THE massive Immigration Department operation to nab illegals after the deadline for the Enforcement Card (E-Card) applications may cause operational stoppages in some industries, resulting in a shortfall in production that would ultimately push up prices, said Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan.
According to a report in Nanyang Siang Pau today, he said under such circumstances, there could be delays in construction projects, shortage of manpower to harvest fruits in oil palm plantations and a reduction in farm workers that would lead to a drop in output and costlier vegetables and fruits.
The Immigration Department launched a nation-wide operation to flush out illegal immigrants on Saturday, upon the expiry of the deadline for them to register for the E-Card.
Many employers with illegal workers had temporarily suspended their operations in fear of raids.
Industry players said the operation may cause work in the construction industry to stall and also result in a drop in production in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors, with the possibility that some products may see a hike in prices.
The E-Card registration, which was launched in February to allow employers in five sectors to register their illegal workers, expired on June 30.
The Immigration Department swung into action after midnight on Friday, netting more than 1,000 illegal workers within hours and picked up 16 employers for harbouring the workers.
According to the report, errant employers have resorted to various means to evade enforcement action, including halting their operations and instructing their illegal workers to stay away from their dormitories or quarters.
However, he said the crackdown was justified as the employers should not have hired illegals in the first place.
He urged the Immigration Department to simplify the process of bringing in foreign workers to ensure that all sectors are not affected by any labour shortage.