Malaysia to release details of 49 gangs on Thursday

PUTRAJAYA - The Home Ministry will make public details of 49 criminal organisations today.

Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Secretary-General Datuk Seri Abdul Rahim Mohamad Radzi would reveal the details, including the locations in which the criminal organisations operated.

"I have signed a gazette that declares these criminal organisations as illegal because of their involvement in racketeering." Zahid said under the gazette, no organisation or group was allowed to use the name, symbol or premises that were related to criminal organisations.

"Those found guilty face a maximum jail term of five years and a penalty of RM15,000 (S$5,749)," he said yesterday after receiving a courtesy call from Polish ambassador to Malaysia, Adam Waclaw Jelonek.

Other than to combat criminal organisations, he said, this was also an indication that the authorities took a no-nonsense approach to fighting crime.

"This shows the government's commitment to protect the public against these organisations. The public's safety is vital."

Asked if the names of members of criminal organisations, made up mainly of triads, would be revealed, Zahid said this was the police's prerogative.

"It is also the police's prerogative to announce the number of members in these organisations."

He said the authorities, with the help of the police and Registrar of Societies, would track attempts by criminal organisations to change their names and modus operandi.

"If these criminal organisations are involved in any business, our ties with the Companies Commission of Malaysia via the police will track them."

Meanwhile, he said outsourcing companies appointed by the government would bear the cost of deporting some 500,000 illegal immigrants in the crackdown taking place from Sunday.

He said the companies would work with embassies and high commissions on the crackdown.

"It is a government-to-government effort because I have discussed this with the governments of Indonesia and Bangladesh, and they have agreed to the efforts taken by our government."

The crackdown will involve 135,000 personnel from the Immigration Department, police, Armed Forces, Rela, Civil Defence Department, National Registration Department and local councils.

The raids will be conducted in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Penang and Johor.

He said illegal immigrants would be deported immediately to prevent overcrowding at 12 detention centres, each of which has a capacity of 1,000 people.