KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 27 — In a bid to address corruption among its enforcement personnel, the Immigration Department would be replacing its current manual passport stamping with digital printing, its director-general, Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud said.

The Star reported him saying that the new system, coupled with the installation of closed-circuit televisions (CCTVs) at counters, are among plans to boost the department’s efficacy and to prevent its officers from indulging in illegal activities.

Khairul said travellers would be given an identification which is recognised by the system.

“When a foreign traveller comes to Malaysia after his first visit, he can go through the autogate instead of queuing to check his passport.

“When I took office last year, I told my officers there will be no compromise if their actions cause the department’s integrity to be questioned.

“I will do what I can to look after their welfare but there will be zero tolerance against wrongdoings, “ he was quoted saying.

The project, according to the report, is estimated to cost RM1.2 billion and is expected to be fully operational in 2023.

Khairul said CCTVs would be installed at immigration counters at entry points including in KLIA, KLIA2, Johor Bahru and Kota Kinabalu so that “activities at these counters can be closely monitored”.

This CCTV installation which is expected to be done next year is estimated to cost RM20 million.

In November, national news agency Bernama reported that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had detained 50 individuals, including 28 Immigration personnel, 17 foreign worker agents and five civilians, for allegedly being involved in the fraudulent use of immigration stamps to enter and exit the country, in a series of raids in several states in a special operation.

The sting operation codenamed ‘Ops Selat’ was conducted with the cooperation of the Immigration Department based on intelligence and six months’ surveillance at the country’s entry and exit points, especially at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), KLIA2 and Bangunan Sultan Ismail Johor Baru.

Aside from the arrests, investigators also confiscated a Rolls-Royce Phantom, a Ford Mustang, a Range Rover and an Audi.

On the arrests of his men, Khairul expressed disappointment, adding that the law must be applied to them.

He said that once the new stamping system comes into force, passports no longer need to be stamped and would instead be scanned into the system.

“No one can claim to offer stamping services. If passports are stamped, we will know something is not right.

“There will also be more spot checks on those at counters to ensure the no handphone policy is strictly followed. This is to stop them making deals with foreigners and illegal immigrants, “ he added.

Under the department’s professional regulation, officers on counter duties are not allowed to bring their handphones.