600 KLIA Immigration Staff Transferred Over Suspicion Of Smuggling Bangladeshis

A total of seven individuals have been arrested so far.

About 600 employees from the Immigration Department of Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) have been transferred after some were suspected of being involved in the smuggling of illegal immigrants

Image via AFP

Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi said on Friday that about 40% of the Immigration Department's 1,500 employees will be transferred and be replaced by other employees.

He added that following the uncovering of activities, the department had taken the immediate measure of transferring staff, pending investigations.

The transfer of other officers is in accordance with the civil service rotation policy.

“This is a proactive action taken immediately to clear the image of the Immigration Department that has been stained by some of its staff,” he told reporters after chairing a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Foreign Workers and Illegal Immigrants.

As part of the ongoing investigations, seven people have been arrested so far

On Thursday, five individuals, including two employees from the Immigration Department were arrested in connection with the smuggling of illegal immigrants. 

Ahmad Zahid said that the others arrested were civilians; two foreigners and a local woman. 

Prior to this, two immigration officers were arrested on suspicion of smuggling foreign nationals, mostly from Bangladesh. 

According to reports, four syndicates were behind the smuggling of thousands of Bangladeshis into the country through KLIA

The syndicates are believed to be raking in RM5.2 million in profits annually by charging around RM15,000-RM20,000 per person to allow them to bypass authorities, including Immigration and the Malaysian High Commission in Dhaka.

Ahmad Zahid also praised Immigration director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali for his swift and firm actions and his efforts in restoring the image of the department.

"I am pleased by how the director-general is dealing with the issue. This handful of officers, who have been violating the laws and working with syndicates, will be dealt with. We do not condone such acts," he said. 

He also praised the staff that have not been involved in any such smuggling activities

"Let us not forget that thousands of other Immigration personnel are dedicated and efficient in their work. I congratulate the officers and staff of the Immigration Department who are not involved in these syndicates and are doing a great job," he said.

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