KOTA KINABALU: A report by a high-level panel on proposals to deal with Sabah’s longstanding immigrant problem is being drafted and will be completed soon, said Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan.
He declined to say when the report by the Technical Committee on Foreign Migrant Management would be ready.
“I am working on that. But suffice to say it will be as soon as possible,” said Pairin.
He said the technical committee chaired by him had submitted a number of preliminary reports over the year to a joint Federal-state ministerial committee on Sabah’s illegal immigrant problem.
Pairin, who is the Infrastructure Development Minister, said among the actions taken so far were the detention and deportation of tens of thousands of illegal immigrants every year.
However, he also noted that comprehensive measures at stemming the inflow of illegal immigrants should start at the source countries themselves.
Citing an example, he said peace and development were crucial in southern Philippines to discourage Filipino nationals from that part of the country from entering Sabah.
Pairin’s remarks came in the wake of criticism from some Sabah Barisan Nasional party and opposition leaders that the technical committee had yet to come up with any proposal to deal with the illegal immigrant problem here.
Pairin was appointed chairman of the technical panel last year in the wake of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) report on Sabah’s immigrant problem.
The technical committee was tasked to obtain feedback about ways to tackle the problem.
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