Fri, 22 Sep 2023


Sabah’s migrant card too lenient: Warisan
Published on: Tuesday, June 28, 2022
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Sabah’s migrant card too lenient: Warisan
The Sepanggar MP (left pic) said that while the Federal Government is conducting a re-calibration programme on undocumented foreigners in Peninsular Malaysia, it seems to be doing the opposite in Sabah.  
Kota Kinabalu: Opposition Parti Warisan (Warisan) on Monday warned against a federal proposal to issue special foreigner’s cards to illegal migrants in the State, calling such a move far more lenient than the previously proposed Sabah Temporary Pass (STP).

Its Youth Chief Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman  said unlike STP, which was aimed at 136,055 holders of the IMM13, Kad Burung-Burung and census certificates in Sabah, the new proposal does not provide information on how many people would be receiving the cards.

“It is important that the Government state the actual figure of foreigner’s cards that are going to be distributed so that people are clear on what they are supporting,” he said in a statement. The Sepanggar MP said that while the Federal Government is conducting a re-calibration programme on undocumented foreigners in Peninsular Malaysia, it seems to be doing the opposite in Sabah. He said it is as though the Government is legalising the illegal immigrants in the State by giving them the foreigner’s cards. “The objective of the foreigner’s card is far from STP because it is not only for the datafication of migrants in Sabah; it also legalises the illegal immigrants who have entered the State illegally,” he said.

He noted that STP was aimed at having a single document to standardise official documents issued by three separate agencies. The STP was proposed during the short-lived rule of Pakatan Harapan (PH) from May 2018 to February 2020 over the country. It was meant to resolve Sabah’s illegal immigrant problem by standardising a single documentation to replace the IMM13, Kad Burung-Burung (issued by the Chief Minister’s office from 1986 to 1988) and census certificates.

It was also mooted when Warisan, which was then an ally of PH, ruled over Sabah from May 2018 to September 2020.

Azis questioned the rationale of now issuing the foreigner’s card when it would encourage more migrants to enter the State illegally through hidden paths because they will only need to legalise their stay in Sabah by applying for the card. He reiterated that it is different from STP, which provided for those who have illegally entered Sabah and use fake documents to be arrested and deported. “Those who opposed STP said it will encourage more illegal immigrants coming into Sabah, are now accepting the foreigner’s card that is clearly far more lenient than the STP. “Legalising illegal immigrants who had illegally entered Sabah with a foreigner’s card clearly has security implications, especially in Sabah, that has illegal immigrant issues since tens of years ago,” he said. Recently, Warisan President Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal called for transparency in its implementation to avoid abuse.

He said the matter requires analysis before he can support the items proposed by the Undocumented Foreign Workers and Foreign Nationals Special Committee in Sabah. On February 10, federal Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin, after chairing the Sabah Migrant Management Committee meeting in Putrajaya, said the Government was mulling approving the Sabah Government’s proposal to issue the migrant cards to all foreigners in Sabah. The announcement elicited heavy criticisms from State opposition leaders toward the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) coalition which presently governs the State. 

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