Exactly a month has passed since the Immigration Department of Malaysia begun its crackdown on employers and illegal immigrants on 1 July 2017.

To date, Immigration Department has detained a total of 5,173 people - 5,065 illegal foreign workers and 108 employers in Ops Mega, which has been carried out non-stop since July 1 to track down employers and illegal immigrants who refuse to register in the Enforcement Card (E-kad) programme, reported Bernama.

Immigration department director general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said that between July 1 to 7am 25 June, Immigration Department had conducted 1,272 enforcement operations nationwide.

"A total of 17,955 people have been checked and the result is 5,065 illegals from various countries had been nabbed on various immigration offences. In addition, 108 employers were also arrested and 367 were given notice to give their statements during this period," he said in a statement.

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Mustafar added that among the illegal workers nabbed, Bangladeshis recorded the highest number at 1,520. This was followed by workers from Indonesia (1,476), Myanmar (429), Vietnam (285), Thailand (206), and Philippines (261). While the remaining were from other countries.

According to Mustafar, proactive steps have been taken via meetings and discussions with embassies including those from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and Nepal.

He said: "The initiatives were taken to clarify the efforts undertaken, as well as the steps that employers and employees have to take after the expiry of the E-card registration period. This also includes the issuance of travel document by the embassy concerned and the completion of the rehiring process."

Mustafar stated that the Immigration Department urges employers who failed to register their migrant workers to send them back through the Voluntary Deportation Programme (3+1 Programme) to avoid the risk of legal action including prosecution, Bernama reported.

He added that from January to July 25 this year 125,061 illegals have returned to their home country through the 3 + 1 Programme.

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However, the crackdown is far from over.

According to a report by New Straits Times, villagers of Kampung Giching have noticed illegal immigrants going into hiding in the nearby forests hours before raids by the Immigration Department. This raised suspicions that illegal foreign workers were being tipped off about raids.

While Saravana Kumar, the Immigration Department's chief of enforcement, investigation and prosecution, said it had not received any report on the matter, stern action would be taken against errant staff.

Kumar told the New Straits Times: "Illegal foreign workers often hide themselves to avoid being arrested during such raids. However, the raids conducted by the department have always been successful."

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On another note, in a written reply to a question by Teresa Kok (DAP-Seputeh) on the breakdown of the number of foreign workers in Malaysia, the Home Ministry revealed that there are currently about 1.78 million (1,781,598) legal foreign workers in the country as of June 30, Bernama reported.

Based on records by the Immigration Department, Indonesian workers topped the list with 728,870 people, followed by Nepalese (405,898), Bangladeshis (221,089) and Myanmar nationals (127,705), the ministry stated.

It added: "The number of foreign workers from India is 114,455, Pakistan (59,281), the Philippines (56,153), Vietnam (29,039), China (15,399), Thailand (12,603), Sri Lanka (5,964), Cambodia (5,103) and Laos (39)."

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