Monday, March 15, 2010

Database to carry tourists' info too

PUTRAJAYA: The proposed national database on foreigners will have the personal particulars of everyone, including tourists, entering the country.

"Even those coming under the Malaysia, My Second Home programme will be in it," Immigration director-general Datuk Abdul Rahman Othman said yesterday.

Foreigners would be in for more stringent screening once the database kicks in.

However, Rahman said, this would not affect the government's efforts to make it easier for expatriates to work in the country.

He said the database, likely to be managed by his department, was not meant to usurp the jurisdiction of other agencies.

"We just cannot work in isolation on this issue any more.
"For example, the International Trade and Industry Ministry will tell us that they need 30,000 foreign workers for the electronic sector.

"But they will not know if the foreigners they had previously hired are still in the country. So, the demand could just continue to increase even if the foreigners are already in the country".

Asked when the database will be implemented, he said it was up to Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, who would have to brief the prime minister and deputy prime minister, and work out the details on the management of foreign workers.

Hishammuddin's special officer, Datuk Michael Chong, started the ball rolling on Thursday by asking all restaurants to submit a list of their foreign workers by the end of the month.

Hishammuddin had previously said the database was to allow for more effective monitoring and enforcement.

The foreigners' activities would be recorded throughout their stay in the country and enforcement agencies would be able to access the latest information on them.

There are about 1.6 million foreign workers in the country, with an equal number of illegal immigrants. - NST

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