Biggest raiding team ever gets set to hunt for illegals

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 30 Jan 2005

KUALA LUMPUR: No one will be spared. That is the promise of the Immigration Department when the biggest raiding team ever mobilised in the country begins its nationwide sweep of illegals and their employers on Tuesday.  

“Officers in charge of raiding parties will arrest illegal workers, factory managers, restaurant owners and house owners who have illegal workers,” said department enforcement director Datuk Ishak Mohamed. 

“Even housewives who employ maids illegally will not be spared,” he said. 

Over 500,000 men from the department, the police, Rela and Rukun Tetangga will take part in the crackdown after the amnesty period ends tomorrow. 

It will see door-to-door checks at construction sites, plantations, factories, restaurants and homes – wherever illegal foreign workers may be found. 

Ishak said all the five sectors – plantation, construction, services, manufacturing and domestic – would be covered.  

“All our ground officers have been trained and taught investigating procedures so that we can arrest and file charges against illegal foreign workers and employers,” said Ishak at the KL International Airport yesterday after returning from Indonesia where he visited one-stop centres to process foreign workers for the Malaysian market. 

Ishak also said raiding teams would have the power to break down doors if workers or employers prevented them from entering. 

The operation, he added, would go on indefinitely. 

A hotline (tel: 03-8880 1555) would also be set up to coordinate the operations and receive information from the public on the hideouts of illegal foreign workers.  

Ishak said only 400,000 illegal immigrants had left the country since the amnesty offer for illegals began on Oct 29. 

There remains in the country another 400,000 of them, most of whom are Indonesians.  

In Putrajaya, Home Minister Datuk Azmi Khalid said all those involved in the nationwide operation had been given clear guidelines and directives to avoid excessive use of force against illegal workers. 

The guidelines, he said, were meant to prevent any claims of abuse or maltreatment by the officers. 

He said illegals detained during the operations would be liable to be charged in court where they faced fines, jail terms and whipping. 

Those charged in court, he said, would only be deported after they had served their sentences. 

Azmi said the Immigration Department would use its discretion in deciding who would be charged and who would be deported immediately. 

This, he said, was to prevent overcrowding at detention centres.  

The detention facilities for foreign workers in the country can take a maximum of 16,000 inmates at any one time.  

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