KOTA KINABALU - The National Registration Department has deleted more than 28,500 dubiously issued identity cards from its records as it tightens the issuance of such documents.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the deletions came about following investigations by a NRD special committee since 1999.
"Our focus has been to deal with the issue of foreigners in Sabah in possession of various documents," he said.
Earlier, the Home Minister jointly chaired a meeting of the Management Committee on the Migrant Problem with Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.
He said the authorities are continuing their efforts in tackling dubious identity cards issued by various syndicates and certain individuals. Dr Ahmad Zahid said Malaysia was also stepping up the deportation of illegal immigrants in Sabah.
He noted that more than 17,700 illegal immigrants were deported from the state in 2014 and this figure increased to nearly 28,000 last year.
Dr Ahmad Zahid said nearly 9,500 illegal immigrants were deported from Sabah between January and May 12.
Altogether, a total of 54,941 illegal immigrants in Sabah have been deported between 2014 and May 12 this year.
"The main focus of the committee is to tackle the issue of existing illegal immigrants in Sabah by intensifying enforcement and deportation programmes.
"The second focus is to curb the influx of illegal immigrants by enhancing security control in Sabah waters.
"These efforts could be seen through the extension of the Curfew Order in seven districts, namely Tawau, Semporna, Kunak, Lahad Datu, Kinabatangan, Sandakan and Beluran, which has entered its 42nd phase and is taking effect from 7pm to 5am daily," he said in a joint press statement with Chief Minister Musa, who is also Joint Chairman of JKPWAS here Monday. The Deputy Prime Minister said through the Curfew Order, all movements of boats and vessels must have approval and a permit from the Eastern Sabah Security Command.
Ahmad Zahid said ESSCom had also intensified hunts against illegal immigrants in its areas, and had organised 1,823 enforcement operations between 2015 and May 4, in which 11,688 illegal immigrants were detained.
He said the third focus of the committee was to overcome the issue of identification documents among foreign nationals in Sabah and the issuance of fake identity cards by syndicates or irresponsible individuals as alleged by many during the Royal Commission of Inquiry on illegal immigrants in Sabah.
The Commission of Inquiry on Illegal Immigrants in Sabah and the National Registration Department through a Special Committee on Identification Certificates has conducted investigation on the affected identity cards.
Other areas of improvement include legal channels and innovations in the identity card applications.
In terms of legislation, the NRD has been coordinating issuance of identity cards across the country according to uniform rules of the National Registration Regulations 1990.
This includes the introduction of 12-digit identification card numbers processed via computer to replace manual production of ICs.
Fingerprinting using Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems also require verification at the NRD's headquarters in Putrajaya to avoid irregular issuing of identity cards.