25 officers held for smuggling illegals, says deputy minister

The Dewan Rakyat was told that enforcement officers had been feeding information to people smugglers or directly involved in the smuggling.

KUALA LUMPUR: Twenty-five enforcement officers from various agencies have been arrested for being complicit in smuggling illegal immigrants into the country, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.

Deputy home minister Ismail Mohamed Said said the officers had either been feeding information to smugglers or were directly involved in the activity.

He said strict action would be taken against them for threatening the sovereignty of the country by allowing its borders to be breached.

“A total of 3,597 people have been arrested under Ops Benteng. They comprise 2,625 illegal immigrants, 602 smugglers and 370 others,” he said.

“Twenty-five enforcement officers – 18 police officers, five soldiers and two immigration officers – have been arrested.”

Ismail was replying to Mahdzir Khalid (BN-Padang Terap) who asked about the effectiveness of the operation and the involvement of officers in smuggling illegal immigrants.

He also said the government had to spend as much as RM90 a day on each illegal immigrant held at detention centres.

He noted that illegal routes were a major problem faced by the government in its efforts to curb illegal entry into the country, adding that 546 such routes had been identified, including 169 in Kelantan.

“But these routes change all the time. In Sabah and Sarawak, bordering with Kalimantan, it is even more difficult because oil palm areas don’t have clear borders,” he added.