Some detained foreign workers may be legalised

PUTRAJAYA - Illegal immigrants detained under Ops 6P Bersepadu would be given a chance to be legalised, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said.

Some 5,000 illegal immigrants have been detained since the start of the crackdown on Sunday but not all of them will face deportation, the Home Minister added.

"We will provide the facility to employers to register these workers to be re-legalised under the 6P programme because in certain sectors, we reckon foreign workers are needed.

"We have listened to the appeal from employers.

"Some of them (workers) were cheated by outsourcing companies.

"They did not get the (legal work) documents even though they had paid between RM3,000 (S$1,154) and RM8,000 (S$3,000).

"I think they should not be penalised but we need to take action against the outsourcing companies," he told a press conference at a seminar for his ministry staff here yesterday.

On the planned use of the electronic monitoring device (EMD) to track offenders under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 who were out on bail, Dr Ahmad Zahid said jail sentences would be proposed for those who attempt to remove the EMD.

Meanwhile, the Human Resources Ministry, welcoming the nationwide crackdown on illegal foreign workers, reminded Malaysian businesses to only employ those who are legally-registered.

"Employers who adhere to proper channels in employing foreign workers will not face labour shortages.

"Therefore, the ministry is of the view that this operation should be continued to ensure only legal foreign workers stay in the country to work," a ministry spokesman said.

The ministry added the Ops 6P Bersepadu crackdown was part of the Government's enforcement to curb Malaysia's illegal migrant population.

The spokesman said the crackdown had several benefits, including protecting the legal rights of foreign workers, preventing social problems and curbing the spread of infectious diseases.

It also helps to stop illegal involvement in employment as well as people trafficking.