KUALA LUMPUR: The federal government did not give a blanket approval to provide identification documents to illegal immigrants if they take the Covid-19 vaccine, Parliament was told Wednesday (Sept 22).
Deputy Home Minister II Datuk Jonathan Yasin explained that there were cases of natives in the rural parts of Sarawak who had yet to obtain their identification documents.
"If they are locals who want to apply for identification documents, they need to follow all the existing rules and procedures in order to obtain it.
"It does not mean blanket approval for anyone, including illegal immigrants, who enter the country to automatically be given an identification card.
"This is inaccurate news in the eyes of the public," he said in reply to a supplementary question from Ahmad Hassan (Warisan-Papar) during Ministers' Question Time.
Ahmad had asked the Home Ministry to verify claims that illegal immigrants were given identification documents if they take the Covid-19 vaccination.
To the initial question, he said the Home Ministry, through the Immigration Department, always viewed the issue of illegal immigrants in this country seriously, which required a continuous strategy particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic to address the spread of the virus.
The Sarawak Immigration Department, he said, had implemented several strategic measures to control the entry of illegal immigrants throughout Sarawak, Jonathan added.
Among them was to close all border control posts at the border with Kalimantan, Indonesia during the movement control order period.
"Secondly, to limit the operating hours of the Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security (ICQS) between Sarawak and Kalimantan to between 9am and 3pm," he said.
He said similarly the operating hours of the ICQS between Malaysia and Brunei had also been limited.
"All foreigners who want to go to Sarawak must get prior approval from the State Disaster Management Committee before entering Sarawak," he added.