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Thursday July 17, 2008 MYT 8:32:12 PM

Crackdown on illegal immigrants in Sabah to start in August

KUALA LUMPUR: The massive crackdown on illegal immigrants in Sabah will start in August, says Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

An estimated 100,000 to 150,000 illegal immigrants are expected to be deported. They would include those without documents and those who have overstayed. The crackdown would be open-ended and continuous.

"This shows that the Government has the political will to resolve the issue of illegal immigrants in Sabah.

"We do not want this problem to recur,'' said Najib on Thursday after chairing a meeting on illegal immigrants with Sabah political leaders, Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar and others in Parliament.

He also said the Cabinet, in its meeting last Friday, had approved RM50mil for the purchase of equipment and expenses for the operation to be led by the police and state secretary to co-ordinate the move.

The operation would involve multi agencies such as immigration, armed forces, Rela and others.

"Home Ministry has also had bilateral talks with the Philippines and Indonesia on the operation to repatriate illegal immigrants,'' he said.

Najib also said the Home Ministry would discuss with the Women Development, Family and Community Ministry to handle street children and to have a place to house them.

The operation would start from the west part of the state as a detention transit camp is ready there, he said, adding that the operation would then move to the east coast.

The last crackdown on illegal immigrants in Sabah was in 2001.

On blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin being slapped with criminal defamation, Najib said: " I don't decide.''


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