Hamzah: Foreigner card decision to resolve issue of illegals rests with Sabah leaders

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will need the political will to go ahead with the Home Ministry’s proposal to issue a special foreigner card as part of efforts to resolve the state’s long-standing illegal immigrant problem, says Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin (pic).

The Home Minister said the decision should come from the state leaders in the government.

Hamzah, who had proposed the card for foreigners to help resolve stateless issues, stressed that the card was not aimed at permanent residency or citizenship.

The Sabah government had rejected the proposal earlier this year.

Hamzah said the problem of undocumented foreigners was a “time bomb” that could set off more social problems that needed to be addressed.

“There are many parents and children born without documents but living in Sabah for a long time,” he said when launching the Pesta Kaamatan celebration in Kuala Penyu, about 120km south-west of the state capital here.

“We do not want social problems to gain a foothold in Sabah due to this,” he said.

He added that the foreigner’s card would also help in overcoming manpower needs in various industries as well as allow for enforcement agencies to weed out criminal elements among them.

On upgrading small police stations, Hamzah said all district police headquarters (IPD) throughout the country would be re-evaluated in an effort to elevate services in line with current needs.

He said the assessment was based on several criteria including the population density at each district.

“We have to understand that although there are many districts in Malaysia, the IPD we have developed are only fewer than 160 because we combine several districts into one IPD.

“When we want to develop an IPD, we not only look in terms of the status of the district but how many residents there are. All this is taken into account because members want to maintain security, not just to develop the area.

“But when we reach a certain level and there’s a need to raise it, then we will,” he said.

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