Boost for Immigration services

PUTRAJAYA: Manual stamping of passports will be replaced with digital printing once a new integrated system kicks off in 2023.

The new system and installation of CCTV cameras at counters are among measures to boost the efficiency of Immigration services and to deter its officers from committing wrongdoing.

Immigration Department director-general Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud (pic) said the National Integrated Immigration System would end old practices, including manual stamping, while document holders would be given an ID recognised by the system.

Stamping would be replaced by digital printing of social visit passes on passports, he explained.

“When a foreign traveller comes to Malaysia after his first visit, he can go through the autogate instead of queuing to check his passport, ” he said.

The project, estimated to cost RM1.2bil, is expected to be fully operational in 2023.

Khairul said CCTVs would be installed at immigration counters at entry points including in KLIA, KLIA2, Johor Baru and Kota Kinabalu so that “activities at these counters can be closely monitored”.

This exercise, expected to kick off next year, is estimated to cost about RM20mil

On the recent arrests of immigration officers over their involvement in a syndicate providing “stamping facilities”, Khairul said he was disappointed with them and that the law must take its course to deal with such cases.

“When I took office last year, I told my officers there will be no compromise if their actions cause the department’s integrity to be questioned.

“I will do what I can to look after their welfare but there will be zero tolerance against wrongdoings, ” he said.

Last month, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission crippled activities of a syndicate providing “stamping facilities” to foreigners and illegal immigrants and nabbed scores of syndicate members, including 39 immigration officers, in a nationwide sting operation codenamed Ops Selat.

The syndicate is believed to have raked RM14.5mil in the past three years and is said to have provided “services” to at least 30,000 foreign workers and illegal immigrants.

Khairul said when the new immigration system was up and running, passports no longer need to be stamped and would instead be scanned into the system.

“No one can claim to offer stamping services. If passports are stamped, we will know something is not right.

“There will also be more spot checks on those at counters to ensure the no handphone policy is strictly followed. This is to stop them making deals with foreigners and illegal immigrants, ” he said.

Regulation dictates that officers on counter duties are not allowed to bring handphones.

For next year, Khairul said the immigration’s agenda would include ensuring the smooth implementation of the recalibration plan and setting a target of 250,000 illegal immigrants participating in a recalibration programme.

“We will also be focusing on improving our services through the use of technology and to make it compulsory for our services to be paid via electronic or e-payment, ” he said.

Under the Labour Recalibration Plan, employers from four sectors will be allowed to legally employ undocumented foreign workers while the Repatriation Recalibration Plan is aimed to encourage undocumented immigrants volunteering to return to their homelands.

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