ALOR STAR: The government will beef up existing cooperation with enforcement agencies from five neighbouring countries in Asean to curb the human trafficking activity in the region.

Home Ministry senior deputy chief secretary (Security) Datuk Alwi Ibrahim said Malaysia would capitalise on its existing relationship with enforcement agencies in Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei, Philippines and Singapore to improve security system at the border.

He said apart from enhancing the strategic collaboration with the neighbouring countries, the government was also tightening checks at entry points in the states located near the neighbouring countries.

“Malaysia’s proximity to Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia via the sea route also makes our country geographically strategic transit point for human trafficking syndicates.

“We need to beef up our cooperation with our neighbours since if one country has a loophole, the whole countries in the region will suffer the consequences,” he said after launching the state-level Anti-human Trafficking and Anti-immigrant Smuggling campaign at Dewan Farabi here today.

Apart from being used as a transit point for human trafficking, Rawi said Malaysia’s steady economic growth had made the country a popular destination for illegal immigrants to find a job here.

Alwi was commenting on The New Straits Times report on Monday that human trafficking syndicates were using Brunei as a backdoor to enter Malaysia via Sarawak.

The report, quoting Immigration Department director-general Datuk Alias Ahmad, revealed that the human traffickers were capitalising on all four land checkpoints to enter Sarawak after arriving in Brunei by air.

Meanwhile, Alwi said the Malaysian enforcement agencies had investigated 698 human trafficking cases involving 972 arrests between 2008 and Nov 30 this year.

He added that the Anti-Human Trafficking and Anti-Migrant Smuggling Council (Mapo) report showed that 1,641 human trafficking victims were rescued and given protection order and placed at shelters.

“From the total cases, 547 people had been charged at the court under the Anti-Trafficking In Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act which saw 330 accused convicted, he said.

Alwi said as for the smuggling of migrants, he said 148 arrest had been made from 106 cases involving the smuggling of 1,690 migrants between November 2010 and November this year. –Zahratulhayat Mat Arif |

Read more: Government to beef up cooperation with neighbouring countries to curb human trafficking – Latest – New Straits Times