Sabah police are fed up with accusations that they have a hand in the influx of illegals into the state.
KOTA KINABALU: An exasperated state police commissioner Hamzah Taib has slammed critics who accused the police of aiding the influx of over 1,000 illegal immigrants a month into Sabah via Kalabakan and Lahad Datu.
“It’s not our job to monitor their entry… tackling immigration problem is not our core business… we are only complementing the work of the Immigration Department…,” he said.
Nevertheless, Hamzah has ordered an internal probe into the allegations.
“I have ordered an internal investigation into the allegations. There are 20 police chiefs in Sabah.
“I have directed every police district chief to carry out at least two raids a month and this does not include current operations with other government agencies,” he said.
Yesterday, FMT reported that police were behind a massive illegal immigrant scam.
The report quoted Persatuan Keluarga Karanan Liwan Sabah president Masmin Kadad who accused the police of masterminding the influx of illegals into Sabah.
According to Masmin, illegal immigrants in Sebatik Island were “escorted” to Kalabakan by security personnel.
These security officers were paid RM350 to ensure each illegal entered Sabah safely.
Masmin also alleged that besides making Tawau as their operation hub, they also made Kalabakan and Lahad Datu the gateway for immigrants to enter.
Masmin said there were agents who arranged for workers for oil palm plantations, logging contractors and labour agencies for as low as RM6 a day.
“These illegals, once they’ve entered, are free to move around and find their own livelihood… the situation has gone from bad to worse… illegals can also buy their MyKads for between RM2,500 and RM5,000 each.
“This is only possible because there are senior police officers involved in the scam.
“Based on the 500 to 1,000 illegals we believe are entering Sabah through Kalabakan and Lahad Datu, hundreds of thousands of ringgit are changing hands each month,” he said, adding that his association has been monitoring the situation for a long time.
Masmin said that illegals, who entered via Kalabakan and Lahad Datu, were willing to pay the police for fear of being arrested.
Besides the police, Masmin also took a swipe at the Sabah Immigration Department for turning a “blind eye” towards the issue.
“In 2003, according to unofficial data, there were more than 1.7 million illegals who received their MyKad, became Malaysian citizens and voted in the elections.
“These illegals enjoy first-class Bumiputera status… they have taken away the rights and facilities belonging to genuine Sabahans,” he said.
Umno’s vote bank
Masmin urged the federal government to return immigration powers to the Sabah government and allow the state to take action to curb the continued influx of illegals.
Meanwhile, sources in Lahad Datu familiar with the issue said many of the “first-class Bumiputeras” described by Masmin were now in Peninsula Malaysia making up Umno’s voter population.
“You’ll find them mostly in Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah and Johor… I believe Selangor is also now a placement point.
“The Immigration Department under the federal government has been told to turn a blind eye on illegals.
“Even the police here are into the scam… an internal police probe will amount to nothing.
“Who wants to upset the applecart… the police officers are living like kings with four to five wives each. How is this possible on a government salary in Sabah?” one source asked.