PUTRAJAYA: Acknowledging that getting department heads to cooperate to act against corruption and power abuse is tough, and graft busters are giving the thumbs-up to the Immigration director-general for his role in crippling a syndicate that offered stamping facilities to foreign workers and illegal immigrants.Datuk Seri Azam Baki, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief commissioner, said Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud gave his full cooperation in investigating the case.
“It’s not easy to get department heads to work with us against corruption and power abuse like in this case.
“But Datuk Khairul Dzaimee has ensured that the department gave MACC all the help needed to investigate and carry out surveillance, even though it involved his own men.
“I would like to express my appreciation for his assistance, which led us to uncover the activities of the syndicate, ” said Azam.
He added that MACC welcomed cooperation in the form of intelligence from other agencies in the fight against corruption and power abuse, adding that Bank Negara and the Inland Revenue Board were among its strategic partners.
“As for our working relations with the Immigration Department, this is not the first. We will uncover other cases of syndicated crimes, ” he said.
The syndicate, which had infiltrated the Immigration Department, took advantage of the Covid-19 lockdown to provide illicit services to foreign workers and illegal immigrants.
In a nationwide blitz codenamed “Ops Selat”, 46 people were arrested – 27 Immigration officers, 14 foreign worker agents and five civillians who acted as middlemen in the syndicate’s activities.
On Monday, the MACC obtained remand orders for 44 individuals – including 25 immigration officers – from courts in Putrajaya, Johor Baru, Shah Alam, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching.
Khairul responded to the arrests by saying that the department will not compromise with staff who abuse their power for personal gains and those involved must be prepared to face legal action, imprisonment or job termination, if they are found guilty.
Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) has commended the MACC for busting the syndicate, but noted that such systemic corruption among public officials in government sectors is worrying.
It also does not augur well for Malaysia in the Corruption Perception Index score.
“TI-Malaysia hopes that the Immigration Department and the MACC will continue their efforts in cleaning up the department as well as the rest of the civil service.
“We also strongly encourage the government to consider signing the United Nations Transnational Organised Crime Smuggling of Migrants Protocol, which will help us coordinate, legislate and fight transnational smuggling of migrants, ” said TI-M.
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