Immigration admits failure in handling IMM13 crowd
Published on: Saturday, November 17, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: The Sabah Immigration Department has admitted its failure in handling the crowd of foreigners who swarmed its office in Kota Kinabalu last month to register for the IMM13 pass for their children.Its Director Datuk Musa Sulaiman (pic) said there was nothing fishy about the exercise, other than the department's inability to handle the thousands of people who turned up.

"The problem was we failed to handle the crowd until the whole thing went viral," he told a dialogue session on law for state assemblymen and Members of Parliament, Friday.

He said the registration exercise was to profile foreigners. Scenes at the immigration office went viral, causing suspicions among locals that the exercise was to issue them (foreigners) with citizenship.

Musa added that the registration exercise was also for security reason.

He explained that the issuance of the IMM13 passes was suspended in 2013 due to the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants in Sabah but he decided to resume it, saying it is a normal process by the department.

"But because it was done quietly, plus the sight of the crowd of foreigners swarming the immigration office, it raised suspicions among locals."

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal himself had reportedly said he was not told about the exercise.

The department later suspended it, saying in a statement that it was for the registration of children as IMM13 holders throughout Sabah and Labuan.

According to Musa, the department in the meantime is trying to find a way on how to handle crowds better.

"With only about 1,000 staff in Sabah, we (department) are short of manpower," he said. - Leonard Alaza


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