MACC probe uncovers 6P scammers

By Tim Leonard & Azril Annuar, The Sun

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) probe into the 6P amnesty programme has uncovered a syndicate headed by a ‘Datuk’ which is believed to have raked in millions of ringgit from unsuspecting foreigners.

A senior MACC investigations officer disclosed that the probe found that thousands of foreigners had each paid the syndicate members between RM300 and RM2,000 purportedly to ensure they are granted amnesty and legalisation.

“To convince the foreigners, the syndicate members showed photographs of those who had purportedly received amnesty after paying the specified amount,” said the official.

It is believed that more than 10,000 foreign workers all over the country have fallen prey to the syndicate, whose members go around claiming to be officials appointed by the authorities and wear ‘government’ accreditation tags.

The MACC official revealed that the syndicate members had also collected money from foreign women involved in the flesh trade, and had offered them ‘amnesty’ for between RM300 and RM2,000.

“We have found several leads on how the 6P programme is being manipulated and abused by unscrupulous individuals misusing the government’s name,” the official said.

MACC director of investigations Datuk Mustafar Ali was unavailable for immediate comment but is expected to issue a statement later this week on the developments of the 6P amnesty probe.

The Immigration Department is currently conducting the 6P programme to register and identify all legal and illegal foreign workers in the country.

The first phase – the registration of foreign workers – is ongoing until Aug 31 and the second phase which is legalisation and amnesty, will kick off next month.

Illegal foreign workers registering with any one of the 336 appointed agencies are required to pay RM 35 for registration in the first phase, and RM 300 for legalisation in the second phase.

Last week, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein had welcomed the probe by MACC and urged the anti-graft body to take stern action on those abusing the 6P amnesty exercise.

Hishammuddin said an investigation was important to eradicate corrupt practices and cripple syndicates who are out to exploit the situation at the expense of the illegal foreign workers despite the government’s directive to charge not more than RM35 per head, for registration purposes.

Meanwhile, Home Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Mahmood Adam said today that agencies appointed to facilitate biometric registration of illegal foreign workers who have already charged them the legalisation fee of RM300 per worker, will be required to refund the money should a worker’s legalisation process fail.

He said as the legalisation process will only start in September, only the RM35 registration fee is applicable for now.

“These unscrupulous agents should not have started charging the workers the legalisation fee yet,” he told theSun.

“Legalisation has not started yet, why are they already charging these poor people? What happens if these (illegal foreign) workers fail in applying for the legalisation process? These agents must return the money to them.”

“What guarantee do these agents have that these workers can secure a job and be legalised in the first place? They might be sent back to their country of origin,” said Mahmood, who reiterated that registration and legalisation process at immigration offices are free of charge.

Asked to comment on the 600 biometric registration machines reportedly found to have been tampered with by a number of agencies last week, Mahmood said he had no update yet on the investigation as it was the weekend.