Monday, April 28, 2008

Penang airport's poor security cause of influx of illegals - NST

BUTTERWORTH, Mon: April 28, 2008 By S. Arulldas

Poor security at the Penang International Airport in Bayan Lepas has been blamed for the influx of illegal workers in the state.

State Welfare, Health and Caring Society Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said the lax security at the airport allowed foreigners to enter the state and stay here illegally.

"Those arriving from certain countries, such as China and Indonesia where we have direct flights, can easily evade the immigration officials.

"They loiter around the arrival area, for instance at the shops or in the toilets, and wait for the queue at the immigration and customs to clear. When there are no longer officers manning the counters, they will walk out of the arrival area without being detected,” claimed Phee.

He said this after attending the International Workers Memorial Day event at a monument beside the Penang Bridge toll plaza in Prai yesterday.

Phee placed a wreath at the monument which was built in memory of those who sacrificed their lives during the construction of the Penang Bridge.

He said syndicates and employment agencies were aware of the lack of security at the airport and were taking advantage of the situation to bring in more illegal workers for the manufacturing sector.

"We are also aware of irresponsible employers who employ foreign workers at the expense of local workers," he said.

Asked whether the airport authority was aware of the problem, Phee said they should know of it as it was not a new problem and had been highlighted in the press before.

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