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Those to be given Sabah Temporary Pass needed: NGO
Published on: Wednesday, November 27, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: Yayasan Islam Sabah (YIS) appealed to Sabah leaders to support the government’s decision to issue Sabah Temporary Passes (PSS) to all foreign workers, especially to those who now hold various entry passes or other permits. 

This is the best solution for legalising these workers, its Chief Information Officer Amrun Derin said in a statement. 

He said Malaysian Government’s decision must have the full support of Sabah representatives at all levels – Cabinet and Parliament. 

“Sabah is well represented at the Malaysian national-level unless of course those leaders are not effective either as Cabinet Ministers or Members of Parliament. Nevertheless, as the Parliamentary system functions, Sabahans could replace their present representatives in both the Cabinet and Parliament at the forthcoming General Election 2023.

“The decision by the Malaysian Government to issue PSS, as announced by Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) President, was supported by Sabah representatives in whatever position they are with consideration to benefit Sabah as a whole.

“The figure of 600,000 mentioned somehow looks exaggerated. The figure quoted by the Chief Minister is correct or less than 200,000. Giving exaggerated figures is very dangerous which may create grounds for racial tension. 

“It must be acknowledged that these people reportedly holding various permits or even illegals are Suluk, Bajau and Bugis working and productive. They are servicing the economy, without them Sabah’s economy will come to a standstill,” he claimed.

Amrun said it is interesting to see the figures based on the economic contribution by these Suluks, Bajau and Bugis at 200,000 people. 

“Sabah has over three million acres of oil palm, which require 150,000 workers to harvest. This sector (oil palm) alone represents around 80pc of Sabah’s GDP. 

“Apart from plantations these workers also dominate the construction sites, whatever limited manufacturing establishments that exist in Sabah and various services and restaurants. Now compare these figures with the locals from Kota Belud or Sandakan.

“What percentage of them is actually working in the plantations and the construction industry? It is a known fact that these locals from Kota Belud and Sandakan are reluctant to work in these sectors. 

“These two districts were mentioned as they are the same people of the 200,000 to be given PSS, but the question is why these same people from these districts are not prepared to work in the plantation and construction industry? It is also a known fact that Chinese contractors have a preference to employ Suluks as workers,” he said.

He said Sabah needs them for reasons, among others, including that the Sabah Chief Minister has confirmed that the PSS holders would not be given Permanent Resident or citizenship; to eliminate illegal immigrant and illegals presence in Sabah; and for employers to feel assured of workers and steady production. 

And also because presently in just oil palm plantations alone it was reported that more than 30pc is not being harvested due to shortages of harvesters. 

“This is partly due to the numerous permits and regulations and the difficulty to obtain passes. Cash flow income to Sabah is RM12 billion, and loss of 30pc means RM4 billion – lots of money yearly. These workers will have security, and therefore reduce wrong doings, and their earning will provide cash flow to Sabah. 

“With everybody in Sabah having legal papers, there will also be less work for the security forces who can then concentrate on going after real criminals. The PSS will standardise and simplify documentation and therefore facilitate the process of identification and operation,” he said, adding Sabah needs these workers badly, are of Malay stock whether from the Philippines (Suluk and Bajau) or Indonesia (Bugis), they are the people, the so called Malay population of Sabah.

“Based on these facts, it is urged that both Malaysian and Sabah Government and opposition leaders must remember, how far can a worker (human) tolerate harassments? Therefore, if Malaysia and Sabah are not happy with these workers, the day will come when they will just simply return to their country irrespective of the conditions in their own country,” he said, adding if this happens Malaysia and Sabah must recruit workers from elsewhere where these countries will impose strict terms and conditions.

Every country in the world despite their large population employ foreign workers, he said, adding this is also true of Asean countries. 

“Thailand with a 100 million population, employ more than a million foreign workers from Indo-China. Sabah borders Indonesia and the Philippines with populations between 100 to 300 million and has vast areas of land. Kalimantan alone has an area of 50 million hectares and at least 50pc of the area can still be developed for plantations. 

“Do not worry both Philippines and Indonesia will be fully developed, agriculturally and industrially. Look at Vietnam 10 years ago the country was destroyed by the Americans. Today Vietnam is agriculturally and economically better than Malaysia. There are more American and European tourists to Vietnam than Malaysia. If pressured with uncertainty, these Suluks, Bugis and Bajau may just simply return to their original country. 

“That will be that. They will survive in their country. It is wrong to perceive that if they returned to their country, they will have no jobs or “makan”. Sabahans must take note that Indonesia has overtaken Malaysia economically both plantation and manufacturing,” he said.

Years ago there was talk that if the Suluk, Bugis and Bajau pulled out of Sabah, Sabah will employ Russians as harvesters of oil palm. If this were to happen, it would definitely create another tourist attraction, which Sabah is desperately always on the lookout for.

“Over the years a number of plantations have sent their workers to Nunukan to renew their passports, thousands chose not to return to Sabah as there were plenty of plantation job opportunities in Kalimantan with equivalent pay as in Sabah. As a matter of uttermost important there is no harassment by the authorities there.

“Therefore, the proposal to make these foreign workers legal, the issuance of PSS is the best solution,” he said. It would contribute greatly to the increase in economic productions,” he said.

 



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