PUTRAJAYA, July 20 — Foreigners found in possession of fake identity cards will in the future no longer just find themselves being deported from Malaysia, but will also face action under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, once changes are made to the law, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said today.
Hamzah said that migrants currently face enforcement action under the Immigration Act, but said that he would exercise his powers as home minister to make changes to the Sosma schedule in order to enable use of this law against migrants who hold fake MyKad identification.
“I, as minister, wish to see the Immigration Act being put in the Sosma schedule, so that migrants who are caught buying fake identity cards will also be taken action under Sosma. So this will be enhanced, not just to Malaysians, but also migrants who cooperated with them,” he told reporters after his first working visit as home minister to the National Registration Department’s headquarters here.
“Now, they are arrested and then we send them back,” he said, but noted that the government will in the future use Sosma provisions against such foreigners with fake ICs.
When asked if the legal change would have to go through Parliament, Hamzah explained that he will merely be adding on the Immigration Act to the First Schedule under Sosma.
“The minister can amend the schedule from time to time. So I’m not amending. I just want to add. I want the Schedule in Sosma that is under my power, that is under the power of the home minister — the First Schedule,” he said.
When asked when he planned to amend the Sosma schedule, Hamzah merely said “very soon”. When pressed for a timeline, he replied: “If it can be done tomorrow, I’ll do it tomorrow.”
Malay Mail’s check of the Sosma legislation shows that Section 31 empowers the home minister to make regulations that may be necessary or expedient for giving full effect to or for carrying out provisions of the Act.
The First Schedule lists out the security offences that Sosma can currently be applied to, namely offences under the Penal Code’s Chapter VI (offences against the state), Chapter VIA (terrorism offences), Chapter VIA (organised crime); offences relating to smuggling of migrants under Part IIIA of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007; and Special Measures Against Terrorism in Foreign Countries Act 2015.
Among other things, Sosma — which includes the procedures to be taken on those being probed for security offences — enables the detention without trial for up to 28 days for investigation purposes.
Based on the Home Ministry’s statistics from January 1 to July 17, a total of 37 operations were carried out throughout the country, with 35 foreigners arrested for having the fake MyKads.
As part of the 35 foreigners, 12 of them were the latest to be arrested for being in possession of the bogus cards, namely 11 Indonesians and one Filipino, Hamzah said.
Hamzah said the authorities will be able to investigate the individuals who had issued the fake identity cards, following the arrest of foreigners who hold such bogus identification cards.
The fake identity cards, at a glance, appeared to resemble genuine MyKads, but do not have the same specifications or features as actual MyKads.
Hamzah stressed that these fake cards were not valid MyKads, saying that they masqueraded and resembled MyKad but are in fact false and invalid.
Hamzah stressed that the Home Ministry follows all legal provisions and standard operating procedures when it came to those seeking to be citizens of Malaysia.
He noted that Article 15A of the Federal Constitution is usually used for those who are seeking citizenship and have been adopted by Malaysians, adding: “That too we have to ensure they are truly adopted by a Malaysian family.”
“I also wish to inform all that are found to have worked together to issue fake identity cards, we will take action, not just ordinary action but through Sosma. They have no sense of belonging as Malaysian, to me, what they do is treason,” he said.
Hamzah stressed the importance for both Malaysians and foreigners in Malaysia to possess identity documents, pointing out the social problems that could arise if an individual in the country has no identity papers but carry out major crimes as the authorities would be penalising someone of unclear origins.
Hamzah also said he would ensure NRD officers learn state of the art technologies, such as digital ID which he said was believed to be able to reduce the problem of fake identity cards in the future.
“We are now negotiating with a few companies to make sure that whatever we have, the latest technology, state of the art. Now we look into digital ID for example, many have this system in the world, we want to ensure that the system used is not just the best but can link to what we have now,” he said, adding that the system envisioned is a dual one with both a physical IC and a digital ID.
Hamzah also said that a panel that was formed at the NRD headquarters since October 2019 to carry out a centralised evaluation of applications for late birth registrations has up to now received 6,457 applications and decided on 3,718 of these applications.
While noting that a decision on the applications did not necessarily mean an acceptance, he did not say however how many of the 3,718 applications for late birth registrations had been accepted and how many had been rejected.