RM25 mil spent yearly on meals at immigration depots

Immigration director-general Mustafar Ali says under the voluntary 3+1 surrender programme, 117,448 illegal immigrants had registered and returned home between Jan 1 and July 1. (Bernama pic)

PUTRAJAYA: The government spends more than RM25 million per year on meals for illegal immigrants detained at 13 Immigration Department depots nationwide.

Immigration director-general Mustafar Ali said it was among the reasons why the department refused to continue the rehiring programme which ended on June 30.

“The amount does not include utility costs, personnel management and depot maintenance costs.

“These would impose a greater financial burden if the illegal immigrants are not immediately deported after being arrested,” he said after attending the department’s monthly assembly here today.

To date, Mustafar said 6,678 illegal immigrants were being detained at the depots, with the biggest group in Bukit Jalil (1,500 detainees) and the least in Bekenu, Sarawak (350 detainees).

He said the law division was working hard to ensure those detained were deported immediately without passing the investigation period of between two and 14 days.

Mustafar said the “Op Mega 3.0” operation, which was launched nationwide following the conclusion of the rehiring programme, resulted in the arrest of 1,285 illegal immigrants and 16 employers.

He said the rehiring programme, which started on Feb 15, 2016, saw the registration of 744,942 immigrants and 83,919 employers.

Under the voluntary surrender programme, or 3+1 programme, he said 117,448 illegal immigrants had registered and returned home from Jan 1 to July 1.