PUTRAJAYA: The Immigration Department will launch a major operation at the stroke of midnight tonight, when the 3+1 voluntary surrender programme for illegal immigrants ends.
Immigration director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said the operation has been confirmed by Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who earlier stated that the deadline for the programme is Aug 30 and would not be extended.
"We want to avoid (becoming inundated with) illegal immigrants in the country.
"(And) their employers and embassies will be made responsible for bringing them home after Aug 30," Mustafar said in an exclusive interview with Bernama here.
Begun in 2014, the 3+1 programme allowed illegal immigrants who surrendered voluntarily to obtain a special pass for RM100 and be charged a compound fee of RM300, which would enable them to return home without prosecution.
"The Immigration Department often receives complaints from locals who are uncomfortable with the influx of foreigners in the country," he said.
Looking at the situation, Mustafar said foreign immigrants often “colonise” a particular area, especially in residential areas, that could bring discomfort to the locals.
He said the influx could also lead to the spread of infectious diseases.
"So, strict enforcement is necessary to curb the influx of these foreigners,” he said.
To date, 840,000 illegal immigrants have surrendered through the programme, including the 148,774 illegals who surrendered themselves this year. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd