Op to tackle illegals and squatters in Sabah only after Covid-19 curve flattened, says state's top cop

KOTA KINABALU: A special operation to tackle illegal immigrants and squatters in Sabah will be launched once the Covid-19 curve in the state is flattened, police commissioner Datuk Hazani Ghazali said.

He told reporters after the state-level vaccination programme launch on Thursday (March 4) that for the moment, the authorities did not want to risk exposing enforcement personnel to infection.

“After we flatten the curve, we will take appropriate action," he said when asked about viral messages concerning a squatter community, said to be from Semporna, in Sembulan near the city centre.

He also said any priority in the vaccination of immigrants would depend on the government.

Earlier, during the state-level National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme launch at the Federal Administrative Complex multipurpose hall here, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor, Hazani and Sabah Health director Datuk Dr Christina Rundi were the first three to be given the vaccine.

Besides frontliners like police and army personnel, several government leaders were vaccinated as well, including Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Dr Joachim Gunsalam, state Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun, and state Community Development and People's Wellbeing Minister Shahelmey Yahya.

Hazani said no anti-vaccine movements or talks have been detected in the state so far.

“We will continue to monitor and take the necessary action if so ... this includes monitoring online and discussions among individuals, ” he said.

Hazani said 4,338 police personnel are scheduled to receive the vaccine under the first phase, with a target of 11,000 to be vaccinated by April.

Hajiji, who met reporters after a 30-minute observation period following the jab, said he did not feel any pain after getting the vaccine.

“It is just like a normal injection... I feel fine," he said, urging the people not to listen to rumours about the vaccine because it has undergone research and analysis before getting approval from the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA).

Some 42,117 frontliners will be inoculated against Covid-19 under the first phase of the immunisation programme in Sabah.

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