Due to the highly sensitive issue of handling foreign tourists at entry points, frontline immigration officers have to tread very carefully in balancing their duties.
In saying this, department enforcement director Datuk Ishak Mohamed added that the last thing his men wanted to do was to stand in the way of the Government's target of attracting over 20 million tourists this year.
“We can be strict with foreigners but this may put off genuine tourists.
“But if we are asked to be harsh and strict to keep illegal immigrants out, then we will do our duty,” he said in an interview.
Ishak was responding to Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan's statement that there was a need for police and the immigration and customs departments to cooperate closely to keep away illegal immigrants.
Musa had remarked that enforcement and border checks on foreigners by immigration and customs officers were rather poor and wanted them to coordinate better with the police.
Ishak, who welcomed Musa's call, said that the measure would help greatly in warding off the entry of illegal immigrants.
Customs deputy director-general (management) Datuk Wazir Muaz said the department was willing to work closely with the police and immigration officers in conducting border checks.
“We are working out plans for cooperation with various agencies along the border,'' he said when contacted.
Source : STAR
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