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Tuesday June 7, 2011

Amnesty scam

KUALA LUMPUR: Several companies claiming to represent the Home Ministry are under probe by the ministry for collecting money to legalise illegal immigrants.

It is learnt that some of the companies were collecting about RM800 per illegal immigrant under the Government's 6P programme which is a large scale legalisation and amnesty exercise to reduce the number of illegal immigrants in Malaysia, estimated at about two million.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the unscrupulous companies are being blacklisted as the ministry had not authorised any company or agent to collect money under the programme.

“The police and the Special Branch are already hot on the heels of the errant companies,'' he told The Star.

“I know it is happening. We will not tolerate this. If they collect money up front, out they go.

“We are blacklisting the errant companies, no matter how good or capable they are,'' he said.

The 6P programme which is aimed at registering, legalising, pardoning, monitoring, enforcing and deporting illegal immigrants, is expected to be finalised by the Cabinet Committee on Foreign and Illegal Workers which is scheduled to meet soon.

On Monday, The Star which reported on the amnesty exercise, had said that under the programme, illegal immigrants could return to their country without being prosecuted. They, however, must first have their thumbprints recorded and stored in the Immigration Department database.

Hishammuddin said the ministry was in the process of screening several agencies interested in participating in the programme to help register illegal workers.

“We are starting with the biometric system, as we can use thumbprints to register illegal immigrants. We can track their movement, like the duration of stay in the country.

“We can also use the system to track those who returned to the country under a different name after deportation,'' he said, adding that documents could be forged, but not fingerprints.

He said the programme that was mooted 18 months ago would be implemented in a month's time.

“We are venturing into a new territory, that require much efforts from the right agencies in the right working environment,” he said, adding that other countries could emulate the Malaysian model to check human trafficking and other transborder crimes such as money laundering, drug trafficking, arms smuggling and terrorism.

“We can have all the basic information that can be shared by any agencies. We can share the information among other countries, and not only with Interpol,'' he said.

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