KOTA KINABALU: A special team will be set up to investigate syndicates issuing false identity cards in Sabah.
This was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman in a joint statement in conjunction with the meeting of the Steering Committee on the Management of Foreign Nationals in Sabah (JKPWAS-Induk) held in Putrajaya Thursday.
The joint statement said that the government took a serious view on cases of issuing and distributing false identity cards that were still being carried out by certain syndicates.
In order to intensify enforcement, the government via the Committee on the Management of Foreign Nationals in Sabah (JKPWAS) decided on the formation of the special team to investigate in detail the syndicates issuing the false identity cards as had happened in Sandakan and Tawau, Sabah recently, he said.
“A more comprehensive investigation must be initiated until the individuals acting as the real masterminds can be identified and legal action taken,” the joint statement said. A copy of the statement was issued to Sabah media.
According to Bernama, as the documents issued were illegal, they would not exist in the national registration system and records, while more aggressive and firm action must be initiated against the culprits.
“It not only involved cheating to the recipients but also affected the government’s image,” said the joint statement.
It also emphasised that the government was also focusing on the problems of the entry of illegal immigrants (PATI) especially in the state’s waters.
Taking into account the security and public interest factors, the government had taken the initiative by intensifying patrols at the entry points in the state of Sabah, the statement said.
According to the joint statement, proactive actions had been taken by the Malaysian Immigration Department (JIM) such as taking biometric information on every foreigner entering and leaving the state of Sabah and the installation of the image recognition system at all entry points in Sabah.
The joint statement said that based on the records of the National Security Council (NSC) Sabah, the total number of illegal immigrants in Sabah expelled since 1990 until March 3, this year (2017) was 553,692.
For the year 2017 alone, the number of expulsions until March 3 was 1,120 immigrants, he said.
The joint statement also dislcosed that the government had decided that transhipment activities be resumed effective last Feb 1 (2017) to boost economic activities in Sabah.
“It involved normal trade activities namely the import and export of goods only and excluded the petroleum trade,” it said.
However, the joint statement said that the government still maintained the ban on Barter Trade activities.