Malaysia’s immigration authority has sacked 15 employees suspected of deliberately taking the nation's passport system offline for as long as two years in exchange for money.
At a press conference yesterday, Malaysia’s immigration department chief Datuk Seri Sakib Kusmi said up to 100 staff were suspected of being involved in the scheme, which he estimated had been running for between 6 months and two years, according to the Malaysian newspaper New Straits Times.
The country’s immigration system, called myIMMs, is used to record and screen travellers arriving into Malaysia.
The workers are suspected to have received financial benefits in exchange for deliberately sabotaging the operation of the system.
Local English-language newspapers have reported that myIMMS is downed by glitches on a regular basis, stopping airport officials from being able to check on incoming passengers and filter them against national and international watchlists.
It is suspected that the outages were deliberately set up to help organised criminals and people smugglers circumvent incoming passenger checks, and let certain individuals into the country undetected.
Sakib Kusmi said a total of 37 of his employees had already been subject to disciplinary action over the case, many of whom were stationed on the frontline at Malaysian border crossings.
The Malaysian government revealed last week that its Ministry of Home Affairs had established a taskforce to get to the bottom of the myIMMs outages, which had a particularly big impact on the busy Kuala Lumpur International Airport.