BUTTERWORTH: The Immigration Department has defended a crackdown on illegal migrant workers, saying that the department would not compromise on the country’s sovereignty and national security.
Immigration director-general Mustafar Ali, in a response to the Bar Council’s call to cease such a crackdown, said that while Malaysia still needed foreign workers, the onus was on employers to abide by the law.
“Those who claim to uphold and defend the laws of the country should not blame law enforcement agencies who carry out their duties based on the provisions of the law and the rules.
“If we have an influx of migrant workers in this country, law enforcers will be labelled as weak for not taking action.
“But when law enforcement agencies take action against illegal immigrants, this agency is blamed!” he said in a text message to the media.
Mustafar said there were rules and opportunities to employ workers legally, and stated that employers needed to follow the conditions set by the home ministry.
Bar Council president George Varughese had recently said in a statement that many migrant workers were undocumented because the authorities did not provide them with the avenue to independently legalise their status.
“The process of renewing their work permits, legalising their work status and getting rehired can only be done by their employers via selected companies appointed by the government.
“Furthermore, the criteria set by the authorities are restrictive, excluding a large number of migrant workers. The lack of labour inspection by the authorities has left migrant workers unable to seek redress regarding labour rights violations and human rights abuses,” he added.
In the first three days of the nationwide operation called Ops Mega 3.0, the immigration authorities made checks on more than 1,200 migrant workers at popular shopping centres in Kuala Lumpur, and detained about 300 for questioning.