PUTRAJAYA 2011/07/13: Police can’t catch thousands of suspected criminals among illegal immigrants because the planned biometric system to register illegal foreign workers doesn’t link the police’s and Immigration Department’s databases.
Police were initially optimistic that the biometric system, which starts today, would help them match more than 100,000 fingerprints found at crime scenes.
However, the system, which is being adopted by the Immigration Department to document immigrants, allows only oneto- one cross-checks on immigration details. This means that details of crimes will be unknown to the department.
So, although police may have the fingerprints of foreigners wanted for murders, rapes and armed robberies, the Immigration Department might unknowingly let them into the country. Those on the loose can walk free and return to commit crimes.
The system requires the department to store the index fingerprints of all foreigners. The police, however, would appreciate having handprints, which contain fingerprints of all 10 fingers and both palms, to match them to their registry.
The police’s own biometric fingerprint identification system (Biofis) has 1.3 million handprints of criminals, of which 25 per cent belonged to foreigners, and the more than 27 million Malaysians in the National Registration Department system.
Police attribute Biofis for raising their success rate in solving crimes to 170 per cent since it started two years ago.
They are also confident of solving about 2,000 cases by year-end, compared with last year’s 1,400 cases.
Bukit Aman Criminals Registrar superintendent Yusuh Mat Tais said when police busted a foreign gang in Johor recently, they solved 36 criminal cases linked to the gang.
Police cross-checked the suspects’ fingerprints with their registry of unidentified fingerprints found at crime scenes.
Police update their criminal database with 300 new entries a day, including those that cannot be matched with NRD or its records.
Police, fearing that the inaccessibility to the Immigration Department’s system would put the country at risk, want a foreigners’ management system that is as tight as that used in the United States.
Yusuh said the US, known for its stringent first-line screening of foreigners, handprinted those wanting to enter the country.
It then cross-checked the handprints with the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Homeland Security office to check if applicants were on wanted lists, he added.
The registrar is also pushing for amendments to the Criminal Registration Act, which limits the powers of the registrar in documenting criminals, including allowing only those convicted of crimes to be registered.
It is pushing for provisions to allow it to register crime suspects to be included in its database.