PUTRAJAYA: The Immigration Department has shot down Indonesia's request to extend the Enforcement Card (E-Card) programme, stressing that the June 30 deadline was final. Its director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali has instead vowed to push for maximum penalty for employers who are found guilty of hiring illegal foreign workers, including jail time and whipping. "No, we will not extend the period for the E-Card application. It's a total no. We have decided, and the decision is final. "(Deputy Prime Minister) Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has also said this before," he told a press conference after attending the immigration's Aidilfitri celebration, here, today. Indonesian Manpower Minister M. Hanif Dhakiri had, on Monday, urged Malaysia to extend the E-Card programme, claiming that the crackdown on illegal foreign workers here has forced hundreds of Indonesians to flee. It was also reported that Indonesian authorities would meet with their counterparts here to discuss the matter. Mustafar said he was open to any discussion, but maintained that any decision on policies are to be made by Ahmad Zahid. He also issued a stern warning to employers hiring illegal immigrants, vowing maximum possible penalties under the present law against the perpetrators. "Canning has been done before against employers. So yes, will push for the maximum penalty. "This is not only to give a message to the others, but because we have given ample time for them to register their foreign workers," he said. Mustafar explained that employers who hire five illegal immigrants or more face a maximum fine of RM10,000, imprisonment and three strokes of the cane. He pointed out that up to yesterday morning, a total of 63 employers have been detained by the immigration under Ops Mega since June 30. In addition, 3,116 illegal immigrants have also been arrested under the operation, which Mustafar claimed to be the biggest haul by the department in a 10-day period. On claims of overcrowding in the detention centres for illegal immigrants, he said the issue does not arise. "Before Ops Mega commenced, we have ensured that most of the detainees at the depots have been deported first," he said, adding that almost 30,000 illegal immigrants have been sent back to their home countries since early this year.