Focus View
Immigration dept must buck up
FocusM team | 14 Apr 2017 00:30
WAS there irregularity in the issuance of enforcement cards (e-Kad) by the Immigration Department? On April 10, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Seri Nur Jazlan Mohamed said the cards were issued to illegal foreign workers without going through the proper process. 

Only illegal foreign workers who have gone through the department’s Rehiring Programme are entitled to the cards. However, on April 12, Immigration Department director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali denied the cards were wrongly issued.  
This controversy is the latest in a string of shocking revelations in recent months involving the department. In February, four men, including the Perak Immigration Department director were arrested for alleged corruption. In March, an officer in Sarawak was arrested for allegedly taking bribes to protect illegal immigrants.

Last year, several officers were nabbed for letting in illegals through the Johor Causeway and the KL International Airport by corrupt means.  

The ongoing clean-up of the department is no doubt due to the efforts of Mustafar who took office in July last year. He was formerly the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) deputy chief commissioner.  

But besides corruption, Mustafar should also improve the department’s efficiency. For a country on the verge of achieving developed status, images of citizens having to spend hours queuing just to have their passports renewed is unacceptable.  

It is worse during school holidays. There is absolutely no excuse for the department not to anticipate that crowds are larger during school holidays. It’s a simple matter of merely deploying more counter staff to cope with the surge.
Given that the country has one of the highest number of civil servants per capita, surely a temporary redeployment of staff should not pose a problem to cater to the high demand during peak seasons. The “tidak apa” mentality must stop immediately as it is causing huge embarrassment to the country. 

The department has to be business friendly and cater to its clients. Companies should not have to endure unnecessary delays and red tape just to get permits for foreign workers. Without foreign workers, they can’t operate, and investors will think twice before investing.

The same goes for multinationals which apply for work permits for expatriates. Why make it difficult or restrict their numbers if there is no good reason to? 

After 60 years of independence, we should not be still telling vital departments like immigration to buck up.