The Immigration Department has begun a large-scale operation to flush out illegal immigrants after the deadline to apply for the temporary Enforcement Card (E-Card) expired at midnight last night.

An operation led by its director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali raided two workers' dormitories at Batu 7 Kapar, Klang with a team of 86 officers from the Selangor and Putrajaya Immigration Department.

In the raid, 239 foreign workers were screened and it was found 51 of them, including 12 women, had no valid travel documents and had overstayed.

Mustafar said the detained illegal immigrants gave various reasons for not having applied for the E-Card, among them not knowing the deadline for the application and that the employer had informed them that the E-Card application period would be extended.

"Here I want to stress that the expiry date for the E-Card application will not be extended, we have given ample time to foreign workers and employers to register, and we have also requested cooperation from the respective embassies of the illegal immigrants to make announcements about the E-Card," he told reporters after completing the two-hour operation.

Mustafar said there would be no compromising with employers and illegal immigrants who were found to have no documents and that operations to hunt down these illegals would be carried out on a daily basis.

The E-Card will act as a temporary validation to allow foreign workers who do not have valid documents to work here.

The card, however, will expire on Feb 15 next year and before that time the cardholder must obtain a valid travel document from the embassies of their respective countries for the purpose of obtaining a work permit or face deportation.

Only 23 per cent or 161,056 foreign immigrants had registered until 10pm last night, two hours before the end of the registration deadline at midnight.

It comprised 28,375 employers with a total of 145,571 E-Cards issued, which was much lower than the original target of 600,000 illegal immigrants.

In JOHOR BAHRU, the Immigration Department checked 680 foreign workers before detaining 315 of them including 20 women in operations conducted at three plastic factory premises in Taman Gembira, Tampoi industrial estate.

Johor Immigration Director Datuk Rohaizi Bahari said all of them, comprising 175 Bangladeshis, Nepalese (90), Myanmar (26) and Indians (24), aged between 20 and 40, were detained in 'Ops Mega' from 9am to noon in a raid involving 70 Immigration officers and personnel.

He said since Feb 15 until yesterday, 11,041 foreign workers in the state had been registered for the E-Cards by 2,645 employers.

In ALOR SETAR, 20 illegal immigrants, comprising 14 Indonesians, five Bangladeshis and a Myanmar national, were arrested in a raid at a supermarket construction site in Ampang Jajar here.

Kedah Immigration Department director Zuhair Jamaludin said in the raid, a 35-year-old employer was arrested under Section 56 (1) (d) of the Immigration Act for employing an illegal immigrant.

Zuhair said until the E-Card application deadline ended at midnight last night, only 4,949 E-Cards had been issued in the state compared to the 10,000 cards targeted.

In KOTA BHARU, 147 foreign male workers were arrested in a raid at an affordable housing project area here. They comprised 132 Bangladeshis, 10 Pakistanis and five Indonesians, aged between 25 and 50.

Kelantan Immigration Department director, Wan Mohamed Saupee Wan Yusoff said the raid which started at 11am was conducted by 31 officers and personnel of the department.

He said 1,091 illegal immigrants in the state applied for the E-Card through 229 employers.

In MELAKA, 204 foreign workers were screened before 23 illegal immigrants, including a woman, were detained in a special E-Card operation at a construction site around Batu Berendam, Tanjung Minyak and Bukit Rambai.

Melaka Immigration deputy director Abu Bakar Sidek Hasan said all the detainees, comprising 11 Bangladeshi men, eight male Myanmar nationals, two Pakistani men and one male and one female Indonesians, were aged between 25 and 50.

In the meantime, he said 5,172 illegal immigrants in the state were present to apply for the E-Cards from Feb 15 until yesterday, but the number was lower than the 8,000 targeted by the Melaka Immigration Department.

In IPOH, 35 illegals, comprising 22 Myanmar nationals, Nepalese (nine), Indonesians (three) and a Bangladeshi as well as one local employer were detained in raids on industrial and construction sites in Menglembu here.

Perak Immigration Department senior deputy assistant director Suhairie Bah Ali said, the raid carried out from 8.30am to 12.30pm, involved 26 officers and personnel of the Perak Immigration Department and Langkap Immigration Detention Depot.

Meanwhile, Perak Immigration deputy director Sharmanrizal Rustam said 7,168 illegal immigrants applied for the E-Card in Perak from Feb 15.

In KUALA TERENGGANU, 36 illegal immigrants were arrested in raids under 'Ops Ikrar' in Marang and Kuala Terengganu today.

Terengganu Immigration Department assistant director, Azlinawati Mohd Zulbi said all those detained did not have any identification documents, had overstayed in the country and did not have valid work permits.

In KUANTAN, Pahang Immigration Department Enforcement chief, Sayed Abdul Rahman Syed Mahmud said 10 foreign nationals, comprising four Bangladeshis, three Indonesians and three Myanmar nationals were detained in raids at several locations here.

He did not rule out the possibility that the foreigners would have fled and hid before the operation was conducted or had returned to their hometowns

In the meantime, he said only 3,629 illegal workers and 1,318 employers had registered for the E-Card programme since Feb 15.

In Seremban, 23 foreign nationals, comprising 18 Indonesians, four Indians and a Bangladeshi were detained under 'Ops Ikrar' in 11 locations here.

Negeri Sembilan Immigration Department director Rahim Hanaffi said the operation, involving 20 personnel started at 12am and came to an end at 1pm.

In KOTA KINABALU, 462 immigrants were checked before 69 illegal workers and four employers were arrested in Sabah Immigration's 'Operasi Mega' conducted simultaneously at 10 main districts in the state for three hours starting from 10am.

Mustafar said, of the total, 34 illegal immigrants were detained in Kota Kinabalu, Keningau and Tenom (13), Tawau (11), Semporna (six), Sandakan and Kudat two respectively and one in Lahad Datu.

Those detained were Filipinos and Indonesians, aged between 18 and 65, he said in a statement.

In GEORGE TOWN, 8,023 illegal immigrants were registered under the E-Card application programme since it was launched on Feb 15, said Penang Immigration Department director Meor Hezbullah Meor Abdul Malik.

He said based on statistics, it was believed there were still employers who had not registered their foreign workers under the programme.

"We're going all out to get those who refuse to help reduce the number of illegal immigrants in Penang," he told reporters after the E-Card Special Ops in four factories here, today.

In the operation, 92 foreign workers were inspected with 23 of them, aged between 20 to 30, being detained because of various immigration offences, including employers failing to apply for E-Cards.

According to him, 1,990 employers in the state applied for the E-Cards, foreign workers who obtained the cards were 58 per cent Bangladeshis, Indonesians (10.9 per cent), Myanmar nationals (21.8 per cent), Nepalese (1.2 per cent), Indians (0.4 per cent) and others (1.3 per cent).

In KUCHING, the Sarawak Immigration Department did not carry out any operations to nab illegal immigrants as it had not implemented the E-Card programme as in the other states.

However, its director Ken Leben said the department was always conducting operations to check and arrest illegal immigrants.