10 IMMIGRATION OFFICERS HELD ON SUSPICION OF TAKING BRIBES
They allegedly accepted payments to not act against workers without valid papers
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.