KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal brushed off critics who raised concerns over the Sabah Temporary Pass (PSS), saying it was meant to ensure immigrants coould be monitored.
The PSS, which will be introduced next year, is expected to replace three types of documents previously issued to long-residing immigrants in Sabah. He added that the move was long overdue.
The PSS would standardise the documents and put a stop to those taking advantage of forging such documents previously, he said.
“This has been a long-standing (issue) since the report by the Royal Commission of Inquiry (on immigrants in Sabah).
“We want to do away with the three documents as people could just forge them and it would be difficult for us to monitor where these people are, so it is better for us to coordinate (with the temporary pass) and track where they are.
“With the temporary pass, they can be here, whether working on plantations or elsewhere, and we can monitor them closely.
“The Home Ministry and Immigration Department are responsible for managing this but the state government will monitor this closely, ” he told reporters yesterday.
Shafie also reasoned that there was a need to regulate immigrants so that Sabah authorities could keep tabs on how many such workers were needed in the state, especially with Kalimantan expected to house Indonesia’s capital in the future.
“In the long run, I worry. With the capital city in Kalimantan, I think the region will develop very fast.
“If Indonesians in plantations go back to their hometowns in droves, we won’t have enough labour and plantations will be badly affected.
“So we need to manage this situation, ” he said.
On the haze situation in Sabah, he said there were no bushfires here yet but it was crucial all parties stayed alert during the hot weather.
“We are not taking it lightly but are following what is happening around us.
“It is still manageable in Sabah for the time being, ” Shafie said.