The Malaysian Government has launched a nation-wide operation called “Combined 6P Operations” to weed out illegal immigrants (PATI) in the country. The ops began on September 1st and slated to continue until end of the year. Led by the Immigration Department, some 135,000 personnel from various agencies and departments under the Home Affairs Ministry are being utilised.
No one knows the exact number of illegal immigrants (PATI) spread around the country (well, they are illegal, after all). But figures like 400,000 to 1,500,000 are being bandied about, even 2,000,000 . May be more, who knows.
Anyway, the Ops has certainly begun to show results. Negative ones, from the viewpoint of businesses and employers.
Those in the construction, agriculture/plantation, and restaurant sectors are feeling the unwelcome impact. Because a number of their workers are disappearing for fear of being arrested, or already arrested, and sent back home for not having valid permits. Contractors are worried “it would be impossible for us to complete our jobs within the stipulated period because our workers have run away”.
We heard it mentioned the other day that up in the cool clime of Cameron Highlands, vegetable and flower farm owners are beginning to feel the heat, too: some of their workers have gone into hiding.
And similar complaints from some taxi drivers: their income has reduced significantly because foreigners make up a big portion of their customers. Since the start of the Ops, not anymore.
Eateries and restaurants form the next big group of business to be affected. Your favourite Tomyam Stall might slow down its business as most if not all of the tomyam chefs come from southern Thailand and, without the proper documents, they would surely rush back home. Or lie low for a while.
And that is only after two weeks of the Ops. Three more months to go. Wonder how it would be.