KOTA KINABALU: PKR Sabah today reiterated that the only permanent solution to the illegal immigrant and undocumented persons problem in Sabah is to repatriate them.
Its Vice Chairman Kenny Chua while this will be a massive undertaking for the State Government considering the size of their population and the sensitivity of the issue, there is really no other option.
He stressed that the need for a permanent solution grows urgent by the day in view of the Covid-19 pandemic that the world is currently battling with.
“For decades we’ve been talking and talking about this problem with no end in sight. Maybe we lack the political will. I don’t know. But Covid-19 has forced us to come up with a solution once and for all.
“All this time we’ve been talking about them being a threat to our state security. But now with the Covid-19 scare, they can be a threat to public health, even our own life.
“So, the way I see it the government really has no other option but to repatriate them. Yes, we have inherited this problem from the past administration. But let us now implement the solution once and for all, without fear or favour,” said Chua, who is also Sabah Assistant
Finance Minister and Inanam representative.
He also reiterated his call for the government to introduce the Sabah Identity Card so as to draw a line between locals and illegal immigrant and undocumented persons.
“We don’t want our IC to fall in the wrong hands anymore as what had happened for so long in the past,” he added.
He pointed out that with millions of them living in the country, what could potentially happen in relation to the pandemic is scary.
“We can no longer sweep this issue under the carpet and pretend it doesn’t exist. They are among us in the millions. It’s frightening when we think about it,” he said.
Chua said he was aware of the issue of human rights but local Sabahans also have the right to be safe especially for an unknown enemy.
“Our fight against Covid-19 and to stay safe from this virus is top priority,” he stressed.
Chua also called on fellow Sabahan Jonathan Yasin, who is the Deputy Home Minister II, to take a lead in implementing his proposed permanent solution.
On Tuesday, Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) chief Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan also called for a permanent solution to the long-standing problem.
He reported said the Covid-19 pandemic had highlighted the presence of millions of these illegals and unlawful foreigners in Malaysia.
Jeffrey noted that Malaysians’ sympathy for the plight of refugees eroded when reports surfaced of them being infected by Covid-19 and infecting locals.
He had said in Sabah, the presence of illegals was compounded by policies by the Warisan-led Sabah government which seemed to favour them.
Yesterday, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the Malaysian government will deport all illegal immigrants that tested negative for Covid-19 to their countries of origin.