Alarming number of illegals


By Martin Carvalho, The Star

PETALING JAYA: The ongoing biometric registration exercise for foreign workers has revealed an alarming scenario of over a million illegals compared to legal workers.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the exercise should not be viewed lightly as the presence of too many illegals could undermine national security.

The exercise, which also includes the registration of foreigners at entry points, could help weed out undesirable elements from making Malaysia their base or transit point, he said.

“The presence of more illegal workers compared to the legal ones is a concern.

“But we will be able to effectively deal with this through the 6P programme,” he said here yesterday.

Earlier in a statement, he said comprehensive data collected via the registration exercise would make it easier for the police and Immigration Department to investigate cases related to militant activities or human trafficking.

He cited the handing over of three Babbar Khalsa International militant suspects to India last Tuesday and the arrest of 16 Chinese nationals under the Internal Security Act earlier this month as examples of the Government’s effort in combating the global menace.

He said the war against the syndicates and violent militant groups should not be viewed lightly.

“Thousands of innocent lives have been sacrificed due to human trafficking and violence. I will not allow Malaysia to be seen as a transit or a safe haven for terrorists and human trafficking syndicates,” he said.

Hishammuddin also chided certain groups, in particular the opposition, for making allegations against the Government with regards to efforts to enhance national security via the registration exercise.

“I am aware that many allegations have been made against our effort. However, they are unaware that it is being done in their best interest,” he said.

As of Friday, a total of 2,088,358 foreign workers had been registered, of whom 1,135,499 were illegals.

The registration exercise for legal foreign workers began on July 13 and will carry on indefinitely while the exercise for illegals started on Aug 1 with the two-week deadline extended until Aug 31.