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21st November 2020
The spate of arrest of immigration officers by the MACC is a cause for concern. On November 20, 4 persons, including an immigration officer, linked to a trafficking ring involving China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Bangladesh foreign workers, were arrested. Cash of more than RM800,000, twenty-six luxury cars and four high powered motorcycles had been confiscated.  

Three days earlier, there was also a report on the arrest by MACC of 27 Immigration Officers and 19 civilians for a similar offence carried out at various immigration offices throughout the country. It was reported that a fee of RM500 to as high as RM6000 was charged for each foreign worker, depending on the service required. 

In early February this year, 6 men including a Penang state Immigration Department officer was arrested for staging a robbery in Bukit Mertajam.  

 The large number of arrests is an indication of the inherent weakness in the management, operation, and control of the Immigration Department. It also reflects poorly on the leadership of the department who should know that their job demands strict compliance to departmental rules and procedures. It is unbelievable that such many recalcitrant officers had been allowed to carry out their illegal activities, over a year, unnoticed by their superiors, unless the superiors are themselves a party to the illegal activity.    

In September 2019, the country was shaken by the arrest of twenty National Registration Officers (NRD) in Penang for selling Malaysian identification documents to foreigners for a fee ranging from RM100,000 to RM600,000. It was reported that the Assistant Director of the state NRD was involved. Little is known of the outcome of the investigation, and whether court charges had been filed against the perpetrators.  

The Department of Immigration and the National Registration Department are two critical departments that must come under scrutiny by the relevant investigating and security agencies of the government.  Any illegal activity carried out by officials of the two agencies is tantamount to treason, and it is paramount that the government adopts zero tolerance to any such like activities in the future.  

Patriot urges the government to undertake a complete revamp of both the departments, and that the department heads must be told plainly that they are to accept full responsibility and accountability in the future for any failure within their department.  

BG Dato Mohamed Arshad Raji (Rtd) 
Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan