Malaysian Ministry gazettes 10 facilities to hold illegal immigrants and crime gang members

MALAYSIA - The Home Ministry has gazetted another 10 facilities around the country as detention centres to hold those nabbed in the two major operations against illegal immigrants and crime gang members.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that with the total of 22 centres, there would not be any issue about shortage of places to hold the detainees.

He said that when the authorities decided on the operations, the capacity of the existing detention centres had been taken into consideration.

"We will be catching more and more people and this (space for detainees) is an administrative issue.

"I can gazette more (facilities as detention centres), so, don't worry, we have enough space," he said at a press conference after attending a briefing on the religious and counselling module for Prison Department staff and police here yesterday.

Presently, there are 12 detention centres around the country and each is capable of holding up to 1,000 people.

Immigration director-general Datuk Alias Ahmad said last week the department had made a request to the Government to set up a temporary detention centre for 4,000 people in Selangor following the increase in the number of illegal immigrants detained.

The two major operations being carried out are Ops Cantas Khas which targets criminal gangs and Ops 6P Bersepadu to flush out unwanted foreigners in the country.

More than 5,500 people have been arrested in Ops Cantas Khas while under the 6P operations some 5,000 illegals have been rounded up.

Ahmad Zahid also said the ministry was investigating claims that its officials were collaborating with outsourced companies in issuing forged documents to immigrants.

He said when documents were taken out illegally from the Home Ministry and Immigration Department, whether by insiders or company operators, legal action would be taken.

"An injustice has happened to the immigrants and I know they have had to fork out a lot of money to work in Malaysia.

"To be fair, if there is evidence that they (immigrants) paid money to the errant companies or the companies had collaborated with ministry officers, tough action will be taken (against the companies and the officers)," he said.

It was reported that scammers had issued documents with Home Ministry letterheads and signatures as well as the Immigration Department's illegal foreign worker registration slips.