Claims of issuing MyKads not true
Published on: Wednesday, April 17, 2019
By: Bernama

KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (pic) has dismissed allegations that the State Government issued identity cards to illegal immigrants, saying only a Federal Government agency is empowered to issue such documents.

“We (Sabah government) do not issue identity cards and allegations that we gave identity cards to illegal immigrants are not true,” he told the Sabah Legislative Assembly Tuesday.

Mohd Shafie, the assemblyman for Senallang, said the State Government has taken firm measures to tackle the issue of illegal immigrants, including deporting those arrested by the security forces.

Foreigners caught without identification documents are sent back to their countries of origin and not held too long at the temporary detention centres although it cost the government a lot to tackle the illegal immigrant problem, he added.

He said Filipinos and Indonesians who are needed to work in the agriculture and construction sectors would be given work permits.

Responding to a supplementary question by his predecessor Sungai Sibuga Assemblyman Tan Sri Musa Aman on whether any illegal immigrants had been deported since the Warisan-led State Government took over, he said his government will continue the actions of the previous administration in sending back any illegal immigrants found in Sabah.

He said he had discussed with the Philippine government on how to ensure theirs citizens were managed and sent back.

“We know it is not easy to work with the Philippine government or the Indonesian government. To assist them in deportation requires documentation but that’s part of our job in order to send them.

“We have to send (them back) but we face various hurdles. Security is a priority for us and we want to ensure they are sent back.”

Replying to the original question by Tambunan Assemblyman Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan and Apas Assemblyman Datuk Nizam Abu Bakar Titingan on the state’s current security status following the arrest of 12 foreigners and a local on suspicion of involvement in terrorist activties, Shafie said it was under control and that the security forces are constantly working to conduct operations on the presence of these militant elements.

He said any unrest in the southern Philippines had the potential to affect the state’s security with an influx of their people into Sabah.

He said he was also chairing a security committee where if there was any influx of people (from Philippines), they will identify a border island to place them so they can no longer land directly on the Sabah mainland.

“This will be our new approach. We don’t want them to come to Sabah but will place them on the islands closest to their territorial border. We have to learn from the past during the 70s and 80s where due to pressure from the United Nations we had to take in this people. We can no longer allow these people to affect the state’s security.” 

Shafie said the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) has and will continue to conduct aggressive operations to prevent the entry of militants via Op Coral and Op Lanyak, among others. 

“In addition, exchange of information is continuously carried out apart from the joint operations at the Philippines and Indonesian (maritime) borders.”

To a supplementary question by Nizam on what action was taken by regarding concerns that the Pala’u (sea gypsy or Bajau Laut) people were acting as “eyes and ears” for the “intruders” from neighbouring countries, Shafie said such information, if any, should be forwarded to the government or relevant security bodies.

“As leaders, we shouldn’t give the perception that any one race is more dangerous than the other. It is wrong to blame just one race for such problems.

“It’s important to first get the right information. Give this information to us and the authorities will carry out thorough investigations. If proven true, we will follow through with the necessary actions,” he said.

In response to a question from Membakut Assemblyman Datuk Mohd Arifin Mohd Arif on the need to monitor religious extremist groups so they don’t pose a threat to the safety and security in Sabah, Shafie said the State Government will make changes to the law regarding religion in the State to prevent religious extremism from being spread in Sabah.

Shafie said this was to ensure that to ensure that extremist groups do not come and spread extremist religious teachings in the state.

“We do not want extremist teachings that can destroy unity and development in Sabah,” he said adding that the Islamic religious teachings in the country, Sunnah Wal Jamaah was one that practised the concept of moderation in religious life.

“Extremism in terms of race and religious base is very divisive and is very destructive. Therefore all a parties, whether political parties, Non Governmental Organisations or religious leaders must promote the values of moderation in life and the acceptance of it by society.

Shafie said as a Chief Minister for all Sabahans, he wanted to the culture of respect for all races and religions in the Sabah to be emphasized. 

“We will assist all races and religions with the spirit of unity and togetherness,” he said. – Bernama/Neil Chan



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