Nationwide crackdown on illegal immigrants put off indefinitely

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 01 Feb 2005

KUALA LUMPUR: The nationwide crackdown on illegal immigrants and employers, scheduled to begin today after the expiry of the amnesty period, has been called off pending further notice. 

No reason has been given for the decision but a Home Ministry source said the amnesty period would be extended by another week. 

Home Minister Datuk Azmi Khalid chaired a meeting with senior ministry and immigration officers at his office in Putrajaya yesterday afternoon. He, however, declined to talk to the press after the meeting.  

Immigration sources said no reason was given to call off the operations today. 

A Johor Immigration officer said he received a verbal directive not to proceed with the action.  

“The senior official who called us did not given any reason for the delay but we will be on stand-by for new directives about the raids,” said the officer. 

An Immigration officer in Malacca said he received “an instruction via SMS (short messaging service) from the headquarters late Sunday night”. 

“We are still waiting for a black-and-white on the matter,” he added. 

Rela director-general Datuk Mahadi Arshad said he had yet to receive the go-ahead for the operations, which would involve 560,000 men. 

Indonesian Ambassador to Malaysia Dr KPH Rusdihardjo S.H. said his government had asked for an extension of the amnesty period. 

He added that Indonesia's State Secretary, Dr Usril Ihza Mahendra, would be arriving here today with a letter from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. 

“Dr Mahendra will hand over the letter to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdulah Ahmad Badawi on Wednesday,” he added. 

Meanwhile, Acting Inspector-General of Police Datuk Musa Hassan said the police would neither be involved nor keep illegals in their lock-ups because they were not called to attend any meetings on the operations. 

The amnesty to allow illegal foreign workers to leave the country without being penalised ended at midnight.  

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