PUTRAJAYA: The illegal immigrants detained in the case related to the discovery of temporary transit camps and mass graves in Wang Kelian, Perlis, acted and behaved as if they had been coached and programmed by certain quarters.
This was revealed by former Perlis Immigration Department director Mohd Amir Othman, the 30th witness in the public hearing of the Royal Commission Inquiry (RCI) which is into its 10th day yesterdayMohd Amir said on questioning 38 illegal immigrants who were handed over to the Immigration Department by the General Operations Force after they were detained in an operation at Bukit Burma on Jan 19, 2015, the replies given were the same as if they had been taught to say so.
“Previously, there were cases of illegal immigrants who chose to be arrested and brought to the detention depot as being in the depot was better than living in their own country,” he told the RCI six-man panel led by former Chief Justice Tun Zakaria Arifin.
Mohd Amir said their main objective was to possess the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) card which allowed them to move freely. If they had a job they could not be arrested and they could only be charged if they commit a criminal offence.
He also agreed with Zakaria’s suggestion that the UNHCR card was one of the reasons that attracted the immigrants to enter the country.The 30th witness who was among six individuals who testified today also said that 5,630 Myanmar immigrants were arrested by the department from 2012 to 2016.
Earlier the 29th witness, former Perlis Customs director Datuk Mohd Pudzi Man, said he had difficulties in gathering information on the smuggling of migrants compared to cases relating to entry of immigrants. The public hearing continues today. — Bernama