KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 ― A complete overhaul of the Immigration Department and the National Registration Department (NRD) is needed if Malaysia is serious about zero corruption, the National Patriot Association (Patriot) said today.
The group comprising former servicemen was responding to this week’s arrest of several immigration officers on suspicion of involvement of trafficking of migrant workers into the country that enabled some to own luxury vehicles like Rolls Royce considered beyond their means.
“Patriot urges the government to undertake a complete revamp of both the departments, and that the department heads must be told plainly that they are to accept full responsibility and accountability in the future for any failure within their department,” the association president Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji said in a statement.
The retired brigadier-general said the large number of arrests shows weakness in the management, operation and control of the departments.
“It also reflects poorly on the leadership of the department who should know that their job demands strict compliance to departmental rules and procedures.
“It is unbelievable that such recalcitrant officers had been allowed to carry out their illegal activities, over a year, unnoticed by their superiors, unless the superiors are themselves a party to the illegal activity,” he said.
Arshad also recalled the arrest of 20 NRD officers in Penang suspected of selling Malaysian identification documents to foreigners for a fee ranging from RM100,000 to RM600,000.
He said both the Immigration and NRD are critical government agencies and close scrutiny by a watchdog is required.
“Any illegal activity carried out by officials of the two agencies is tantamount to treason, and it is paramount that the government adopts zero tolerance to any such activities in the future,” he said.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) carried out a sting on November 17 and November 20, arresting three Immigration officers and three agents on suspicion of colluding with a people-smuggling syndicate.
Aside from the arrests, investigators also confiscated a Rolls-Royce limousine, a Ford Mustang, a Range Rover and an Audi.
As of today, MACC investigators have confiscated RM800,000 in cash, 26 luxury vehicles, four high-performance motorcycles, and assorted property including houses, land, jewellery, and others under Ops Selat, which is a multi-agency operation that has executed raids in Putrajaya, Johor Baru, Kota Kinabalu, and Kuching over the alleged collusion between Immigration personnel and crime syndicates.