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Tuesday July 1, 2008

Only RM450 for illegals to enter or leave

ILLEGAL immigrants only need to pay RM450 to either get into, or out of, the country by boat, reported Kosmo!.

A reporter from Kosmo!, posing as an illegal immigrant for five days, discovered how easy it was for these people to get out of the country and also to penetrate the country’s border.

The reporter had sailed to Indonesia and entered the country illegally without getting caught.

“I posed as an Indonesian without any passport, and was introduced to a middleman, a tekong (boat owner), who made all the necessary arrangements.

“The middleman said what was important was that we reached our destination without any problems, referring to the route from Port Klang to Tanjung Balai Port in Medan.

According to the middleman, boats sail twice a week, but the date and time are never fixed.

The writer was picked up by someone at the Klang bus station at 11pm and taken to a terrace house in Klang which was used as a transit house.

There were about 30 illegal immigrants already gathered there including children, and all of them were not allowed to go out of the house.

A man known as Yusno who spoke in the Indonesian dialect said that they would be leaving at 3am and those who wanted to buy food or drinks could place orders with him.

At 3am, Yusno once again emerged and said the journey was postponed indefinitely, and 24 hours later, came back and ushered the group to climb into a lorry.

The journey, according to the writer, took about an hour, at the end of which the passengers were asked to walk down a small hill, cross a railway line, and were finally crammed into a boat meant to accommodate only 10 people.

He said their cellphones were taken away and returned after the journey. The boat, registered to carry vegetables and fish, was stopped twice by the authorities but no checks were conducted.

And finally after 18 hours, the boat reached Tanjung Balai and there were no problems whatsoever with immigration checks in Indonesia.

After three days in Medan, the reporter was introduced to another agent who arranged for the trip back to Malaysia. He had to once again pay the same amount.

The reporter said the only difference this time was that the passengers were placed in storage boxes for fish until they reached the Klang shore.

> Utusan Malaysia reported that the number of people using credit cards at petrol stations were expected to increase, and therefore banks would make profits even if the commission rate for card charge was reduced.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad said that when the price of fuel increases, more people would use credit cards instead of cash.

“The increase of credit card users will translate into more commission for banks,” he said, adding that he was still negotiating with the banks matters related to commission rates.

Other News & Views is compiled from the vernacular newspapers (Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil dailies). As such, stories are grouped according to the respective language/medium. Where a paragraph begins with a sub-heading, it denotes a separate news item.

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