PUTRAJAYA, July 18 (Bernama) -- The Back For Good Program will be implemented from August 1 to provide opportunity for foreigners who commit an offense under the Immigration Act 1959/63 (Act 155) to return home voluntarily.
Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said immigrants who commit offenses such as overstaying and not having valid travel documents are allowed to return to their home countries with certain conditions through the program which will last until December 31.
"Compound payment of RM700 will be charged to foreigners who want to participate in this program," he told a news conference on the implementation of the program here today.
Foreigners involved are required to bring valid travel documents such as passports and emergency travel certificates as well as tickets for return to their home country within seven days, he said.
"The only program involving Peninsular Malaysia is fully implemented by the Immigration Department without the involvement of a third party vendor or agent," he said.
Muhyiddin said the Immigration Department would provide 80 counters with 200 officers in all of its offices throughout the country to make the initiative successful.
According to him, briefing sessions for foreign embassies and foreign high commissioners had been held on July 12 to ensure that they could issue travel documents to their respective citizens to participate in the program.
Muhyiddin said the illegal immigrants or defaulting employers would be subject to legal action and other illegal immigrants would be hunted through special enforcement operations shortly after the 'pardon' period ended.
"We are not sure of the actual number of illegal immigrants in the country but we hope 300,000 to 400,000 of them will take advantage of this opportunity," he said.
Asked whether the government would blacklist foreigners who joined the program from re-entering the country, Muhyiddin said it was one of the things involved in this program.
"Some say they should be banned for five years only, but if they have committed a long-term offense in the country, they can not be allowed to stay in the country," he said.
Meanwhile, Muhyiddin said the Immigration Department had lodged a police report on the disclosure of the National Audit Department about the manipulation and fraud in the Malaysian Immigration System (MyIMMs).
He said an open tender to develop a more comprehensive new system to replace MyIMMs has been opened for bidding.
On another note, Muhyiddin asked Wan Ji Wan Hussin to lodge a police report if an independent Muslim preacher felt the need to be defended regarding his claims of being beaten by a warden while in jail.
Through the report, he said, the police could investigate whether the allegations were justified or otherwise.
Wan Ji 37, reportedly claimed that he was beaten by a prison warden while in detention at the Kajang Prison on July 9.