Institutional reform is the best way to overcome the issue of ‘big-headed’ foreigners

 The country was shocked when at least 1,100 foreigners were arrested in a special operation by the General Operations Force (PGA) at a location nicknamed ‘mini Dhaka’ at Jalan Silang in the capital.

 The existence of more and more communities of foreigners is no longer a secret, in fact they are growing in number and multiplying to create their own communities in certain locations throughout the country.

The migration and increase of foreigners in Malaysia as workers, students, tourists, refugees and illegal immigrants (PATI) causes several negative effects on society and the country. If this dilemma is not prevented early the effects will be long lasting.

 Just look at how there can be colonies of foreigners in this country, especially in the capital and major cities in the Klang Valley. They were able to establish colonies and dominate economic activities in the area to the detriment of the local people.

 Based on the general mapping done, it was found that foreigners dominate several settlement locations in the Klang Valley such as Vietnamese and Myanmar nationals around the Selayang Wholesale Market, Rohingya (Gombak/Ampang Point), Indonesia (Chow Kit/Jalan Raja Alang), Pakistan (Jalan Masjid India/ Nilai 3) and Africa (Old Klang Road).

 The Klang Valley is the focus of foreigners because of the many job opportunities and better infrastructure facilities compared to other locations. One of the modus operandi of foreigners based in Malaysia is to build illegal settlements.

They explore, invade and make several locations such as forest, wasteland and abandoned housing to build illegal settlements such as in Segambut Dalam, Nilai Spring, Ainsdale Town and many more.

 Some have been established for several years before being detected and raided by law enforcement. In fact, among these foreigners they seem to have no intention of returning to their home country.

 In Bukit Malut, for example, a village with an estimated 2,500 houses allowed 10,000 Myanmar citizens to build a permanent settlement since the early 1980s on government reserve land. Many other settlements like this in other locations throughout Malaysia still survive despite being raided by law enforcement several times.

 It is no secret that locations such as Nilai, Chow Kit, Bukit Bintang, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and other locations on the outskirts of the city in the states of Sembilan, Penang, Johor, Sabah and Selangor are dominated by foreigners.

 They ventured into the textile business, selling carpets, furniture, running a grocery store, opening a sewing shop, including hiring lawn mowers from house to house. This phenomenon seems to be out of control.

 As long as there are foreigners residing in a certain area, there is bound to be a business they run that causes dissatisfaction among the local people. Recently, the tactic used by foreigners is to marry a local woman as a ticket to get a license to open a business. This tactic is not new. In fact, foreigners still holding PLKS are also taking open opportunities in front of these eyes.

Cause various negative effects

 Apparently, the widespread presence of foreigners and the weak enforcement actions from the authorities caused various negative effects on the country and the local people.

 The presence of foreigners in large numbers in some locations increases criminal cases such as robbery, burglary, threats and online fraud activities.  Some join local syndicates to strengthen their position and dominance in various illegal activities and industries.

 Based on sources from the Ministry of Home Affairs (KDN), between 2016 and 2022, a total of 52,381 foreigners were arrested for committing violent and property crimes, particularly from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Myanmar and the Philippines.

 The issue of foreigners using tourist, worker and student visas then disappearing without a trace is often reported, especially from China, India and Africa.  The majority of them have PATI status, intending to live and settle in Malaysia.

 Increased social mobility

 The influx of foreigners to work in Malaysia reveals an increase in social mobility among foreign workers in several economic sectors.  In the construction industry for example, their arrival in Malaysia at the initial stage was only as construction labour.

 They work diligently and build skills and years of work experience.  With that craft, skill and experience they are able to go further in the industry with a decent salary.

 Eventually they became part of the industrial movement by running their own businesses and employing construction workers including local people.  This social mobility also occurs in other industries such as textile chains, grocery stores and restaurants.

The real effect that is hitting the country right now is that the benefits of subsidies are also enjoyed by foreigners.  A total of 3.5 million including Singaporeans also enjoy subsidies amounting to RM19 billion provided by the government for the needs of local people.

 Foreigners enjoy subsidized prices of essential goods such as chicken, eggs, rice, cooking oil and petrol subsidies.  This is not only detrimental to the country, but also denies the right Malaysians should enjoy.

 Therefore, the people expect the government, especially the Ministry of Interior and related enforcement agencies to carry out their responsibilities with more trust and integrity in combating and curbing the problems caused by foreigners at this time.

 As the front line for these foreigners, law enforcement agencies should give high commitment and have serious determination in controlling the migration of foreigners without complete documents.

 The government needs to make full use of advanced security technology to be used by law enforcement, security forces and the military in monitoring the movement of foreigners at the border entry points and Malaysian sea lanes.

 Legal action, tightening the rules and imposing heavy punishments according to the offenses committed by foreigners must be enforced.  Take the example of Australia, New Zealand, England, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in curbing the migration of foreigners and illegal aliens.

 By pledging to carry out comprehensive institutional and social reforms, the government is expected not to ignore the continuing issue of foreigners in a sustainable and thorough manner.

 The author is a Researcher at the Leadership & State Research Group, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

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