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Friday, April 14, 2017

Govt dealt with illegal immigrants differently in peninsula compared to Sabah

The Malaysian government has over four decades of experience handling illegal immigrant issues, and former Suhakam vice-chairman Tan Sri Simon Sipaun believes it need not be told of what to do

KOTA KINABALU - When it comes to the illegal immigrant quagmire in Sabah, the government need not be told what needs to be done.

“It is not a new thing, and they (government leaders) are aware of this problem since decades ago,” said Tan Sri Simon Sipaun, a member an anti-graft watchdog who call themselves the Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4).

Describing the issues on illegal immigrants and the fact that they possessed valid MyKad as “government created problem”, the former Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) vice-chairman said Sabah had long battled with the problem, but had yet to find a conclusive solution.

Illegal immigrants and refugees, he said, were nothing new to Malaysia, but the way the government tackled the problem was different.

West Malaysia, Sipaun noted, was at one time flooded with Vietnamese refugees, but they had been either deported home or sent to other countries.

However, when it came to the immigrants in Sabah, they were allowed to stay and even awarded citizenship.

When the issue was raised by the then Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan to the then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, they agreed to the setting up of the Federal Special Task Force (FSTF).

“Fast forward 30 years, the problem is still here and the FSTF has even heavier task to combat,” said Sipaun, who was also the former Sabah State Secretary.

He said what made it worst was that these people were registered as voters, which gave them the opportunity to decide the state’s fate.

Once the immigrants were given Malaysian citizenship, Sipaun said they were free to roam around.

“To them, Sabah is the stepping stone to Malaysia and the rest of the world. I don’t think we would feel comfortable being labelled as that, so these issues must be resolved fast.”

Sipaun said since the government had decades of experience in handling illegal immigrants, all it took was clear-cut solutions.

“If I were the government, I would close all gates, then they would be no more illegal entries and everything must be done according to the law.

“The Commission of Inquiry report on illegal immigrants in Sabah had already identified several people involved in the issuance of MyKad or identity cards to the illegal immigrants. Catch, investigate and prosecute these people. Justice must be done.”

Sipaun also stressed that the non-genuine Malaysians must be taken out of the electoral roll.

Authorities, he said, must investigate as to why these people were allowed to come in and vote.

The matter, he said, needed to be arrested now before it got worse.

“It is bad enough now, why wait any longer.”

The Rakyat Post By Sandra Sokial

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