PUTRAJAYA — May 15, 2019: A former Immigration director recalled thinking that the illegal immigrants detained from the transit camps in Wang Kelian, Perlis, in 2015 appeared to have been coached on what to say when arrested.
This was because the replies they gave when questioned by immigration were basically similar, including they had come to the country on their own free will and had volunteered to pay to agents to help get them in.
According to former Perlis Immigration director Mohd. Amir Othman, these answers were similar to those given by other immigrants detained in other operations.
There were cases of illegal immigrants who chose to be arrested to be brought to the detention depot as being in the depot was better than living in their own country, said Amir before the six-member RCI panel led by former chief justice Tun Zakaria Arifin.
Their main objective, said Amir, was to get the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees card which allows them to move freely and hold a job.
He agreed with Zakaria’s suggestion that the card was one reason which had attracted the immigrants, especially those from Myanmar, to enter the country.
Former Perlis Customs director Datuk Mohd. Pudzi Man said he had difficulty gathering information on the smuggling of migrants compared to cases on the entry of immigrants.
Perlis Border Control Agency commander DSP Syed Basri Syed Ali proposed that a commanding officer be positioned at the border to coordinate and strengthen enforcement.
This is important to avoid overlapping orders in law enforcement operations which currently involves multi agencies including Customs, Immigration and the Police.
Currently each agency operates according to its standard operating procedures and the absence of one command results in lack of coordinattion.
The public hearing continues tomorrow.