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MACC: Immigrants a 'goldmine' for corrupt law enforcement officials

Publish date: Mon, 27 Mar 2023, 02:05 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: lmmigrants have become a 'goldmine' for crooked law enforcement officials to easily source for bribes.

This, in turn, has damaged Malaysia's reputation and underscored the chronic and worrying level of corruption which has permeated into the country's law enforcement agencies.

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Deputy Chief Commissioner (Operations) Datuk Seri Ahmad Khusairi Yahaya said it is not only undocumented foreigners who are being targeted by corrupt officers.

He said workers with legitimate permits as well as students with visas were also not exempted from the greed of these officials.

Khusairi said several MACC operations including Op Tropicana, Op Bolos KLIA 1 and 2, and Op Lancar, were prime examples of the involvement of law enforcers in corrupt practicses.

"It proves that this issue is serious and requires strict action by the responsible enforcement agencies," he said in a statement published on MACC website today.

Such incidents, he said, paint a bad image of Malaysia, as if showing that the level of corruption within the frontlines of national security was "chronic and worrying."

"The slogan 'Malaysia Boleh' is also how used cynically, with a connotation that all matters can be resolved by paying bribes," he said.

Khusairi said it was unsurprising that Malaysia had become a a focus for foreign workers to find work, a drug transit center in the Southeast Asian region, a center for fraud and drug laboratories, as well as a hub for Macau Scam, online gambling operators and more.

"We often reject and deny reality and find various reasons.

"The common comments that we hear - 'it was an isolated incident', can no longer be used as an excuse to deny the reality of how greedy enforcement members are in this matter," he added.

He also listed out 17 potential acts of corruption involving law enforcers who collect bribes from foreigners. They are:

1. Foreign worker quota application by companies. In order to obtain this quota, the companies have to pay bribes to ensure the approval of the quota in terms of the number of foreign workers brought in.

2. The role of foreign worker agents who make multiple profits by charging various processing fees including visas and work permits.

3. Bribing law enforcement officers at the country's entry points to speed up the exit and entry process for foreigners who overstay, are involved in crime, are blacklisted, do not meet entry requirements and so on.

4. Misuse of foreign student visas for the purpose of working, doing business and engaging in immoral activities.

5. Protecting activities involving prostitution, massage parlors, gambling, and Macau Scam operations where most of the workers are foreigners.

6. Monopolising business sectors without a licence or (having foreigners) use premises and business licenses of Malaysians.

7. Working in the construction, plantation, business and service sectors illegally.

8. Obtaining citizenship and birth certificates by paying bribes.

9. Driving without a valid licence.

10. Overland traffickers who smuggle illegal immigrants in through 'rat lanes' such as via maritime, forest and national borders.

11. Using land illegally for accommodation and agriculture purposes.

12. Carrying out illegal mining activities.

13. Being Involved in the smuggling of prohibited goods including drugs, firearms, as well as controlled goods such as petrol, flour, sugar and cooking oil.

14. Street bribery to avoid any form of action despite having complete documents.

15. Bribery to obtain fame and status in society.

16. Plundering the wealth of marine products by encroaching into the country's waters.

17. Working as Guest Relations Officers (GROs), masseuse, prostitute in entertainment centers and spas.

Khusairi said these were among the offences which usually involve foreigners in Malaysia.

"Indirectly, it also creates space and opportunities for law enforcement officers to collect bribes on a small, monthly or syndicated basis.

"The issue of the influx of immigrants in this country cannot be seen as a trivial matter. This will have a detrimental effect as it involves social problems, crime, health and national security," he said.

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