KOTA KINABALU: The Home Ministry has to set specific deadlines in its plan to rid Sabah of illegal immigrants, says Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) information chief Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.
Welcoming Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin’s stern warning to undocumented migrants to leave Sabah or risked being arrested, Bangkuai said that such a timeline would not only assure Sabahans of the Federal government’s seriousness, but also ensure a smooth and successful implementation of the action plan.
Hamzah told Parliament on Tuesday (Aug 4) that they would be holding a massive operation to arrest illegal immigrants and deport them to their countries of origin.
In a statement Wednesday (Aug 5), Bangkuai said the deportation should also include long-staying migrants holding various documents including Kad Burung-Burung and the Census certificate.
“It is heartening to note that Hamzah is serious in honouring his pledge to rid Sabah of its long-standing illegal immigrants’ problem, ” Bangkuai said.
PBS, he said, was also relieved to note Hamzah’s assurance that no new IMM13 cards would be issued.
He said the Home Minister’s assurance should dispel allegations that illegal immigrants in Sabah would be issued with the IMM13 card, which is meant for war refugees.
PBS also hoped that the government would take the necessary steps to prevent those deported from re-entering the state by carrying out close surveillance and regular patrolling along the coast.
Bangkuai, together with senior party members, raised the illegal immigrant issue during a meeting with Deputy Home Minister Jonathan Yasin in Putrajaya on Tuesday (Aug 4).
“The Deputy Minister told us that he was involved in all Ministry discussions about solving the illegal immigrants’ problem and to provide Sabah's perspective.
“Jonathan was also very receptive to our suggestions and promised to convey it to the Minister. So, we were excited when the Home Minister made the statement in Parliament," Bangkuai added.
He said those repatriated could seek a return and find employment in Sabah, but with proper documents.
"Although we want to rid illegal immigrants off Sabah, being a reasonable, realistic and practical party, PBS still welcomes them to work in sectors in need of their manpower – but with proper and legal documentation from their government," he said.
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