Division on integrity created at Immigration Dept, RCI told

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KOTA KINABALU: A division was created to check on the integrity of the Immigration Department’s staff and services, its director-general Datuk Alias Ahmad told the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants in Sabah, here yesterday.

He said the division, managed by an officer from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), aimed to raise the people’s trust in the department’s services as well as to improve staff performance.

“I admit we have our constraints. But we try to keep on improving our services.

“Our focus is on the people (staff) and how to develop them to have the highest integrity,” he said.

Asked by conducting officer Manoj Kurup about forged immigrations documents, Alias said such documents could not have been issued by the immigrations staff.

He explained that the department kept records of people entering and leaving the country all the time.

“There are 300 million migrations happening every time in the world and Malaysia is not excluded.

“It is quite difficult to keep track of people going in and out of the many entry points without a proper system,” he said.

According to Alias, the Immigrations Department used a biometric system at all entry points in the country to record the flow of people going in and out of the country as well as to ensure a speedy immigration process.

Asked by Manoj if there were cases of forged Malaysian passports, Alias said there was a small number as forging a Malaysian passport was a difficult attempt.

“Malaysian passports are usually forged outside of the country like in China.

“However, those passports cannot be used in Malaysia as the valid Malaysian passport has a security chip,” he said.

Meanwhile, Marthen Salempang, 63, who was born in Toraja, South Sulawesi in Indonesia and came to Sabah in 1970, told the inquiry he was not aware that he had done something wrong when he applied for a Malaysian identity card (IC).

When conducting officer Jamil Aripin asked what his thoughts were if the government cancelled his Malaysian IC, he said he would apply for a permanent resident IC as he wanted to stay in Malaysia.

“I admit my mistakes. I have no more relatives in Sulawesi,” he said.

Ahmad Soso, 53, who was born in Bone, South Sulawesi and also possessed a Malaysian IC through dubious means, said he was willing to adhere to
the government’s suggestions should his Malaysian IC be cancelled.

He told the inquiry he was not aware that the details in the IC issued to him were false, including his place of birth.

He said he would like his personal details be corrected in the permanent resident IC or MyPR when he applies for it.

RCI chairman, who was a former chief judge of Sabah and Sarawak, Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong said it was not fair to put the blame completely on the immigrants for possessing the ICs via dubious means.

“So long it (IC) was issued by the relevant authorities, it is valid to them (immigrants) eventhough the details are not accurate.

The question is, who is to be blamed?” he said.

Also sitting on the five-member panel are former University Malaysia Sabah vice-chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Kamaruzzaman Ampon, former Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Henry Chin Poy Wu, former Sabah state secretary Datuk KY Mustapha and former Sabah deputy chief minister Tan Sri Herman J Luping, who was also a former state attorney-general.

The inquiry continues today. — Bernama