Move to resolve illegal immigrant problem via digital data

For the people: Hajiji (left) handing over the Malaysian Incentive Community Empowerment (My I.C.E) grant to an association representative during the Kita Demi Negara programme at the Likas Sports Complex in Kota Kinabalu. With them is Hamzah. — Bernama

KOTA KINABALU: The issue of illegal immigrants, which has bogged Sabah for decades, will be resolved through a registration of these people via a digital data collection, says Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.

He said the data would be collected on all foreign immigrants to ensure they had valid documents to live and work in the state.

After the data is collected, Hajiji said the next phase would be to focus on standardising the documents to ensure that everyone in Sabah was properly documented.

“If we find that the foreigner is among those who entered the state illegally, then we will enforce the existing immigration laws.

“This action has already been discussed with and supported by Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin,” he said when launching the Kita Demi Negara programme held by the Home Ministry.

Hajiji also said the state government was not hesitating in taking any action to improve security, and this included tightening borders with neighbouring countries, adding that border control was given priority as most of the threats to Sabah came from outside the state.

He said the security forces’ move to place the General Operations Force in strategic areas in the interior of Sabah was the right step towards curbing not only the influx of illegal immigrants but external threats, especially with Indonesia moving its capital to Kalimantan.

The Chief Minister noted that the Home Ministry’s effort to set up the Pagalungan Immigration control post in the interior of Nabawan would make it easier for residents to get services from the Immigration and National Registration departments.

“With an initiative like this, it will be easier for local residents to obtain a border-crossing pass.”

Hajiji said Sabah, with a long coastline featuring over 40 islands, was always vulnerable to various security threats, among which were problems of illegal immigrant entry, encroachment of foreign fishing vessels, citizenship of locals and undocumented people.

“I sincerely hope these issues can be dealt with in the best possible ways by the Federal Government,” he said.

Hajiji assured the people that the state would support the Home Ministry’s efforts to strengthen security, including efforts to set up infrastructure and move security and enforcement assets.

“Sabah security does not rely only on the federal and state governments but the people, too, have to join hands with the government to report things that are a threat and affect security and national sovereignty,” he added.

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