Sabah to go digital for migrant card system

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is testing out several data digitisation systems to ensure that the safest and most reliable one is selected for the state’s special foreigner card for migrants.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Jeffrey Kitingan said that it was not just about digitising the data of these migrants, which include refugees and stateless people, but also how secure the system was.

“We need to test whether these different systems work and which is the best. Not just for registration, but maybe for thumbprint, facial or voice recognition,” he said.

He said this in a press conference during a forum on labour shortages in Sabah organised by the Institute for Development Studies Sabah (IDS) here yesterday.

Kitingan said the state was working with local companies and researchers as well as technology companies from Germany and China because Sabah does not have as good of a technology as these countries have.

Earlier in his keynote address, he said that after the digital registration exercise was completed, the government would undertake an analysis of the statistics gathered and formulate the necessary policies and regulations on how to deal with illegal immigrants, undocumented persons and stateless people.

While the main goal of the initiative was to address the issues of illegal immigrants, undocumented workers, and stateless people, he said the digital registration would allow migrants to work in Sabah if the government decided to implement such a policy.

“This is one way to reduce shortage of labour and reduce Sabah’s reliance on foreign labour,” he said, adding that Sabah remained hopeful of gaining full labour authority in accordance with Sabah’s rights and autonomy under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

He said the additional revenues generated by the restoration of labour autonomy and control in Sabah could potentially bring in an additional RM700mil per year for the state coffers.

He also mentioned the need to adopt innovative technologies – the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and machine learning – to overcome labour shortages.

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special foreigner card , migrants , Sabah


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