PUTRAJAYA, May 28 — The government will intensify Op Benteng operations at Malaysia’s borders to ensure foreign workers who sneaked out for the Aidilfitri celebration will not return to the country, said Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He said operations and surveillance at illegal landing spots would be further tightened so as to curb the spread COVID-19 import cases.

“For example, Indonesians who have working permits here who returned to their country to celebrate Eid, we will not allow them to come back.

“According to our MCO (Movement Control Order) policy, foreigners are not allowed to return to Malaysia at all to avoid imported cases (of COVID-19),” he told his daily press conference on the Conditional MCO to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, here today.

Op Benteng which involves personnel from the Armed Forces, Royal Malaysia Police, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency  and the Malaysian Border Security Agency (AKSEM) is aimed at tightening security at the country’s borders to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in, combat cross-border crimes as well as to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Ismail Sabri said since May 1 until yesterday, 327 illegal immigrants and 41 tekong (boat skippers) were nabbed for attempting to find their way back into the country, especially via ‘rat trails’.

“Seven individuals believed to be people smugglers were also arrested and seven vessels intercepted. The enforcement agencies also managed to foil illegal entry attempts by 86 immigrants, three tekongs and three vessels at the country’s maritime borders,” he said.

Elaborating further, Ismail Sabri said 1,515 foreigners who trespassed Malaysian borders were also nabbed through Op Benteng.

“The government will take stern action on anyone who attempts to sneak into the country. The enforcement agencies will continue to tighten control at Malaysian borders especially at the ‘rat trails’.” he said.


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