1,600 illegals detained in Malaysia-wide swoop

1,600 illegals detained in Malaysia-wide swoop
A group of foreign workers, detained in a construction site in Puchong, Selangor, waiting to have their documents verified by the authorities during a raid.

MALAYSIA - The crackdown on illegal foreigners kicked off yesterday as authorities in joint operations nationwide detained 1,598 people.

About 135,000 personnel from Immigration Department as the lead agency, police, armed forces, Rela, Civil Defence, Anti-Smuggling Unit, National Registration Department and local councils swooped down on squatter areas, kongsi areas, worker's quarters located at construction areas and other areas in predawn operations nationwide.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the police and the Immigration Department would first look into those who had registered under the Illegal Immigrant Comprehensive Settlement Programme, or 6P, but did not turn up for processing, including legalisation and voluntary deportation.

"The 6P programme period is over and it is time for us to act against them," he said at the Malaysian Armed Forces and Royal Malaysia Police Aidilfitri open house, yesterday.

During the 6P registration programme which took place between August and September 2011, about 1.3 million of the estimated two million undocumented foreigners were registered. Of those registered, 500,000 applications for legalisation were processed while 330,000 were repatriated.

Armed Forces chief General Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zain said they would assist the authorities in their crackdown against illegals if requested. He also said that in line with keeping the nation safe, they would also be conducting a census around Sandakan.

In Putrajaya, 71 illegal foreigners were detained in squatter areas. Authorities also seized a samurai sword and several hammers.

Immigration Department deputy director (enforcement) Saravana Kumar who led the raid said 60 men and 11 women from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar were nabbed in Dengkil, Bukit Raja and Klang.

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