PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has revealed that the National Registration Department (JPN) and the Immigration Department – both under the purview of the Home Affairs Ministry – are being investigated for corruption and power abuse.
According to Anwar, he learned about the power abuse by JPN when the process of acquiring a citizenship certificate was subjected to specific costs by individuals who were eligible for citizenship status.
The Tambun MP, however, noted that this had occurred when a small group, including the Immigration Department, was still familiar with the old system and practices related the operational system at Kuala Lumpur Airport (KLIA), necessitating intervention from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
“The number is still small but there should be stern and immediate action, or else this would tarnish the administration’s image,” said in his speech at the Prime Minister’s Department’s monthly assembly at Dewan De’ Seri Endon, Puspanitapuri today (July 3).
At the assembly, Anwar also explained his surprise visit to KLIA which was conducted on the heels of the bombshell dropped by Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing over the alleged “culture of corruption” among some Immigration officers at the country’s main gateway.
“I went there and decided to defend the integrity and the authority of the Immigration Department as a whole and that we should avoid giving the general perception that there are issues within the department.
“However, I must stress that stern and immediate action must be taken against the small group of people who remain complacent with the old ways and practices.”
Anwar also told top government officials to go down to the ground, inspect and find out if things were working accordingly.
“We must avoid making assumptions that everything is alright on the ground. Having that said, we must set the right objective when we conduct visits on the ground which is to improve (the delivery service) instead of condemning and finding fault,” he said.
During his surprise visit to inspect the Customs and Immigration operations at the airport yesterday (July 2), the Prime Minister also expressed his regret that only one of the total seven scanners operated by the Customs Department located at the arrival area of the airport was operational.
“Coincidentally, I am the Finance Minister, and the department is under my ministry. Do not wait until the minister himself goes to the ground to find out about scanners that are damaged (not operational),” he remarked.
“I was told that the defective scanners have not been operational since last year. If there was a pressing need and only millions of ringgit were needed to resolve the issue, the government could just approve the allocation immediately to rectify the problem.
“I believe the Director General of Public Service Department (KPPA) and MACC will investigate simply because I gave immediate approval.
“The situation is urgent. The scanner is damaged. Imagine that seven scanning machines have been damaged, dating back several years ago.”
Anwar’s surprise visit to the airport was prior to welcoming home the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Raja Permaisuri Agong from Saudi Arabia following their haj pilgrimage. – July 3, 2023
Main pic credit: Bernama