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KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 — More than 300 locals skippers and masterminds have been identified as being involved in smuggling illegal immigrants into the country.
The National Task Force (NTF) said in a statement that those involved were being hunted down by authorities and would be prosecuted under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act (ATIPSOM) 2007.
“Local people especially those involved in the maritime industry such as fishermen, boat owners and operators and anglers will be subjected to harsh actions by the authorities if they are found guilty of being a skipper and a mastermind in managing the smuggling of illegal immigrants into the country.
“The group will also face the cancellation of fishing licenses and licenses to operate passenger or recreational boats,” NTF said in a statement.
In the statement, the NTF also said that enforcement action was not only confined to the waters of the Peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak, but also at the country’s land borders.
‘‘NTF, through Op Benteng will assault them all out to ensure that there is no unauthorised landing of migrants since the movement control order was enforced to avoid the risk of Covid-19 outbreaks and no law is violated by any party.
Op Benteng, which was activated last month under the NTF, is a collaboration between the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM), the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM), the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), Ministry of Health (MOH), Malaysian Civil Defence Force (APM), the Immigration Department (JIM) and the Malaysian Volunteer Corps Department (Rela). — Bernama