Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

On 20 November 2017, I raised a question in Parliament to Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister.

I quote the question verbatim below:

Tuan Sim Chee Keong [Bukit Mertajam] minta Menteri Dalam Negeri menyatakan sama ada pegawai khas Menteri yang bernama Abdul Halim bin Suleiman diberikan konsesi urusan imigresen melalui syarikat beliau Bukti Megah Sdn. Bhd. Adakah ini mempunyai konflik kepentingan?

[Sim Chee Keong called on the Home Minister to state whether the Minister’s special officer, Abdul Halim bin Suleiman, was given concessions of immigration jobs through his company Bukti Megah Sdn. Bhd. Is there a conflict of interest in this case?]

The answer which I received is as follows:

Syarikat Bukti Megah Sdn. Bhd. adalah sebuah syarikat yang dilantik bagi membantu Jabatan Imigresen Malaysia (JIM) menguruskan Program Penghantaran Pendatang Asing Tanpa Izin (PATI) Secara Sukarela (Program 3+1) dan Program Penggajian dan Penempatan Semula PATI (Program Rehiring).

Syarikat-syarikat yang dilantik adalah bertanggungjawab untuk membimbing, menasihati dan memastikan majikan dan PATI melalui proses dan prosedur yang ditetapkan Kerajaan. Pelaksanaan program secara keseluruhan diterajui oleh Kementerian Dalam Negeri dan JIM yang juga berperanan sebagai pembuat keputusan terhadap setiap permohonan.

[Bukti Megah Sdn. Bhd. is a company appointed to assist the Immigration Department to manage the illegal migrants voluntary reparation programme (Program 3+1) and the illegal migrants rehiring programme (Program Rehiring).

Companies appointed are responsible for guiding, advising and ensuring employers and illegal migrants to abide by the process and procedures set by the government. The implementation of these programmes are led by the Home Ministry and the Immigration Department, which also functions as the decision maker for each application.]

Any reasonable person can clearly see that the Minister did not address my question at all

Why did I raise this question in Parliament?

Bukti Megah is a relatively new company, it started operation in April 2014. Yet despite being a newcomer without experience, it was given an almost monopolistic role in several immigration jobs to deal with migrant workers.

For example, in the recent E-Kad registration conducted from February to June 2017, Bukti Megah was one of the three private companies appointed as super-agents to do rehiring. I have estimated that the four-month long exercise will earn these super-agents about RM500 million in revenue.

The company was also appointed One-Stop Centre by the Home Ministry to process application for migrant workers from Myanmar and with this lucrative contract as super-agent, it went on to establish 22 branches throughout Malaysia and one in Yangon, Myanmar.

According to information on its website, since 2016, Bukti Megah was also appointed to manage work permit for migrant workers from 15 source countries.

Based on official statistics, there are about 127,705 migrant workers from Myanmar in Malaysia. Bukti Megah is set to receive hundreds of millions of ringgit in processing fees and the holding of charges and levies payable to the government. This is only in regards to workers from Myanmar and not counting workers from the other source countries.

Given the well-documented incidences of abuse of power and corruption in our immigration sector, it is in the interest of the Malaysian public to know why a new and inexperienced company was awarded immigration contracts worth hundreds of millions of ringgit.

The fact that the Home Minister’s Special Officer is the owner of the company raised even further suspicion of abuse.

The Home Minister missed the opportunity to clear his name in Parliament

Yet, when given the opportunity to explain in Parliament, the Home Minister totally avoided my question and refused to come clean.

The Home Minister not only disrespected Parliament as a forum to be accountable and transparent about his government’s action, he missed the opportunity to clear himself and his Special Officer of the suspicion of abuse of power and corruption.

In doing so, the Home Minister has implicated himself in this case. As such, I call upon the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate this matter.

Steven Sim Chee Keong