17 November 2020
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has busted a syndicate involving Immigration Department officers which caused a serious breach in the country’s borders.
So far, MACC has arrested 27 Immigration officers for facilitating the movement of illegal immigrants and foreign workers.
The immigration officers, along with 14 foreign worker agents and five civilians, were arrested following a sting operation codenamed Op Selat by the MACC, with the help of the Immigration Department.
The suspects, aged between 21 and 46, were arrested at various locations in Putrajaya, Selangor, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak late yesterday.
All are expected to be remanded at various magistrate’s courts tomorrow.
It is learnt the syndicate has been active over the past year. MACC and Immigration officers started monitoring the syndicate’s activities after getting wind of it earlier this year.
Officers from both agencies had staked out entry and exit points, particularly at the Kuala Lumpur International Arport (KLIA), klia2 and the Sultan Ismail Building in Johor Baru to learn more about the syndicate’s modus operandi before moving in to arrest the culprits.
The syndicate had allegedly misused border entry and exit stamps to facilitate movement of illegal immigrants and foreign workers.
A source close to the investigation said the syndicate had been especially active since the Movement Control Order (MCO) was first enforced in March.
It is said to target foreign workers and illegal immigrants who were left stranded in Malaysia due to the MCO.
The high demand by employers to seek an extension for their workers coupled with the huge number of those seeking to return to their home countries provided a booming business for the syndicate.
It operated by getting foreign worker agents to collect the passports of those wanting to leave the country or extend their stays here to be stamped by the corrupt Immigration officers.
The other method employed by the syndicate was by setting counters especially at KLIA and klia2 where those on the Immigration blacklist could easily get in and out of the country by paying anywhere between RM500 and RM6,000.
“This was a very serious case of a breach of our borders. The MACC is very appreciate of the cooperation given by the Immigration Department director-general in exchanging information about this syndicate,” said a source.
MACC Investigations director Datuk Norazlan Mohd Razali confirmed the arrests and said all those detained will be investigated under Section 16 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009.
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