KUALA LUMPUR: A total of nine individuals, including five enforcement officers, were arrested on suspicion of smuggling migrants into the country in an operation in Sabah last Thursday.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), in a statement today, said the enforcement personnel, aged between 30 and 41 and included two women, were arrested between 2.30 pm and 8.40 pm in a joint operation, code-named “Op Lancar”, between the commission and the National Registration Department (JPN).
It said the other four individuals, involving three men and a woman, aged between 37 and 43, and believed to be working as agents for Indonesian workers, were arrested between 3.30 pm and 6 pm on the same day.
According to the statement, the modus operandi of the syndicate was to charge illegal immigrants or those without valid documents about RM2,500 per head for their passage to leave Sabah via Tawau Airport to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) using other persons’ identities.
The migrants will be given boarding passes based on the names stated in the MyKads there were given to them and their arrival at KLIA will be met by enforcement officers who had been paid to let them through, thus enabling the migrants to pass through the immigration checkpoint without any problems, it said.
Based on the MACC’s investigation, the syndicate, believed to have been operating since 2018, provides boarding passes to bring in between five and 20 illegal immigrants on each flight to KLIA.
During the operation, the MACC also confiscated several items such as mobile phones, Malaysian identity cards and Sabah exit stamps and arrested 12 illegal immigrants.
Meanwhile, the Immigration Department in a separate statement, today confirmed that five Sabah Immigration Department officers were arrested by the MACC last Thursday for alleged involvement in the smuggling of illegal immigrants into the country.
Its director-general Datuk Ruslin Jusoh said the department is leaving the matter to the MACC to investigate and would extend its cooperation to ensure a transparent and fair investigation.
The Immigration Department will not compromise on any of its officers who commit integrity violation violate is it tarnishes the good name and image of the department.
“We will not protect those involved. Serious action and punishment will be taken, including dismissal, against those involved,” he said.