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Come-up with timeline for illegal immigrants operation

KOTA KINABALU, Aug 5, 2020:

The Home Ministry should come up with a clear timeline of its action plan to rid Sabah off from the large presence of illegal immigrants, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) Information Chief Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said.

In welcoming Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin’s stern warning to undocumented migrants in Sabah to leave the State or risked being arrested, Bangkuai said that such a timeline would not only serve to assure Sabahans of the government’s seriousness but also ensure a smooth and successful implementation of the action plan.

Hamzah, in Parliament, yesterday said that as part of a concerted effort to flush out illegal immigrants off Sabah, a massive operation would be carried out, followed by deportation to their countries of origin. 

Bangkuai said the deportation should also include holders of Kad Burung-Burung and Sijil Banci which are nothing more than a piece of paper to confirm their status as illegal immigrants.

“It is heartening to note that Hamzah is serious in honouring his pledge to rid Sabah off from the long-standing illegal immigrants’ problem,” Bangkuai said.

PBS is also relieved to note Hamzah’s assurance that no new IMM13 would be issued which is consistent with a suggestion contained in the party’s memorandum handed to him during his visit to Sabah in mid-June this year.

The Minister’s assurance should dispel the allegation by certain quarters that illegal immigrants in Sabah would be issued with the IMM13 which are meant for war refugees.

It is also hoped that the government would take the necessary steps to prevent those deported from re-entering the State by keeping close surveillance and regular patrolling along the coast especially all ‘jalan tikus’ (illegal routes).

Bangkuai added that earlier yesterday, he and PBS Vice President Datuk Dr Joachim Gunsalam, PBS Secretary-General Datuk Jahid Jahim, and his assistant Julita Majungki raised the issue in a meeting with Deputy Home Minister Jonathan Yasin at the latter’s office in Putrajaya. 

“The Deputy Minister told us that he was very much in the thick of the action in all discussions in the Ministry about solving the illegal immigrants’ problem and to provide the Sabah perspective to the issue.”

“Jonathan was also very receptive to our inputs and promised to convey it to the Minister.”

"So we were excited when the Home Minister made the statement in Parliament yesterday (Aug 4)," he said. 

Bangkuai added that those repatriated may return and seek employment in Sabah, but with proper documents. 

"Although we want to rid illegal immigrants off Sabah, being a reasonable, realistic and practical party, PBS still welcomes them to work in sectors in need of their manpower, but with proper and legal documentation from their government, " he said. 

Bangkuai also hopes that the Ministry would continue to engage like-minded local leaders on the issue.

“It is crucial to get local inputs and to understand the sentiments on the ground to avoid any misconception on the government’s efforts to effectively deal with the problem.”

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