JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - They were, as usual, using an illeg al path in the wee hours to bypass the Johor Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex to get to work in Singapore.
Their movements, however, were being watched by 55 state Immigration Department personnel as part of Ops Ikrar (Serkap) to monitor people who exit Malaysia illegally.
In the operation held on Monday between 4.30am and 8am led by Johor Immigration deputy assistant director Zulkifli Abd Rahman, 14 men, including a Singaporean, were nabbed.
Zulkifli said the men, in their 40s, were walking separately along the path near the railway tracks to sneak across the border without going through the Johor CIQ.
"When they realised our presence, they tried to run but we managed to arrest them," he said.
They are being detained at the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar CIQ complex under Section 5(2) and Section 56(1A)(a) of the Immigration Act.
"We want to remind the public who commute to Singapore for work to do so via authorised entry and exit points as it is a serious offence to use illegal routes.
"The department will not hesitate to take action against those found going against the law under the Immigration Act," said Zulkifli, adding that they would continuously monitor the situation to prevent people from leaving Malaysia illegally.
He also said that the operation was the second one after The Star reported on June 25 that some Malaysians working in Singapore were bypassing the Johor CIQ via the route as the Malaysian passport was electronic-based and does not need to be stamped.