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Malaysian authorities crack down on foreign begging in Johor

Malaysian authorities dismantle foreign begging networks, arresting individuals for visa violations, and illicit fundraising activities at the Iskandar Puteri night market.

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MALAYSIA – Malaysian authorities conducted a joint operation at the Iskandar Puteri night market in Johor on Tuesday (30 Jan). The operation, which involved multiple agencies, uncovered a network of foreign nationals engaged in illicit begging activities, purportedly to fund religious schools and institutions.

From the collaborative operation, authorities apprehended beggars from foreign countries capable of amassing up to RM10,000 (approximately US$2,100) per month.

These individuals, predominantly from neighbouring countries, allegedly solicited donations under the guise of supporting Tahfiz schools and religious establishments.

The revelation of this issue followed the detention of three Cambodian men and two Thai men by the Immigration Department, the Department of Social Welfare of the Johor Bahru District, and the State Department of Islamic Affairs of Johor.

According to Baharuddin Tahir, the Director of Immigration Johor, aside from the five foreign nationals, one Indonesian citizen and a woman managing a kiosk at the night market were also apprehended during the 18:30 operation.

“Some of them are persons with disabilities. These individuals can earn up to RM300 per day or RM10,000 (approximately SGD 2.8 thousand) per month,” Baharuddin stated, emphasizing that they ranged in age from 34 to 63 years old.

The individuals detained are alleged to have violated Section 6(1)(c) of the Immigration Act 1959/63 (Act 155) for lacking valid passports or permits to stay in Malaysia.

They are also accused of contravening Regulation 39(b) of the Immigration Regulations 1963 for violating visa requirements.

In another operation, public information led to the apprehension of 40 foreign nationals suspected of working without valid permits and overstaying their welcome in Malaysia.

Baharuddin disclosed that they were arrested during statewide patrols on 29 and 30 January. “Out of the 353 individuals examined, 40 were arrested. Among them were nine Nepalese males, five Bangladeshi males, Indonesian nationals (one male and two females), and Myanmar nationals (15 males and four females),” he clarified.

Additionally, two Indian men, one Indian woman, and a Cambodian man were arrested, all aged between 21 and 49 years old.

Baharuddin declared that they are under investigation for lacking valid passports or permits to stay in the country.

“They were also found to have violated Section 15(1)(c) of the Immigration Act 1959/63 (Act 155) for overstaying and Regulation 39(b) of the Immigration Regulations 1963 for breaching visa requirements,” Baharuddin explained.

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