PETALING JAYA: The Immigration Department has denied a news report by a Malay daily that it was mulling a bounty hunter initiative to nab illegal immigrants.
Immigration Director-General Mustafar Ali said he had never made such a suggestion, explaining that such an initiative will have negative implications.
“It could jeopardise the safety of people or people could break the law while nabbing illegals.”
Mustafar, who was recently transferred from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, also denied that the department would allow employers to hire illegal immigrants currently placed in detention centres.
Berita Harian, in an exclusive interview on Friday, quoted Mustafar as stating that it had become difficult to crush human trafficking syndicates as some locals were in cahoots with them.
He was quoted as saying that every time the department conducted raids, including at the border, the human trafficking syndicates would be tipped off.
Mustafar then supposedly proposed a “bounty hunter” squad to round up illegals, like the ones in the United States and Mexico.
He was also reported as saying that the time had come for the department to “gain an upper hand” in the fight against illegals.
He said many of the locals worked with the syndicates and were lured by cash rewards offered by the smugglers.
Mustafar said the monetary rewards to smuggle in an illegal immigrant could come up to RM2,500 for a single person.
In the report, he went on to explain that “employing” bounty hunters would work in the department’s favour as it faced logistics and manpower issues.