KUALA LUMPUR: The amnesty programme for illegal immigrants in Sabah is not aimed at granting citizenship or identity cards to them, says Deputy Home Minister Mohd Azis Jamman.
He said the programme was an initiative introduced by the new Pakatan Harapan government to register the group following the uncontrolled entry of illegal immigrants into the state under the previous administration.
The Sepanggar MP said the programme was actually to get foreigners working illegally in Sabah to be registered to enable the government to be in control of the situation, especially those involved in crime.
“I understand the matter was played up as a political issue in Sabah. They claimed the government was nurturing illegal immigrants and giving them citizenship.
“This is not true as the power to accord citizenship is under the federal government and the approval for citizenship is also placed under the home ministry,” he said when winding up debate on the motion of thanks for the royal address for his ministry at Dewan Negara today.
Azis said the government was seriously combating the inflow of illegal immigrants. It had repatriated 573,720 foreigners from 1990 to Sept 3.
The Senate today passed the motion through a voice vote conducted by Deputy Dewan Negara president Abdul Halim Abd Samad.
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V delivered his royal address at the opening of the first meeting of the 14th Parliament on July 17.
The senate will sit again next Wednesday.