Pass to help monitor illegals
Published on: Wednesday, September 11, 2019
By: Anthea Peter

KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (pic) said the issuance of the Sabah Temporary Pass (PSS) will enable the government to closely monitor foreigners in the State.

“It is better for us to coordinate and monitor them, rather than knowing nothing about where they are,” he said, adding that there are almost 500,000 documented foreigners in Sabah.

Shafie said the previous documents, namely the IMM13, Burung-Burung and Cencus cards are easily forged which makes monitoring difficult. 

“The major concern here is to stop (the forging of documents) by any irresponsible parties, so we grant them (foreigners) a temporary pass…it is not permanent. 

“It allows foreigners to be here, whether it is to work at plantations or certain places, but we monitor them closely,” he said, adding that there is a need for foreign workers.

He said the pass will enable relevant parties to know the exact number of foreign workers available and needed in the labour force. 

“Without them, I don’t think our plantations can sustain, this is why we need to be mindful and regulate them,’ he said.

Shafie also said taking stock of foreigners is especially important in light of Kalimantan soon becoming Indonesia’s capital, as it poses the possibility for Indonesian workers to move to the Kalimantan region in search of better opportunities. 

“That part of the region will develop very fast and I hope the workers in our plantations will not go there (Kalimantan). 

“If they go back to their home country we won’t have enough labour, the plantations would be badly affected…and we would have to manage that,” he said, adding that these are things to be cautious about.

Shafie said the long-standing issue of illegal immigrants cannot be resolved overnight, however he assured that the Home Affairs Ministry and the Immigration Department will look into ways to properly handle the issue.

“The system is done by the immigration, the State Government is involved because I need to know who these people are,” he said. 

Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin was reported as saying that the pass would be implemented by the Sabah Immigration Department starting June 1, 2020.

Reportedly, the pass would be a card equipped with security features such as biometrics, photo and thumb print. It would cost RM120 and renewable every three years.

Sabah is hoping to engage with the Philippine government to ensure its repatriated citizens do not return to the state.

Shafie said the government needs to put a stop to the thousands of Southern Filipinos deported every year who make their way back to the country.

“I have already indicated and discussed with Tan Sri Muhyiddin, if possible, to talk to the Philippine government as well, G to G, how to ensure that these people, once they’re back to their country ― they can come back here but they have to come with passport as well. We cannot just allow these people to penetrate all this, and go through these saluran tikus.

“These are the things we need to be very careful about,” he said when speaking to reporters.

On the recent reiteration from the Philippine government that it would continue its claim on Sabah, Shafie said that it was clear to the international community that Sabah was a part of Malaysia.

“There was a referendum done, it was quite clear, a legal decision, an international resolution,” he said, referring to the Cobbold Commission in 1962, which he recounted attending in his hometown of Semporna with his mother.

“Well, they can just speak louder and louder but the world knows about this.

“I was there with my mother in my hometown Semporna when the Cobbold Commission came down, asking whether we prefer to be in Malaysia... all our forefathers, relatives were shouting ‘why not’, so we have decided,” he said.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr recently reiterated that it would not back down from its decades-old claim on Sabah, adding that it would not set up an embassy in Kota Kinabalu, despite the large number of its citizens here.

The foreign ministry again stated that it did not recognise and will never entertain any claims by any party on Sabah.



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