MIRI: Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) president Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing has openly expressed his concerns that there are too many foreign workers in the state, and many of them are believed to have entered Sarawak illegally.
Tiong, who is Bintulu MP and the Prime Minister’s special envoy to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, said there was an urgent need for a comprehensive survey to find out the exact number of foreign workers who were already in Sarawak, and to weed out the illegals and blacklist them.
He told Sarawak Metro in an email that many illegal foreign workers returned to Sarawak even after they had been arrested and deported back to their countries of origin.
“There is a need for stricter measures to stop such illegals from coming into the state,” he said.
“There are already too many foreign workers around, many working illegally in the construction, plantation and agriculture sectors and other industries as well as in the many services sectors.”
The Immigration Department must be more detailed in screening these foreigners, he said, adding that the surge in crimes committed by illegals was worrying.
Tiong said he had spoken to Bintulu Immigration Department head Wong Yan Qing on the latest issues surrounding migrant workers in Bintulu.
One of the factors that had resulted in the surge in entry of illegals, he said, was the rather weak punitive system in place.
“The penalty for illegals is too lenient. That is why those who had been arrested and deported will continue to make their way back to Sarawak.
“Unless we find a way to stop them, the problems caused by the influx of illegals will continue to worsen in the state,” he stressed.
Tiong said he would raise the issue on foreign workers again during the coming Dewan Rakyat session in Kuala Lumpur.
This issue needed to be tackled with the close cooperation of both the state and federal authorities, he added.
Sarawak depends heavily on foreign workers, especially in the construction, plantation, logging sectors and domestic help sectors.