PUTRAJAYA: NEWLY-APPOINTED Immigration director-general Datuk Mustafa Ibrahim has hinted that the integrated operation to flush out illegal immigrants in Cameron Highlands will be carried out within the next two weeks.
He said the operation would see the department working with other government agencies, including the Cameron Highlands district office, police, Armed Forces and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency.
“We are still waiting (for feedback from the agencies). The integrated operation can happen any time,” he said yesterday.
Mustafa, who was formerly People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) director-general, said the department was carrying out intelligence works in the highlands.
He said he would use his experience with Rela in addressing the illegal immigrants issues.
“Rela is known to be strict in dealing with illegal immigrants. The same approach will be applied here in the Immigration Department.”
Mustafa said he had received a pledge from Rela’s top management that they would work with the department to flush out illegal immigrants in the highlands.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had announced last week that the government would wage an all-out war to end corrupt practices, the influx of illegal immigrants and illegal land clearing by farmers who had encroached on more than 6,000ha of land in Cameron Highlands.
Muhyiddin said the government had to take drastic action to protect the environment and safeguard the people, adding that any individual, including politicians, who offered protection to the illegal activities would not be spared.
The department launched Op Gempak Mesra and detained 181 foreigners working in the service sector for not having valid travel documents
Its deputy director-general, Datuk Sakib Kusmi, said following the success of the operation, the department would target errant employers and illegal foreign workers in other sectors next.
He said the department would use Section 55A and Section 55B of the Immigration Act to prosecute errant employers inspite of Section 56(1)(d) of the Act, which merely warranted a compound.
To date, there are 11,106 approved foreign workers in Cameron Highlands, of which 6,057 are Bangladeshis working in agriculture, plantation, construction and services sectors.