Kuala Lumpur April 7 — A FORMER Immigration Department officer who helped a syndicate forge Temporary Employment Visit Passes for foreign workers had produced more than 21,000 fake passes since 2011, anti-graft authorities said.
The former officer was among five people arrested yesterday by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) in operations at 22 locations around Kuala Lumpur and Sg Petani, Kedah.
MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki said the officer quit the civil service a few years ago.
“He was the one who paved the way for the syndicate to access the department’s system, which they then operated remotely to produce the fake passes.
“He understands and is knowledgeable about the system, apart from the involvement of other internal officers to obtain identifications and hack the system,” Azam said at a press conference today.
MACC and the Immigration Department yesterday announced that they have crippled the syndicate that been issuing the fake passes to foreigner workers, causing losses to the department amounting to millions of ringgit.
The syndicate has also raked in profits of around RM4.7 million.
The five suspects aged 33 to 43 had hacked the department’s database by installing transmitters to allow syndicate members to change passwords and to subsequently print passes from their operations centre away from the department’s office.
Azam said among the five individuals arrested, one was the mastermind, a businessman with a Datuk title.
The 21,378 fake passes issued were bought by foreigners and employers.
Other sources said the former immigration officer had worked at the department’s Kuala Lumpur office. After he was recruited by the businessman, three other suspects were also hired.
“The three suspects are experts in the technical field but are not expert hackers. They just provided technical assistance for the system.
“Apart from producing fake passes, they can also open and close again a status on an individual, such as a blacklist or ’red alert’ that will allow the person to pass through immigration restrictions at airports. They did this for a certain fee.”
The syndicate’s activities were exposed after the department conducted an internal investigation into abuses of the former officer’s system ID.
These abuses were detected at times when the officer was to have been on medical leave, but his ID was logged in to the system by the syndicate.
Meanwhile, Immigration director-general Khairul Dzaimee Daud said the department had started tracking down the hacking syndicate as a result of an internal investigation last year.
“Later, we asked for help from the MACC to take down the syndicate that involved immigration officers themselves.
“So far, no other officers have been arrested but follow-up arrests will definitely be made and it depends on the investigation by the task force comprising MACC and Immigration,” he said.
The department will also conduct a large-scale operation to hunt down all 21,378 foreigners who used the fake passes, Khairul added.
“Action will also be taken against the employers of all these foreigners,” he said.
This morning, all five suspects were remanded for six days at the Shah Alam court.
The investigation into this case is conducted in accordance with Section 17 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009.
This issue was once raised in the National Audit Report 2018 and discussed in Parliament on the leakage of government revenue and the leakage of the national security system.
(source :The Malaysian Insight)