SYDNEY: Malaysia and Australia will be more committed to addressing cross-border crimes, including issues pertaining to illegal immigrants, through border patrol training, exchange of intelligence information and closer cooperation.
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said during his three-day working visit to Australia, he had met the relevant Australian leaders to explain that Malaysia is not a transit country for illegal immigrants.
“Malaysia is also facing problems with illegal immigrants, and now there are 56,000 illegal immigrants from Myanmar (Rohingya) in the country,” he told reporters before returning to Malaysia today.
Zahid, who is also home minister, said Australia was also interested in Malaysia’s deradicalisation programme for foreigners.
He said Malaysia would send officers from the relevant agencies to learn the Australian module on border patrol, especially in curbing cross-border crimes like drugs and weapon smuggling, as well as human trafficking.
“All this while, there is a perception by Australia that Malaysia is a transit country (for immigrants to enter Australia), and this visit is seen positive in rectifying the perception,” he said.
Zahid said he had clarified that Malaysia and its neighbouring countries, like Indonesia and Thailand, were committed to addressing issues on illegal immigrants and cross-border crimes.
Malaysia, he said, would also further improve the standard operating procedures of agencies involved in border patrol as part of efforts to address cross-border crime.
He said integration among the four Malaysian border agencies – the marine police, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), the Royal Malaysian Navy and the Malaysian Border Patrol Agency (AKSEM) – would also be enhanced.