LABUAN: The Home Ministry has directed the Immigration Department to enforce stricter control at two Labuan ferry terminals, especially for non-Sabahan travellers bound for the Sabah mainland.
Its Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said an allocation of RM200,000 had been approved for immediate action to be taken such as the setting up of specific checkpoint counters for non-Sabahans.
"Stricter control is needed to ensure there will be no free flow of travellers at the main gate of the ferry terminals to mainland Sabah via Tanjung Pagar Sipitang, Menumbok and Jesselton jetties.
"Based on data, the number of travellers from Labuan travelling to Sabah through these ferry terminals is about 700,000 annually which dropped 50% to 350,000 during the Covid-19 pandemic.
"And of the number, there are non-Sabahans as well, and there had been issues highlighted by the Sabah government on the abuse of the free flow policy at the terminals, resulting in (entry into Sabah) being out of control.
"My working visit today is to ensure these terminals will be given more attention for the safety of travellers in Sabah and Labuan...we never know (if the problem persists), travellers who are non-Sabahans could overstay in Sabah,” he said after visiting the roll on-roll off (ro-ro) ferry terminal here.
Hamzah said all travellers, including passengers (in vehicles via ro-ro ferry terminals), are subjected to immigration checks.
He said non-Sabahans are required to complete the required forms before they are allowed to travel to mainland Sabah.
"Foreigners must have their passports stamped by the immigration officer before passing through and this stricter control is upon the request of the Sabah government and I agreed to it,” he said. - Bernama