KUALA LUMPUR – The government will set up a special body to manage intake of foreign workers into the country, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the Cabinet made a decision to form the special body to coordinate intake, registration, monitoring and enforcement of foreign workers here.
He said currently, matters related to the intake of foreign workers involved 11 ministries and agencies.
“With the decision by the Cabinet to set up a special foreign worker management body, we hope there will be coordination, including in enforcement,” he said in reply to a supplementary question from Datuk Mohd Idris Jusi (PKR-Batu Pahat) here.
Ahmad Zahid said at present, there were 2.05 million foreign workers in the country, including 1.9 million unskilled workers while another 150,000 were skilled employees.
He said foreign workers were brought in as manpower in the construction, factory, service, estate and agriculture sectors, as well as house maids.
On crimes involving foreign workers, Ahmad Zahid said last year, 13,997 or 14.8 per cent of 94,371 reported cases involved them.
As such, he said, the claim that most crimes were committed by foreign workers did not hold water.
The minister said the authorities would continue conducting operations to curtail the entry of illegal immigrants into the country.
He said from January until March 25 this year, the immigration department had conducted 1,855 operations and detained about 12,000 illegal foreign workers, adding that 134 employers were taken into custody for employing foreign workers without work permit.
Ahmad Zahid said the voluntary surrender programme last year was taken up by 112,278 illegal immigrants involving RM7.7 million in the issuance of compounds.
Meanwhile, replying to a supplementary question from Datuk Mohd Johari Baharum (BN-Kubang Pasu), Ahmad Zahid said there were about 530 smugglers’ routes from Perlis to Kelantan in the areas bordering Thailand.
He said besides being an exit and entry access for people of both countries, there were also routes to smuggle weapons, drugs and subsidised items to neighbouring countries.
He said one proposal to curtail crime in border areas was to build an electric security fence, adding however, the estimated cost of RM5.1 billion for that purpose was too high. – BERNAMA