12th August, 2012
SANDAKAN: Illegal immigrants are seeking the help of local middleman as conduit to enter the State, Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) director-general Datuk Mohd Amdan Kurish said.
He said illegal immigrants are feeling the heat from the authorities when entering the State as the authorities have plugged most of the known landing points into Sabah.
“They are resorting to engaging locals to bring them into the state by using far-flung villages bordering their countries to enter the country,” he said.
Mohd Amdan said that these local intermediaries would guide and shelter them in the village to avoid detection from authorities.
“We are getting more vessels to beef up our security around the waters,” he said when attending a breaking of fast with MMEA personnel and handing over of contributions to orphans here Friday.
He said MMEA has a fleet of nine high-powered vessels operating in the waters off Sabah and logistical support would be increased.
“We have nabbed 1,412 illegal immigrants attempting to enter the State in the first eight months this year.
“At the same time, we are also keeping a tight watch on smuggling of essential goods like cooking oil and sugar among others out of the country,” Mohd Amdan said.
He said MMEA was recruiting more staff with some 5,275 vacancies available to strengthen the agency.
The increase in the number of vacancies was due to the availability of more assets like vessels, which were handed over by customs and police to MMEA.
Last year, a total of 1,066 posts were filled after 91 boats were handed over to MMEA, with 65 of them coming from police and customs department, who opted to join MMEA.
Mohd Amdan also said that the agency could only train between 200 and 300 recruits due to shortage of trainers.
Present were MMEA Labuan and Sabah enforcement chief, Admiral 1 Karunanitihi A/K Munusamy, Sandakan enforcement chief Capt Abdul Razak Rahman and MMEA enforcement director Capt Wan Mat Wan Abdullah.