PUTRAJAYA: The Immigration Department will distinguish between genuine refugees such as the Rohingya and economic migrants looking for greener pastures.
Its director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said that with Malaysia having 137 legal points of entry, it was collaborating with other agencies to filter those coming in.
With the Rohingya, “the influx will happen and Malaysia is one of the refugees’ destinations”.
“I want to emphasise again that we will follow whatever policy decisions made by the Home Ministry, including letting the Rohingya in to prevent them from being killed,” he said after witnessing the taking of an anti-graft pledge by the department’s Operations, Investigation and Prosecution Division yesterday.
He was responding to queries about the handling of the anticipated influx of refugees following the recent surge in violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.
Refugees with UNCHR cards, said Mustafar, would also be permitted to enter.
“We have always said that if they are illegal immigrants without passes, we will apprehend them but this is different due to events overseas,” he said.
On the Sarawak government’s stance not to house any Rohingya refugee, Mustafar said that this was a policy decision by the state government.
He also said that the 44 Rohingya detained during a protest outside the Myanmar Embassy on Aug 30 remains a matter for the police.
Earlier, Mustafar warned against any attempt to bribe Immigration officers.
“Don’t offer a bribe to any Immigration officer because we are ready to take action against people trying to corrupt our personnel,” he said.
He also said that the agency has detained 11,052 illegals since the foreign worker registration programme ended on June 30.
“We’ve also apprehended 270 employers throughout the country,” said Mustafar, adding that 99 bosses and 3,646 illegals have been charged under the Immigration Act and other laws.