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Special pass details are lacking, says Upko
Published on: Wednesday, September 11, 2019
By: Leonard Alaza

KOTA KINABALU: State Government coalition partner Upko welcomed the move to issue a special temporary pass (PSS) to the estimated 600,000 foreigners in the State now holding three types of documents.

However, it said the Government still had to answer some critical questions raised by the rakyat before implementing it.

“On the outset, to issue the three-year temporary identity cards looks like a good move to regularise three different documents into one and as one of the steps towards solving the presence of illegal immigrants in Sabah. 

“However, for the last two days (during) the Majlis Kewarganegaraan dan Pembinaan Negara Bangsa, Upko has been monitoring grassroots response and found that in most cases, there were negative reactions.

“The people’s main worry is that the issuance of this temporary identity document or PSS will make it easier for illegal immigrants to eventually obtain Malaysian citizenship,” said party Deputy President Senator Datuk Donald Peter Mojuntin (pic). 

According to Mojuntin, their worries stem from the suddenness of the announcement and from so many things that the rakyat are not clear with. 

“For example, they know that the IMM13 was issued to Filipinos fleeing from civil strife in the southern Philippines in the early 70s. But it’s been nearly 50 years and the situation in the Southern Philippines have been stable for a long time already. 

“Why are these IMM13 holders still here? Other questions are what exactly are ‘Kad Burung-burung’ and ‘Sijil Bancian’? Why were these documents issued in the first place? Who were they issued to? 

“This question is important because if these documents were issued to illegals, then allowing the holders of these documents to apply for PSS now is tantamount to legalising them.

“Another crucial question is whether the Kad Burung-burung and Sijil Bancian are legal identity documents according to the laws of Malaysia? If so, when did they become so? Are these documents renewable or a one-off issuance? 

“If each of these documents were issued for different reasons, is it wise to just lump them together and convert them to PSS? PSS is renewable every three years. 

“What are the criteria or conditions that need to be satisfied before any application is renewed? In other words, is there any limit as to how many times the PSS is renewed or is it open ended? 

“Another pertinent question is whether holders of PSS are eventually allowed to apply for Malaysian citizenship?” 

Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had said last week that the government was concerned about there being three separate documents issued by the Federal and state government for immigrants in Sabah over the years.

He was referring to the IMM13, Burung Burung and Census certificate held by immigrants which complicates enforcement, especially on the records of their presence in Sabah.

He said the PSS will be issued by state Immigration Department starting June 1 next year. It will have biometric, fingerprints and profile picture and to be renewed every three years at a cost of RM120.

Mojuntin said any move to issue identity documents to foreigners or immigrants must be done in a transparent manner. 

Otherwise, the “rakyat’s” perception will always be negative, despite good intentions on the part of the government.

“What needs to be understood and accepted by all concerned, especially by the Federal Government is that due to the long standing problem of illegal immigrants in the State, genuine Sabahans are highly sensitive to any move that can be construed as legalising those who entered Sabah illegally and those who overstayed with expired visa. 

“So, if the Ministry of Home Affairs wants to provide a solution to this perennial problem, it should be transparent to Sabahans who are being overwhelmed by the presence of at least 1.7 million immigrants. 

“We should be informed sufficiently and clearly how effective any government policy is to curb and resolve the Sabah illegal immigration problem once and for all. Sabahans are fed up with piecemeal solutions. 

“The Government should come up with a complete and comprehensive sets of short term, medium term and long term solutions. Furthermore, the Government should continuously engage the ‘rakyat’ through its relevant agencies, answer their queries and alleviate our worries. 

“The people of Sabah must be convinced of the Federal government’s resolve and determination to rid the State of this illegal immigrant problem,” he said.

Sabah PKR Vice Chairman Kenny Chua suggests it is time for a Sabah IC to be introduced to original Sabahans, in addition to the PSS for migrants.

He said the issuance of PSS and Sabah ICs to foreigners and genuine Sabahans, respectively, would once and for all put all the millions of people in the state in their proper place.

“It’s good that the Government wants to better manage foreign nationals in the state through the issuance of the PSS. As our Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had said, the move will ensure more effective enforcement due to the availability of centralised and standardised data of immigrants.

“But on the other hand, let’s also have a headcount and profile on our own people. We can do this by introducing a Sabah IC to only the genuine locals,” he said.

Chua, who is also Sabah Assistant Finance Minister, stressed that the issuance of a Sabah IC does not mean that Sabahans want to segregate themselves from the rest of the country.

Instead, the document would profile who are the genuine Sabahans as much as the foreign nationals residing in the state with the PSS.

On data security, Chua also proposed the government to explore the use of technology like Blockchain to ensure that data cannot be tampered or manipulated.

Warisan Sabah deputy president Datuk Darell Leiking had last year also expressed hopes to see a Sabah IC materialise under the new State Government.

 



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