Biometric systems is the best national security approach against cross-border crime

01 Dec 2011

KUALA LUMPUR: More than 2.3 million foreign workers, including hundreds of Indians, as well as illegal immigrants have registered under a new programme that aims to create a database of all workers and grant amnesty to overstayers. 

The registration by over 2.3 million foreigners came within 45 days, Immigration director-general Alias Ahmad said today. 

Malaysia relies heavily on foreign labour in various fields like construction, plantations, garden maintenance, and restaurants. However, it has also been plagued by problems of hundreds of thousands of these workers over staying in the country illegally after the expiry of their visas. 

The government regularly organises amnesty progammes to flush out these workers, repatriating them back without punishing them. 

During the current amnesty round, the authorities have created a database taking help of biometric scanning of both legal and illegal workers. 

Most of the workers are from India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Pakistan. House maids are from the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Cambodia and a few from India. 

Alias said the registration exercise was carried out over 24 hours but, even then, the situation was challenging as it was done during the fasting month of Ramadan. 

The amnesty programme comprises six components of registration, legalisation, amnesty, monitoring, enforcement and deportation. 

He said the recognition of the airport immigration office at Kuala Lumpur International Airport was the best in the world. 

"The accreditation was made by Skytrax which is based in Copenhagen, Denmark... Two hundred international airports were surveyed, involving 18.8 million respondents," he said. 

Another accomplishment was the introduction on June 1 of the National Foreigners Enforcement and Registration System (NERS) that is linked to the biometric system and enforced in stages at 64 entry points in the country. 

"With the biometric system, the management and monitoring of foreign nationals can be carried out more efficiently, such as to detect false documents and illegal immigrants," he said. 

He also said that NERS was the best national security approach against cross-border crime which is the main threat in the era of globalisation, state-owned news agency Bernama said. 




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