KOTA KINABALU: The first step is to immediately stop the flow of illegal immigrants into Sabah and the next is to prevent them from ever again obtaining documents fraudulently, declared Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan.
Pairin, who has been named chairman of the working commitee on foreigners in the state, said the security forces, especially those under the Eastern Sabah Security Command, must be more effectively deployed to prevent the influx of illegal immigrants.
“We have immigration laws and they must be fully enforced. Anyone who does not have proper documents should not be allowed in.
“We have enough of them here already,” said Pairin even as the Immigration Department announced that it would start a huge swoop on illegals in Sabah before the end of the year.
Pairin, however, said he was puzzled as to which panel he would be heading in dealing with the Sabah immigrant problem but intended to meet the relevant people before getting down to work.
The confusion over his appointment was due to a recommendation of the RCI report.
The commission’s recommendation was that a Permanent Secretariat supported by a management committee or alternatively a consultative council be formed to tackle the illegal immigrant problem.
However, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Ali Hamsa while announcing the Government’s agreement to the RCI recommendations, said Pairin would be heading a working committee.
Ali Hamsa stated that the Permanent Secretariat would be jointly headed by Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.
Pairin, according to Ali Hamsa, would head a working committee which would gather opinions, feedback and complaints from the public and channel it to the secretariat.
Asked about his appointment, Pairin said he was unsure of his role without knowing the exact terms of reference.
“The question now is: where do all these (the working committee, management committee or consultative council) fit in?” asked Pairin, the state Infrastructure Development Minister.
In Petaling Jaya, Immigration Department enforcement director Zahari Abdul Aziz said they would launch a coordinated effort to target illegals with fake identification cards in Sabah before year’s end.
He said the large-scale operation would involve agencies within the Home Ministry, including the police and the National Registration Department.
“Our main target is more than 60,000 illegals with the fake ICs,” he said yesterday.
Zahari said this would be the biggest operation against illegals in Sabah.
“We will not stop until we are satisfied that the illegals have been weeded out,” he said.
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