PETALING JAYA: A total of 38 people, mostly illegal immigrants, were detained following enforcement operations in Sekinchan and Shah Alam.
Those arrested - three Malaysians, 32 Indonesians and three Thai nationals - were part of a migrant smuggling syndicate.
Immigration director-general Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud said the raids were conducted in several locations early Wednesday (July 3).
"The syndicate is responsible for bringing in foreigners illegally and they also act as agents supplying foreign workers at factories and as maids.
"It is even more worrying that the foreigners are bringing their small children to leave the country illegally without taking into account their safety," he said.
Initial investigations revealed that the syndicate charged between RM900 and RM1,000 for each person they brought in or out of the country illegally, he added.
"A single trip via boat can accommodate up to 30 passengers.
"We believe the syndicate rakes in between RM27,000 and RM30,000 in profits for each illegal trip in or out of the country," Khairul Dzaimee said.
The Malaysian suspects arrested were responsible for arranging lodging and food for the illegal immigrants as well as caretakers of houses and apartment units used for transit, he added.
"Some of the foreigners also functioned as agents handling accommodations and transport for the illegal immigrants.
"The operation was successful due to the cooperation between Immigration and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA)," he said.
Those detained were brought to the Bukit Jalil Immigration detention depot for further action.
"We will step up operations against illegal immigrants and the syndicates responsible for smuggling them in and out of the country.
"We will also cooperate with other agencies against the smuggling of migrants," he said.