Over 58,000 illegals nabbed in raids during last two years, says Saifuddin

Photo: Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: Some 58,508 undocumented migrant workers and 871 employers have been arrested in enforcement operations by the Immigration Department between Jan 1, 2022, to Feb 27 this year, the Dewan Rakyat was told.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (pic) said 20,880 enforcement operations were carried out during this period.

“We don’t just arrest the workers, but employers too for breaching the Immigration Act,” he said during Minister's Question Time on Thursday (Feb 29).

He added that states with the highest number of undocumented migrant workers are Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak.

Saifuddin Nasution was responding to a question by V. Ganabatirau (PH-Klang) who raised the matter of undocumented migrant workers in Klang, and whether more frequent and holistic operations should be carried out.

The minister added that 36 raids have been carried out in Klang this year.

Some 2,054 undocumented migrant workers and eight employers had also been arrested during this period.

“Operations in Klang are carried out frequently. That is our commitment to tackle the matter,” he said.

Saifuddin Nasution said eight locations were identified as hotspots for undocumented migrant workers in Klang.

In a supplementary question, Ganabatirau alleged there were instances where raids for undocumented migrant workers were conducted in the morning, with the situation returning to “normal” by evening.

He also questioned whether there were integrity issues, resulting in such situations.

“If so, action should be taken against the enforcement agencies as well,” he said.

To this, Saifuddin Nasution said the standard procedure after raids was to check whether the individual possessed valid documents, overstayed or misused their work passes.

There are also instances where the individual has valid documents, he said.

Based on the ministry’s records, Saifuddin said only 20 migrant workers out of every 100 arrested, did not possess valid documents or breached Immigration legislations.

“They are then brought to immigration depots and investigation papers are opened and handed over to the deputy public prosecutor which ends in prosecution,” he said.

He also pointed out how integrity was the highest priority when it came to tackling the issue of undocumented migrant workers.

Saifuddin Nasution said the issue also required a holistic approach from the federal, state and local governments.

In the context of migrant workers manning stalls at wholesale markets, he said it fell under local government's jurisdiction.

“If the licence for the stall was given to a local, but a migrant worker is manning the stall, enforcement measures are under the purview of the local government,” he said.

This was in response to a supplementary question by Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng (BN-Tanjung Piai) who questioned whether migrant workers were allowed to man stalls at wholesale markets.

Wee said he received complaints on the matter from Kuala Lumpur wholesale market traders, adding that even after action by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall, the situation returned to normal shortly after.

“Strict action should be taken by the ministry if such a situation continues. This negatively impacts opportunities for Malaysians,” Wee stressed.

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