(4) and 55 of the Immigration Act and face immediate deportation.
"This sends a clear warning to employers here not to hire illegal immigrants for labour," he said.
Saravana said the first phase of the operation, which runs until the end of 2013, aims to nab around 400,000 illegal immigrants and about 45,000 employers of such foreigners. The operation will involve some 135,000 personnel nationwide.
"Our operation will include raids on squatter homes, farms, entertainment centres and massage parlours across the country.
"The ops which has already been running unofficially has also netted around 200 employers who hire illegal immigrants for various businesses," he said.
Saravana added that immigrants would be deported immediately while local employers can be fined up to 50,000 ringgit ($15,213) or face jail time of up to five-years or six strokes of the rotan, or all three.