Some Rohingya ethnic Myanmar nationals were found to have entered Malaysia by paying agents who would also bring them to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) office to obtain refugee cards.
Responding to the matter, Immigration Director-General Datuk Seri Khairul Dzaimee Daud said they would examine the matter in depth using a committee at the Home Ministry for further action.
“I managed to interview several Rohingya UNHCR cardholders during the operation and they confessed to entering Malaysia through the borders of Kedah and Kelantan from Thailand. They even admitted that entering Malaysia was managed by agents,” he said, reported NST.
“In fact, they also admitted that the agents managed the trip to the UNHCR office in Kuala Lumpur for the process of obtaining the card. We will examine this matter more thoroughly though the committee at the Home Ministry.”
Khairul said that the Rohingya did not buy the UNHCR card but they paid the agents between RM5,000 to RM7,000 who will help them apply for refugee cards at the UNHCR office.
“Their understanding is that the card was bought but in fact they paid the agents involved in managing their entry,” he said.
Meanwhile, Khairul said his department had checked 36 foreign nationals working at the construction site during the operation before round 25 of them up for having no valid travel documents, overstaying and having dubious documents.
Among those detained in the operation were 10 Bangladeshi men, 8 Indonesian men, 6 other men and a woman from Myanmar.
“All of them have been taken to the detention depot for further investigations.”
“Among them, some were using dubious documents, especially UNHCR card holders, which we suspect may not be genuine,” he added.
This year alone, the Penang Immigration Department arrested a total 193 foreigners together with 32 employers for various immigration offenses during the period.
“Although the number of illegal immigrants arrested in the operation was not many compared to the number of operations carried out, the amount of compounds imposed on the employers and the foreigners was more than RM2.5 million,” he said.