PUTRAJAYA: The government will not extend the application deadline for the Enforcement Card or E-Kad for illegal foreign workers which ended at midnight yesterday, Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today.
The deputy prime minister said stern measures would now be taken on illegal immigrants and those found to be employing them.
“Immigration director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali has issued warnings several times and I don’t think there is a need for more caution even though only 23% of illegal immigrants have applied for the E-Kad,” he said.
“We are now forced to take strict action based on the Immigration Act,” he told reporters at his Hari Raya open house here.
Mustafar Ali yesterday expressed disappointment with the attitude of employers who dragged their feet in applying for the E-Kad for their workers as the registration exercise was launched way back on Feb 15.
As of 8am on Friday, a total of 155,680 illegal immigrants working for 26,957 employers had applied for the E-Kad and 140,746 cards were issued, he said. The total made up only 23% of the 600,000 cards targeted by the Immigration Department.
Zahid said Malaysia did not want to restrict foreign workers from seeking legitimate income but employers should have been more responsible in the matter. He said workers themselves should have taken responsibility if they knew they did not have proper work permits, he said.
“We have given enough time for them to apply,” he added.
The immigration department has warned that it will arrest illegal immigrants and prosecute their employers under Sections 56(1) and 55B of the Immigration Act 1959/1963, including those employing immigrants with student passes.