NRD, MACC foil bid to smuggle in Filipino immigrants by air

TAWAU: The National Registration Department (NRD) and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), in collaboration through Ops Lancar, managed to crack down on a syndicate smuggling Filipino illegal immigrants by air from Sabah to the Peninsula.

Home Ministry secretary-general Datuk Ruji Ubi said 15 individuals were arrested in raids in Kuala Lumpur, Johor and Tawau on Thursday (March 23) following information provided by a Filipino arrested in the Klang Valley three months ago.

He said the MACC also detained five Immigration Department officials in Tawau to assist in investigations into the case.

“Ops Lancar at Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminal 2 (KLIA2) led to the arrest of eight Filipino immigrants who managed to get past information checks from Tawau to Kuala Lumpur.

“Six immigrants were found to have identity cards belonging to others while two others, including a 21-month-old toddler, did not have any identification documents,” he told reporters after handing over the project for the construction of NRD Tawau quarters and office, here, today.

Construction of the RM20 million project, involving an office and 12 residential units for Tawau NRD staff, began in 2017 and the office is scheduled to be operational in May.

Ruji said that as a result of Ops Lancar, which was carried out simultaneously that day, a Filipino couple with fake identity cards was arrested at the syndicate’s transit house in Bandar Seri Alam, Masai, Johor.

He said intelligence also found the involvement of agents or syndicates, who have been active for two to three years, in managing the entry of Filipino illegal immigrants from Sabah to Peninsular Malaysia with a payment of RM2,500 per person.

The syndicate is also believed to manage the entry of Filipinos who have been subject to legal action for various offences, he said.

He said that following the raids, the Ops Lancar team and the police yesterday tracked down the location of the actual owners of the MyKad used by the syndicate and seven MyKad owners were detained at various locations for further investigation.

“We’ll leave the follow-up arrests to the police and the operations team. I do not rule out the possibility of more arrests as investigations are ongoing, we do not want a recurrence,” he said. –Bernama