UNDER MUHYIDDIN’S PERSONAL WATCH FOR OVER 2 YEARS – AND NOW HIS LIEUTENANT HAMZAH – CORRUPTION AT IMMIGRATION EVEN WORSE THAN DURING ZAHID’S TIME AT HOME MINISTRY? PATRIOT GROUP DEMANDS TOUGH ANSWERS AS MACC NABS DEPUTY DIRECTOR – ‘IT IS UNBELIEVABLE SO MANY RECALCITRANT OFFICERS HAD BEEN ALLOWED TO CARRY ON ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES FOR SO LONG’

PETALING JAYA: An Immigration Department deputy director has been arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) as graft busters continued to nab individuals linked to an immigration syndicate.

According to a source, the deputy director, who is based at KLIA, and two other immigration officers were the latest to be arrested as part of a major MACC and Immigration Department joint operation called Ops Selat.

MACC is also seeking a remand extension for 10 other suspects.

“They have been brought to the Putrajaya Magistrates’ Court for a remand order to be obtained,” said a source.

Two civilians who allowed their bank accounts to be used for the transaction of bribes have been released on bail.

To date, 53 people have been arrested since Nov 16, including 33 immigration officers attached to KLIA, klia2 and the Sultan Ismail Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine building (BIS).

More than RM800,000 in cash, 26 luxury cars and four high-powered motorcycles were confiscated.

When contacted, MACC investigations director Norazlan Mohd Razali confirmed the arrests but declined to comment further.

It was previously reported that the syndicate catered to employers of foreign workers who wanted them to remain here or return to their home country.

The syndicate had two modus operandi, the first being a “flying passport” for those who came to Malaysia using social visas but were working here illegally.

The agents of the workers would collect their passports and pay the immigration officers to stamp their passports to indicate that they had left the country after three months and re-entered legally.

Its other modus operandi was “setting counters” for migrants who have been blacklisted for immigration offences.

The migrants would go to these particular counters at airports and pay up to RM6,000 to be allowed to leave the country even though they had been blacklisted from travelling.

How did immigration officers’ illegal acts go unnoticed for so long, says Patriot

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Patriot president Arshad Raji  has called for a revamp of the Immigration Department and National Registration Department as the arrests showed inherent weaknesses.

PETALING JAYA: The National Patriots Association (Patriot) has expressed disbelief that the illegal activities perpetrated by so many immigration officers, who were arrested recently, had gone unnoticed by their higher-ups.

Calling the arrests a cause for concern, Patriot president Mohamed Arshad Raji said it also showed all was not well within the Immigration Department.

“The large number of arrests is an indication of the inherent weakness in the management, operation and control of the Immigration Department.

“It is unbelievable that so many recalcitrant officers had been allowed to carry out their illegal activities for so long unnoticed by their superiors, unless the superiors are themselves a party to the illegal activity,” Arshad said in a statement today.

He added that the arrests also reflected poorly on the leadership of the department as they should know that their job demanded strict compliance with departmental rules and procedures.

Arshad was referring to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) recent arrest of 50 people, including 28 immigration officers, who were part of a syndicate.

The syndicate, which had been active for the past year, catered to employers of foreign workers who wanted their workers to either remain here or return home.

They were believed to have operated out of the country’s main gateways, including KLIA, klia2 and the Sultan Ismail Customs, Immigration and Quarantine building.

They had been detained as part of a joint MACC and immigration sting operation called “Ops Selat”. More than RM800,000 in cash, 26 luxury cars and four high-powered motorcycles were confiscated.

Arshad called for the Immigration Department and the National Registration Department (JPN) to come under greater scrutiny by the relevant investigating and security agencies of the government, citing a case involving JPN  reported last year.

“In September 2019, the country was shaken by the arrest of 20 JPN officers in Penang for selling Malaysian identification documents to foreigners for fees ranging from RM100,000 to RM600,000.

“It was reported that the assistant director of the state JPN was involved.

“Little is known of the outcome of the investigation and whether court charges had been filed against the perpetrators,” he said.

Arshad said the government must regard such illegal activities carried out by officials of the two agencies as being tantamount to treason.

“It is paramount that the government adopts zero tolerance for any such activities in the future.

“That is why Patriot urges the government to undertake a complete revamp of both the departments. The department heads must be told plainly that they are to accept full responsibility and accountability in future for any such failure within their departments,” he said.

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