They al­legedly ac­cepted pay­ments to not act against work­ers with­out valid pa­pers

New Straits Times - - Front Page - ADIB POVERA KUCH­ING adibpovera@nst.com.my

GRAFT busters nabbed 10 Im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cers in its crack­down on syn­di­cates in­volved in pro­tect­ing il­le­gal im­mi­grants in Sarawak.

They were picked up in a three­hour op­er­a­tion launched by the Malaysian Anti-Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion (MACC) that has so far ar­rested 15 peo­ple, in­clud­ing two po­lice­men last week.

A source with MACC said the lat­est ar­rests were made at the state Im­mi­gra­tion De­part­ment head­quar­ters in Sim­pang Tiga, the de­part­ment’s of­fice in Pend­ing, the Kuch­ing In­ter­na­tional Air­port and the de­part­ment’s de­ten­tion de­pot in Se­muja, Se­rian.

MACC also seized RM10,000 from one of the of­fi­cers.

The source said the of­fi­cers, aged be­tween 33 and 53, in­cluded six women.

All of them were be­lieved to have ac­cepted pay­ments from syn­di­cates be­tween RM2,000 and RM5,000 monthly as in­duce­ment from tak­ing any ac­tion against for­eign work­ers, who had stayed and worked in Sarawak with­out valid doc­u­ments.

“We have ev­i­dence to show that these en­force­ment of­fi­cers had so­licited and ac­cepted bribes from busi­ness op­er­a­tors who had com­mit­ted of­fences un­der the Im­mi­gra­tion Act 1959/1963 for hir­ing for­eign work­ers with­out valid work­ing per­mits,” the source added.

“The ar­rests came af­ter months of sur­veil­lance over their sus­pected in­volve­ment in this cor­rupt prac­tice,” the source said, adding the sus­pects would be pro­duced at the Kuch­ing Spe­cial Court for Cor­rup­tion in Pe­tra Jaya near here to­day to be re­manded

MACC deputy com­mis­sioner Datuk Azam Baki con­firmed the ar­rests and said in­ves­ti­ga­tion was be­ing con­ducted over the of­fi­cers’ in­volve­ment in cor­rup­tion con­nected to the pres­ence of il­le­gal im­mi­grant work­ers here.

MACC had pre­vi­ously iden­ti­fied five syn­di­cates in­volved in the re­cruit­ment of il­le­gal im­mi­grants in the state.

The for­eign­ers were brought in us­ing so­cial visit passes and em­ployed in restau­rants and fac­to­ries.

Their em­ploy­ment vi­o­lated the con­di­tions of their passes.

Last week, MACC crippled two of the syn­di­cates following the ar­rests of two po­lice­men, six busi­ness op­er­a­tors and seven il­le­gal im­mi­grants dur­ing raids held si­mul­ta­ne­ously in Sibu, Miri and Kuch­ing.

Con­cerns over the in­flux of il­le­gal im­mi­grants into Sarawak were high­lighted by the late Tan Sri Ade­nan Satem when he was in of­fice as the state’s fifth chief min­is­ter.

Ade­nan was known for his nonon­sense ap­proach in deal­ing with is­sues such as the large pres­ence of il­le­gal im­mi­grants and il­le­gal log­ging.

He had sought help from MACC to plug loop­holes in the sys­tem that com­pounded the prob­lem.

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