KOTA KINABALU, 27 Oct 2009: Abuse and corruption cases involving illegal immigrants in Sabah are not serious, despite the negative perception by the public towards the agencies involved, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan said.
He said Malaysia’s prosperity and political stability had prompted foreigners, especially those from neighbouring countries, to come to the country to make a living. According to him, there were an estimated 1.7 million foreigners in Sabah alone.
He said measures had been taken by the relevant authorities to curb the presence of illegal immigrants in the country. These included operations to detain and deport them to their countries of origin, and stepping up patrol at entry points and along the border.
“However, illegal immigrants continue to enter the country, and this situations create a negative perception among local residents that they (illegal immigrants) are protected by the enforcement agencies,” he said at the closing of an anti-corruption seminar here today.
The seminar was attended by about 60 participants from various enforcement agencies, including the National Registration Department and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.
Ahmad also said the efforts to curb corruption had been effective, with more people detained for offering bribes, as opposed to enforcement officers who accepted the bribes.
“This shows an awareness among government officers on the dangers of corruption, and among the public for lodging reports,” he added.
On a question pertaining to forged documents obtained by illegal immigrants, he said it did not involve participation of officers from the National Registration Department. — Bernama