Sarawak may relax entry rules for Sabahans


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019

KOTA KINABALU: Sarawak will “one day” consider relaxing its immigration requirements for Sabahans entering the state, says Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg (pic).

He indicated that Sarawak was reluctant to do it now because of Sabah’s migrant problems, among other factors.

Abang Johari, who is on an official visit to Sabah, told this to reporters after attending a dinner hosted by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal here on Monday.

Sabah lifted its immigration requirements to allow Sarawakians to enter the state freely in 1984.

This move was supposed to be reciprocated by Sarawak in an agreement between the two states.

At present, Sarawakians can enter Sabah to work without the need to apply for a work permit.

Responding to questions about the long-delayed action to lift the immigration restrictions on Sabahans entering Sarawak, Abang Johari said there were no problems between Sabahans and Sarawakians but Kuching had to consider certain factors in Sabah.

The factors he was referring to were Sabah’s illegal immigrant and refugee problems.

“Perhaps one day we would want to relax it. So (that it becomes) a bit free flow between Sabah and Sarawak,” he said, adding that they had to look at other aspects too.

Sabah and Sarawak have control over immigration with Peninsular Malaysians required to obtain a work permit to work in the two states.

Meanwhile, the two chief ministers discussed areas of mutual interest such as tourism as well as oil and gas and hoped to build on each other’s strength to improve their socio-economic conditions.

Abang Johari and his Cabinet members also paid a courtesy call on Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin.


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