PUTRAJAYA: Over 840,000 illegal immigrants have been expatriated and RM400mil in compounds collected as of Aug 1 this year since the Immigration Department started its 3+1 amnesty programme in 2014, says Immigration director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali.
With the amnesty programme ending on Aug 30, he said Immigration counters nationwide would remain open on weekends to facilitate the last-minute surge in the number of illegal immigrants expected to surrender themselves.
Mustafar said this was the last chance for them.
The amnesty programme allows illegal immigrants who turn themselves in and return to their home countries.
They would only be required to pay a RM300 fine and RM100 for a special pass to enable them to return home.
"They bear the transportation cost to go back. If they cannot afford it, then their respective embassies or family members must cover it," he said.
Those who failed to do so would have to face the consequences because from Aug 31, large-scale operations would be conducted, Mustafar warned.
"There will be no extensions to the deadline.
"Coincidentally, Aug 31 is Merdeka Day, so we will also use the day to step up efforts to 'merdekakan' (liberate) our country from illegal immigrants," he told a press conference at Immigration Department headquarters, Putrajaya on Saturday.
However, the department is not waiting until Aug 31 to begin its crackdown as its Ops Mega 3.0, which started July 1, has already seen 5,444 illegal immigrants arrested so far.
"We have conducted 1,785 operations and checked 20,850 people and also detained 135 employers.
"This is included into the 8,694 operations conducted so far this year, with 108,000 people checked, leading to 26,200 illegal immigrants and 700 employers detained," he said.
Mustafar said the Immigration Department would not compromise on matters involving the country's security and sovereignty.
He added ample time and opportunity had been given to illegal foreigners to legalise their stay in Malaysia through the 3+1 amnesty programme, as well as the rehiring programme that concluded on June 30.
Addressing criticism over the department's current enforcement efforts, Mustafar said his officers and personnel were only carrying out their duty.
"What many don't understand is that a large number of these illegal immigrants are involved in illegal activities like prostitution.
"Just yesterday (Aug 3) night, we raided three night clubs and arrested 238 people involved in vice activities, and 232 of them were illegal immigrants," he added.