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Thursday January 3, 2008

Jittery over unruly foreigners

SIBU: Several politicians have expressed concern over the behaviour of many foreign workers during their day off in areas surrounding Sibu such as Sungai Empawah, Sungai Bidut and Bukit Lan. 

Federal Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Robert Lau Hoi Chew, Sarawak Urban Development and Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh, Lanang Member of Parliament Datuk Tiong Thai King and Pelawan state assemblyman Vincent Goh met the police over the matter yesterday. 

Lau told Sibu police chief ACP Shafie Ismail that it was common to see many such workers, including women, loitering along the roads and indulging in heavy drinking of local brews. 

“We’ve personally witnessed the situation ourselves and community leaders in the areas involved are worried over the possibility of the workers committing crimes. 

“There are thousands of foreign workers in the more than 10 sawmills and plywood mills. And many illegal workers are reportedly employed by syndicates to tap rubber due to good prices,” he said. 

Lau suggested that employers come up with a system to monitor the movement of their workers during their off days. 

“People are getting jittery over the presence and behaviour of the workers. They’re unable to tell the difference between illegal workers and those who are here legally,” he said, adding that police should consider setting up police beat bases in strategic locations. 

ACP Shafie said the police hoped to organise an operation with the Immigration Department to flush out the illegal workers. – Bernama