Malaysia's immigration authorities have threatened to arrest the heads of 12 companies for employing 427 Bangladeshis without work permits, news reports said Wednesday.
They can avoid being arrested by coming forward, admitting their mistake and paying the penalties, the Immigration Department's enforcement director Ishak Mohamed told local journalists on Tuesday. His comments were reported by major Malaysian dailies.
"I have ordered my men to start arresting the CEOs, company chairmen, directors or human resource managers ... There will be no mercy. We will charge them ... their companies will be blacklisted," Ishak was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times daily.
The department has records of all Bangladeshis entering the country, and 427 were found to be working illegally in the 12 companies, Ishak said. The Bangladeshi workers face arrest and deportation.
Ishak or his spokespersons were not immediately available for comment Wednesday.
Malaysia is a magnet for foreign workers, mostly Indonesians, who throng here to do menial jobs in palm oil plantations, restaurants and factories. Such jobs are spurned by Malaysians.
To avoid paying government levies and high salaries, many employers hire illegal workers _ people who come here on a short-term tourist visa and on its expiry blend into the local population to find jobs.