KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal questions the proposed plan to use the IMM13 immigration document to resolve the long-standing problem of stateless people in Sabah.
The Chief Minister said that the IMM13 was issued specifically for refugees fleeing the 1970s Filipino civil war.
"The document is recognised by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and lumping other long-staying migrants holding different passes into the IMM13 status could have different implications," he said.
As such, Shafie said that the use of such a document was not proper to include stateless migrants holding various other documents like the Federal Special Task Force census certificate as well as the Kad Burung-Burung issued by the state government in the 1980s and 1990s.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday (June 18) after launching the RM240mil second stimulus package for Covid 19, Shafie said that the issue of undocumented immigrants was under the federal Home Ministry.
“It is their right, it's not the state government's responsibility to resolve the illegal immigrants, ” he said when responding to the proposal by Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin that they will only recognise IMM13 documents.
Hamzah’s statement on Sunday (June 14) comes after plans by the previous Federal Government, under Pakatan Harapan, to issue Sabah Temporary Pass (PSS) to replace all three cards held by 136,055 stateless people.
Shafie said that then-home minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (now Prime Minister) proposed the PSS and now the new minister is suggesting for recognition of IMM13 documents that could make illegal migrants into refugees.
“There was so much opposition to the biometric-enabled PSS cards that they even held demonstrations against it during the Kimanis by-election. It was decided not to go ahead with the PSS, ” he said.
“I don’t want to quarrel with them with our fellow Sabahans, we must be united, have a common stand for the interest of Sabahans, ” he said in asking federal ministers Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, Datuk Jeffrey Kitingan and deputy Home Minister Datuk Jonathan Yassin to look at the proposed solution properly.
“In these sort of issues, when we (Warisan) moot an idea like PSS, it is wrong and but when they are appointed ministers, it is right to use such documents, ” he added.
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