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.
He said the first phase of the operation nationwide will be conducted until the end of this year.
In Kampar, 12 illegal foreigners were nabbed at a construction site at Bandar Baru Kampar.
Perak Immigration Department senior assistant director Wan Mahmud Zuhdi Wan Hassan said 114 people -- 95 men and 19 women -- at a kongsi were checked.
"Of the number, 94 had proper documents, three were Indonesian Permanent Resident holders and five were Malaysians."
In Johor Baru, 101 illegals were nabbed near Ulu Tiram, comprising 40 men, 38 women and 23 children, aged between 2 and 58.
Johor Immigration Department deputy enforcement chief Masri Adul said those detained were Cambodian nationals (72), Vietnamese (22), Myanmar nationals (four) and three Indonesians.
In Sungai Petani, 130 illegal foreigners aged between 14 and 60 were nabbed at two construction sites. They comprised 53 men and five women from Myanmar, 40 men and five women from Indonesia, 16 men from Bangladesh, six men from Nepal, four men from Pakistan and one from India.
State Immigration enforcement division chief Nar Azaman Ibrahim said 192 people were screened in the operation.
In Kangar, the state Immigration Department checked 30 foreign workers and detained two Myanmar nationals for not having valid documents.
Its enforcement chief Othman Hamzah said the two were detained from a housing construction site at Taman Gunung Medan in Utan Aji, Kangar.
In Kota Baru, 27 illegals, including three women, were detained in Gua Musang and Kuala Krai.
State Immigration director Mahasan Mustapha said 45 foreigners were screened in operations carried out in Kampung Paloh (Gua Musang) and Kampung Chucuh Puteri (Kuala Krai).
In Kuching, 115 illegals were rounded up in Serian and Miri.
State Immigration director Datuk Robert Lian said enforcement officers checked factories, oil palm plantations, restaurants and the service industry in the areas.
"The situation is serious because of the employment opportunities and because we are close to the Kalimantan border."
In Kuala Terengganu, 37 foreigners were detained at three construction sites, which saw 219 people being screened.
Terengganu Immigration director Azhar Abd Hamid said those checked were 25 locals, 105 Indonesian, 75 Bangladeshis, 13 Vietnamese and one from Myanmar. They were sent to the detention centre in Ajil.
In Shah Alam, 70 illegals were nabbed in Pasar Borong Selangor and in Saujana Putra.
Selangor Immigration director Amran Ahmad said they screened 105 people and detained 70, aged between 2 and 58, from Indonesia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Vietnam, India, Thailand and Sri Lanka.
In Malacca, 414 illegal immigrants were detained.
State Immigration director, Kamalludin Ismail said 11 Chinese nationals were held at an entertainment outlet in Melaka Raya
He said another 403 foreigners, aged between one month and 55 years, were nabbed in Bachang, comprising 203 Indonesians, 100 from Myanmar, 63 from Nepal, 21 from Bangladesh, 10 from India and six Vietnamese.
Kamaluddin said a local man in his forties was arrested for harbouring the illegals.
In Seremban, 621 illegals, aged between 6 and 54, were detained in Nilai 3, Jelebu and Kuala Pilah. Those arrested were from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Vietnam, Indonesia and Myanmar.
The arrest of two Iranians also lead to the seizure of 3kg of syabu at a luxury condominium in Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur.
Negri Sembilan immigration director Faizal Fazri Othman said they got a lead when the name of one of the Iranians cropped up on the wanted list for a drug-related offence.
Those nabbed will, among others, be investigated for not possessing valid travel documents and for overstaying.
Foreign workers with illegal documents will be deported while their employers could face a fine of up to RM50,000 (S$19,300) or five years' jail or six strokes of the rotan, or all three, depending on the offence.