Foreign governments must respect Malaysia's effort to detain and repatriate illegals under the nationwide operation code named E-kad Mega Op said Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) senior vice-chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.
In a statement here today, he said the Immigration Department had given given a long grace period, from Feb 15 to June 30, for employers and illegals to take part in the Enforcement Card (E-kad) programme.
"Scores of reminders were given via numerous media channels and no excuses are acceptable if the employers failed to do so," he said.
The Indonesian government recently also urged the Malaysian government to stop the operation and extend the process of registering illegals.
However, Immigration Department of Malaysia director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali prior to this had stressed that the government would not extend the programme.
The E-kad programme, which was launched nationwide, enables illegals to obtain legitimate work permits after undergoing several procedures stipulated by the Home Ministry.
Lee said the Malaysian government had never prevented foreign workers from seeking permissible employment in this country but employers must be responsible and abide by the stipulated laws and regulations
"It was reported that only 23 per cent or 161,056 illegals were registered involving 28,375 employers with 145,571 E-kad issued since the application for E-kad started on Feb 15," he said.
Lee added that he hoped that the Immigration Department of Malaysia would take stringent action under the Immigration Act 1959/63 against employers found to have employed and sheltering illegals, and in cahoot swith and allowing illegals to stay on their premises.
Until 10.30 am Tuesday (July 11) 3,116 illegals and 63 employers were detained under the E-kad Mega Op nationwide.