Kuching: Those who employ illegal workers are betraying the country as they are exposing the people to the dangers of communicable diseases, crimes and even terrorism.
State Immigration director Datu Robert Lian in making this stand lambasted unscrupulous employers who did not care for the security of the country and the well-being of their fellow citizens in their pursuit for more profit.
"We view them as traitors as they are putting the country at risk by allowing illegal people to live and work in this country," said Robert.
It is estimated that there are at least between 30,000 to 50,000 illegal workers in the state even after the amnesty for foreign workers and their employers to register with the relevant authorities which was extended to March 31 in the state this year.
He disclosed that plantation and timber companies were the biggest culprits which he said was very disappointing since they earned so much from the land of the nation.
"They have reaped so much profit from this country, the least they should do is to do the right thing," Robert told The Borneo Post here yesterday.
Robert said his department was facing an almost impossible task in weeding out illegal workers as it had only 98 enforcement officers covering the whole state which he said was sorely inadequate.
"We actually need a whole battalion to carry out enforcement work in Sarawak. And on top of that, we need proper logistics support such as trucks, off road motorcycles and even helicopters to check on illegal workers in all the nooks and corner of the state."
Robert revealed that his department had been using Blue Ocean Strategy (BOS) to tackle illegal workers by cooperating with other enforcement agencies such as the police, army, Rela and Fire and Rescue Services Department.
To enhance this cooperation the Immigration Department conducted a simulation exercise with other enforcement agencies involving 130 officers in Simuja Camp in Serian yesterday on emergency response yesterday.
Robert was pleased with the outcome of this exercise as he said it had improved the coordination among the agencies involved and prepared them to tackle the task of controlling the influx of illegal workers.
Meanwhile, Bernama quoted Robert as saying during the event that the Sarawak Immigration Department has the resources and facilities to manage the number of illegal immigrants detained in the state.
Therefore, the proposal to build three new detention centres in Limbang,Bintulu and Sibu would not be carried out for the time being.
"We have identified the sites to build the three new detention centres but looking at the current need and finance, the proposal will be put on hold now," he said.
The government will concentrate on improving the facilities and functions of all the state's entry control points.
"Unlike the detention centres, the entry points are a very important place since tourist use such places for entry into the state. Control and enforcement here is very important. So we are going to focus on the control centres.
However, the detention depots will be build later," he added.--Courtesy of The Borneo Post Online