IT HAS recently been mooted by the authorities that a RM30,000 fine be imposed on businesses that hire illegal aliens. It is a move designed to appease growing public concern over the sheer number of undocumented foreign workers in the country.
But will that be enough?
A recent blitz on seven massage parlours in Johor Bahru highlights that such an amount could very well be a pittance for offenders.
In a statement by the Immigration Department, the blitz codenamed Ops Gegar and Ops Dandan took place on Jan 7. A total of 68 people who were mostly foreigners were detained including two locals.
According to Immigration director-general Datuk Ruslin Jusoh, the premises raided could have been operating for over a year and was raking in approximately RM140,000 a day or able to generate up to RM4.2 mil a month.
That is a huge amount of money indeed for any SME (small medium enterprise)!
The profit margin is especially pronounced when it was revealed that foreign workers were paid between RM1,500 and RM2,000 per month.
If this is not pathetic enough, the foreign workers nabbed during the raid were found to be using social visit passes and temporary work passes registered to other employers. Many of the detainees who included 34 from Myanmar, Vietnam (16), Indonesia (14) and the Philippines (one) – did not have valid travel documents.
Will punitive fines alone be enough? Foreign workers in vice dens are an age-old problem but when the profits are on such a large scale, the problem becomes that much more pronounced.
A complete ban on massage parlours may seem draconian but such a move has been mooted by certain political parties.
Will it drive the trade further underground or will it help stem the influx of illegal foreign workers? A very sticky issue but one that needs to be addressed nonetheless given the current climate where illegal migrant workers is a hot topic.
With news such as the massage parlours minting it in Johor Baru, the issue is not going to go away anytime soon. – Jan 10, 2024
Pics credit: Jabatan Imigresen Malaysia Negeri Johor Facebook