KUALA LUMPUR, March 27 — The level of corruption involving enforcement personnel at the country’s frontlines is growing chronic and worrisome, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) deputy chief commissioner (Operations) Datuk Seri Ahmad Khusairi Yahaya said.
Ahmad Khusairi said the influx of illegal immigrants, workers and students in the country was viewed as a big opportunity for a minority of unethical enforcement personnel to secure bribes.
He said it did not matter if the foreigner had a work permit or student visa, what more those without and were illegals, they were still targeted by enforcement.
“This is what is happening and gives a very bad image to Malaysia,” he said in a statement today, adding that the slogan ‘Malaysia Boleh’ was often used as a cynical criticism implying that everything is possible with a bribe.
“So it’s not surprising that Malaysia has become a focus for foreign workers looking for work, a drug transit in the South East Asian region, an international scam and fake investment centre, as well as a haven for online gambling, Macau scams and international prostitution.
“We often deny and ignore reality, looking for various excuses,” he said.
Ahmad Khusairi said the most common comment about corruption among enforcement was that it was ‘an isolated incident’, and that it no longer could be used as an excuse to deny the reality of how rampant it was among enforcement personnel.
He added that corruption had permeated every inch of foreign workers’ lives in the country, including the process of applying for foreign worker quotas by companies.
“To secure this quota, companies are forced to pay bribes to ensure their approval in terms of the number of foreign workers allowed to be brought in,” he said.
Besides this, he said bribing enforcement personnel occurred at the country’s entry points to speed up the entry and exit of foreign workers who overstayed, or are involved in crime, were blacklisted, or did not fulfil entry requirements.
He added that corruption also occurred in the misuse of foreign student visas for work and business, as well as unsavoury activities such as prostitution, massage parlours, gambling, Macau scams, most of which rely on foreign workers, and the act of protecting such operations.
“This is part of the offences that are linked to foreign workers in the country. Indirectly, it also creates opportunity and room for enforcement personnel to receive bribes on a small scale, monthly basis or as part of a syndicate,” he said.
The issue regarding the influx of foreign workers in the country was not a small matter as the negative impact was significant, causing social problems, crime, and affecting national security and the health of its people, he said.
Ahmad Khusairi said the MACC expose through Op Tropicana, Op Bolos KLIA 1 & 2, Op Lancar and several other operations proved how serious this issue was and that it required stern action by the responsible enforcement agencies. — Bernama