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By Nigel Edgar
KUCHING, Nov 29: The Immigration Department today reminded errant employers that they would be severely punished according to the law if caught.
Immigration Department director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said despite being reprimanded or warned by the department, some employers still turned a deaf ear and committed immigration-related offences just to save a few bucks.
He said employers who committed offences under Section 55 of the Immigration Act 1959/63 for harbouring illegal immigrants or employing them without proper permits could be fined up to RM50,000 or jailed not more than five years and subject to whipping of not more than six strokes upon conviction.
In addition, those charged in court might have their accounts and assets forfeited or frozen, too.
“There are five big sectors where employers have committed offences under the Immigration Act — construction, services, manufacturing, plantation and agriculture. Some employers will try to cheat the system by hiring foreign workers with plantation or agriculture levy only to work in the service industry.
“The levy rates for plantation and agriculture is cheaper than manufacturing and services. In Sarawak for example, the rates for plantation and agriculture is RM590 and RM410 per worker respectively. But for manufacturing and construction, it is RM1,010 and services basically RM1,490.
“That is why some employers took their employees from plantation and agriculture work but the employees start working in other sectors. This is wrong. We always reprimand them,” said Mustafar at a press conference here this morning.
He revealed that since January 1, 2018, the Immigration Department had apprehended close to 1,300 employers for harbouring illegal immigrants or hiring foreign workers without proper permits. Out of that, more than 44,000 illegal immigrants were apprehended from some 14,000 operations nationwide.
In Sarawak, since January 1, 2018, till today, 1,699 illegal immigrants and 32 employers were apprehended through 1,207 operations statewide.
“They (employers) can get foreign workers, but they need to go through the proper process like paying levy. Like I’ve mentioned repeatedly, sovereignty and security without compromise. We will never compromise,” said Mustafar.
On another note, he revealed that the Immigration Department was the first enforcement agency in Malaysia to be certified under the ISO37001 international standards. It was awarded to the department at the end of last year.
He said the certification was a recognition of the department’s Anti-Bribery Management System (ABMS), which encompasses its officers’ integrity, system and workflow as well as its standard operating procedure (SOP). — DayakDaily