Review plan to issue passes to immigrants, urges Sabah PPBM Youth

Federal authorities estimate there are about 1.1 million foreigners in Sabah.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah PPBM Youth has urged the state and federal governments to review the implementation of the Sabah Temporary Pass (PSS) for foreigners.

Its chief, Mohd Isquzawan Israq Arsit, said they had received scores of reactions, mostly expressing concern and displeasure over the plan to implement the PSS.

He said the many negative responses were a result of the announcement of the project being made without thorough engagement with the people, thus culminating in a lack of information.

“Due to the sensitivity of immigration and National Registration Department (JPN) matters among Sabahans, an engagement with the public should have been done before a decision was made.

Sabah PPBM Youth chief Mohd Isquzawan Israq Arsit.

“It is not enough and unfair to the people if the matter is only discussed at meetings among government agencies.

“Immigration and JPN matters are directly linked to the country’s sovereignty. Hence, every citizen has the right and interest to know about the issue,” Isquzawan said here today.

Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had in September announced that the government would embark on a project to replace the “kad burung-burung”, IMM13 refugee card and census certificates with the PSS starting next June.

Muhyiddin said the state government would form a special body to carry out this project.

Currently, federal authorities estimate that about 600,000 people are carrying these three types of documents, out of about 1.1 million foreigners residing in Sabah.

Muhyiddin also said the PSS would help streamline the monitoring and enforcement process, adding that enforcement bodies such as the Immigration Department were having difficulty enforcing the law because of the various types of documents held by foreigners in the state.

Isquzawan wanted to know whether, when the PSS is implemented, foreigners holding the document would be allowed to work legally in Sabah and if they would have to pay levy charges just like other foreign workers.

“If no levy is charged, then this policy would be seen as giving special treatment to illegal foreigners through the PSS, compared with foreigners who entered the state legally to work.”

Legal foreign workers have to pay a higher annual levy compared with the RM120 for PSS holders for the three-year duration of the card. The card is renewable after three years.

Isquzawan said another pertinent question was how the government intended to make the process of issuing the PSS transparent and free from irregularities.

“At the same time, what is more worrying is the direction after the implementation of the PSS? What is the maximum period for a PSS card and is there a clear action plan to show they will be sent back to their countries of origin?

“In any case, the objectives and justification for the PSS itself have not been detailed.”

He added that the Sabah PPBM Armada, at its post-2020 Budget workshop on Nov 10, had decided to urge the government to re-study the PSS project.