KL blitz on 500,000 illegals
MALAYSIA will launch what local media yesterday called its "biggest ever" crackdown on an estimated half a million illegal foreign workers, as a crime wave focused the nation's attention on security.
Under the three-month operation to begin on Sunday, the authorities would seek to deport some 500,000 foreigners, mostly from Indonesia, Immigration Department director-general Alias Ahmad said.
The operation would involve 135,000 personnel led by the department. The authorities will conduct raids mainly in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Penang and Johor, which have been identified as the dens for illegals.
Once arrested, they will be deported immediately as the Immigration Department does not want its 12 detention centres around the country, each with a capacity of 1,000 people, to be overcrowded.
While foreigners are not generally seen as a key source of crime, the presence of large numbers of undocumented workers has fuelled security worries.
Mr Alias said the authorities decided it was time to go after the estimated half a million people who initially registered under an amnesty scheme for illegal workers two years ago but subsequently failed to come forward to be legalised or deported.
"It is now time for full enforcement," Mr Alias said on Tuesday. "They can hide, but how long can they hide?"
The amnesty scheme was aimed at registering illegals, and 1.3 million came forward. Of those, 500,000 have received documents permitting them to work, while 330,000 were repatriated.
The rest have not completed the process, with some workers expressing the fear that it would lead to deportation.
AFP, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK