KUCHING: Sarawak will not introduce any move to relax its immigration requirements for Sabahans to enter the state, without studying the matter thoroughly first.
The Chief Minister's office said Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had made it clear that the present arrangements with regard to Sabahans' entry into Sarawak still stood.
"This office wishes to clarify that what the Chief Minister said in response to a reporter's question in Kota Kinabalu recently did not in any way suggest that such a relaxation would be implemented without thorough and careful consideration of the social and geopolitical conditions, including problems of refugees," it said in a statement on Thursday (Oct 17).
The clarification came after several parties, including Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP) and Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB), voiced objections to Abang Johari's suggestion that Sarawak might one day consider relaxing its immigration requirements for Sabahans to enter the state.
Abang Johari had told reporters in Kota Kinabalu on Monday (Oct 14) that the state would have to consider certain factors, including Sabah's illegal immigrant and refugee problems, before lifting immigration restrictions on Sabahans entering Sarawak.
Sabahans currently use social visit passes or passports to enter Sarawak.
On Wednesday (Oct 16), SUPP president Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian said he was concerned by the possible unconditional entry of Sabahans into the state, as Sarawak's immigration autonomy was non-negotiable.
"Anyone who wishes to enter Sarawak must always comply with Sarawak’s immigration regulations and procedures, and this applies to both Peninsular Malaysians and Sabahans," he had said in a statement.
PSB also objected to the proposal, saying that those who wanted to enter Sarawak must go through the immigration process.