Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin had in a press conference yesterday (22 June) said that some fishermen in Langkawi are believed to be part of a syndicate in smuggling undocumented migrants into Malaysia.
According to the Star, the Ministry received a tip-off from an informant, where he revealed that the syndicate bringing in the migrants into Malaysia are from the neighbouring country and they are only waiting for the time to enter the Malaysian waters.
“Intelligence found a handful of local fishermen are working with the syndicate without being detected by the authorities.”
“They are traitors for cooperating with the syndicate in the middle of the sea to smuggle in illegal immigrants using their boats.” he said.
Meanwhile, the Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee, Immigration director-general Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) director-general Maritime Admiral Datuk Mohd Zubil Mat Som, and Kedah police chief Datuk Kamarul Zaman Mamat were present at the press conference too.
Hamzah said that this is a serious matter and he has ordered the PDRM, MMEA and National Task Force to assist in containing the entry of illegal immigrants into the country.
Hamzah also revealed their methods to get into the country, whereby they had used large boats to ship them previously. However, they had changed their strategy to stay in small islands to observe the movements of the authorities.
“They will wait for the time and when there is no patrol, the syndicate will starting moving them a few at a time using the boats brought in by the syndicate… and upon reaching the country’s waters, there are people waiting to take them…this is what they are doing now.” he said.
Meanwhile, he said that the Ministry had held meetings with the local fishermen association chairmen, as well as the fishermen themselves to obtain information regarding the case and advise them to not involve in the crime that could ruin their future, and the country’s.
“We are not only giving basic food aid to the fishermen community in fact we want them to be aware that they are committing crimes with their actions,” he added.
Towards the end of the press conference, he also revealed that the syndicate is also involved in trafficking drugs.