KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has crippled a syndicate misusing entry and exit stamps at the country’s main borders following the arrest of 46 individuals including 27 Immigration officers in a large-scale operation yesterday.
The special sting operation known as ‘Op Selat’ was carried out in collaboration with the Immigration Department through intelligence gathering and monitoring and the country’s entry and exit points, especially at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), KLIA2 and the Sultan Ismail Building in Johor Bahru.
According to an MACC source, all of the suspects were detained around Putrajaya, Selangor, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak, with 13 individuals including nine Immigration officers remanded in Johor, while another 23 were remanded in Putrajaya today.
“The members of the syndicate detained include 27 Immigration officers, 14 foreign worker agents and five civilians acting as middlemen aged between 21 and 46.
“The syndicate has been carrying out their activities for the past year, and has been under the MACC’s radar since the commencement of the Movement Control Order on March 18,“ the source told Bernama.
According to the source, the syndicate became more active during the enforcement of the MCO and focused on foreign illegal workers stranded in the country due to the order.
“There are many requests from employers to extend the permit in the country as well as requests for foreign workers or migrants to return to their country of origin.
“The syndicate uses two methods as its modus operandi, the first being the ‘flying passport’, where agents will collect the passports of foreign workers or migrants with expired social visit passes to get exit and entry stamps on them to enable their visas to be extended,“ the source said.
In this case, only the passports were sent to the Immigration office without the presence of the individuals.
The second modus operandi is via the ‘setting counter’, particularly those set up at KLIA and KLIA2, where immigrants who are blacklisted and have expired travel visas are charged between RM500 to RM6,000 per person to freely enter or return to their respective countries.
“This is a serious breach of our country’s entry points and the MACC greatly appreciates the cooperation provided by the director-general of the Immigration Department in terms of exchanging information regarding this syndicate,“ he said.
Meanwhile, MACC Investigation director Datuk Norazlan Mohd Razali said the case was being investigated under Section 16 of the MACC Act 2009.
In a similar development, Immigration Department director-general Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud said full cooperation would be given to the MACC to complete the investigation which is being conducted in a professional manner.
He said the detention of the Immigration officers suspected of being involved in the syndicate was made possible with the cooperation of both parties.
“The Immigration Department will not compromise with any officers and staff who abuse the powers provided under the Immigration Act and Regulations for personal interest or gain,“ he said in a statement. — Bernama