Packed detention centres due to delay in deporting illegals, deputy home minister says

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Packed detention centres due to delay in deporting illegals, deputy home minister says

1 March 2016, The Malay Mail Online

The nationwide crackdown against illegal immigrants enters its twelfth day today, with over 30,000 screened and 9,900 rounded up since February 19.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said while the daily operations, dubbed Ops Hari Hari, are yielding results, the delay in deporting them has resulted in congestion at the 14 detention centres across the country.

The matter  was  highlighted by Immigration director-general Datuk Sakib Kusmi who suggested the expansion of current detention centres with more holding centres to be built immediately.

In an exclusive interview with Malay Mail recently, Nur Jazlan said the government had stopped funding the deportation of illegal foreigners since 2014, resulting in the overcrowded centres.

“The detainees will now have to fork out their own money, either through their embassies or families. This is the main reason for the delay,” he said.

“Prior to 2014, the government had set aside a budget for the deportation of illegal foreigners and the process was faster.”

The overcrowding has forced the Penang Immigration Department to search for new detention centres in Terengganu. The centre in Juru is now full with 500 detainees while the centres in Belantik, Kedah and Langkap in Perak — with maximum capacities of 1,050 and 1,000 respectively — are now overcrowded with 1,158 and 1,500 detainees respectively.

Penang immigration deputy director P. Selva said yesterday the department was forced to send detainees to Ajil in Terengganu. He said there was a need to identify other areas in the state that could house detainees. There are 900 foreigners in Ajil.

The Pulai MP said employers, especially from the construction sector, were the main culprits bringing workers from abroad but failing to safeguard their welfare, which forced them to find jobs elsewhere.