Batu Sapi MCA division chief Datuk Chew Kok Woh said some Sabahans were worried that the issuance of the PSS would eventually lead to an immediate approval of citizenship.
“Yes, we need these foreigners in many industry sectors in the state but giving these PSS may result in genuine Sabahans at the losing end,” he said.Chew urged the government to make the process transparent to avoid any abuse of power by the approving authorities.
These PSS are expected to be issued to more than 600,000 people, mostly Filipino refugees with the IMM13 (Immigration pass), who fled to Sabah in the 1970s, the Burung-Burung Card (issued by the state in the 1980s) and the card issued under the Federal Special Task Force census in the 1990s.
Quite a number of people have taken to social media to voice their concerns over the matter.
Some claimed that it was similar to the revival of the previous Project IC (done in the 1980s and 1990s) to grant foreigners, mainly Filipinos in Sabah, Malaysian citizenship.
Others are saying that it was not the proper way to tackle immigrant issues.
Separately, Bernama reported Datuk Liew Vui Keong as saying that the replacement of the IMM13 document for refugees was a reflection of the government’s earnestness to resolve the influx of undocumented immigrants into Sabah.
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said approaches on how to tackle the perennial problem was a regular topic at Cabinet meetings.
“So issuing the PSS, I believe, is only the first step by the Home Ministry, which is constantly finding ways to identify the immigrants in the country,” he said at an event in Batu Sapi, organised by the National Disaster Management Agency to present donations to fire victims.
Liew said hordes of Filipinos, reportedly fled to Sabah in the 1970s, following civil unrest in southern Philippines.
“It’s been several decades now and we can see that the situation in the neighbouring country has stabilised.
“Yet certain groups are taking advantage of the IMM13 document that could pose a threat to our security in regard to their identity,” he said.
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