Review on permits of foreigners
Published on: Wednesday, December 05, 2012
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Kota Marudu: Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili has asked the District Council to review the trading licences of a number of foreigners who have set up businesses in the district.It is believed to be the first such concrete action initiated by any local authority in the State.

He said many had questioned the presence of the foreigners who had opened up shops in the town area and there was a need to vet them to ensure they were legitimate.

In his speech at a gathering with the people at Dewan Hatob in Kpg Lotong here, Tuesday, the Kota Marudu MP said he had asked the Council at its Monday meeting to investigate the complaints from Kota Marudu folks on the presence of foreigners in the district.

"We need to review their trading licences and also check whether they and their workers possess proper papers, including valid and legal trading licences, identity and travel documents.

"While we welcome investors from overseas and outside the state to set up businesses in Kota Marudu, they and their foreign workers must be law-abiding and contribute to the development of the community," he said.

The matter was raised following public reaction to the recent case of 16-year-old Norikoh Saliwa whose body was found by the roadside in Kota Marudu on Nov 25. A Pakistani suspect has been detained.

"Arising from the murder case, the public have been questioning the presence of foreigners involved in many businesses in Kota Marudu and we are following up on this matter," he said.

Dr Ongkili added that the council also discussed the issue of illegal immigrants and public sentiment against it.

"Rest assured we will never protect illegal immigrants, let alone those who commit crimes against our people," he told the people.

Dr Ongkili pointed out that Kota Marudu is the district with one of the lowest crime index in Sabah, with 64 cases (measured by serious crimes and those involving property) from January to November this year, compared with 74 cases during the corresponding period last year.

"Unfortunately, the recent violent crime has not only shaken the community but shows that crime can happen despite strict law enforcement in our district.

"We also urge the police and other enforcement agencies including Rukun Tetangga to step up efforts and vigilance to safeguard the community's safety," he said.

A previous Daily Express investigation into the increasing number of foreigners operating businesses in many parts of the State, including sundry shops, was found due to them entering into arrangements with local women, usually single mothers, whereby they would enter into marriage and operate the business using the spouse's name.

It was also understood that in some cases, the liaison was in name only with the so-called spouse being paid up to RM500 or RM1,000 monthly in return.


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