Sabah to table state Cabinet paper on foreign migrant pass

Sabah Rural and Development Minister Ewon Benedick speaking to reporters at his ministry’s Christmas celebration in Kota Kinabalu last night.

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government will table a paper at the state Cabinet to discuss and decide on the proposed issuance of the Temporary Sabah Pass (PSS) to foreign migrants, a state minister said.

Sabah Rural and Development Minister Ewon Benedick said the Cabinet paper would include the views of the various parties, ministers, state representatives and communities.

“The views of all, including looking into the recommendations of the royal commission of inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants, need to be heard before making any decision,” he said at his ministry’s Christmas celebration here last night.

Benedick said the Immigration Department had briefed the state Cabinet on the PSS but the state government had yet to give its feedback.

The Upko vice-president and Kadamaian assemblyman said he personally saw the need to replace the existing IMM13, Surat Burung-Burung and Census slip papers with the uniform and standardised PSS.

He said the authorities had found it difficult to monitor the movements of holders of these three documents as the papers could not be “read by a computerised system”.

Benedick said the views of all levels of society, NGOs and grassroots needed to be taken into account and brought up at the Cabinet meeting.

He said Upko itself would have a roundtable discussion with National Security Council (NSC) officials on Dec 23 and the party would state its recommendations at that meeting.

He said the migrants issue was Sabah’s number one problem.

The PSS has been recommended by NSC to the technical and central committees established following the RCI’s recommendations.

The PSS proposal, however, never made it to the federal Cabinet for a decision as the matter was put on hold due to the 14th general election.

After the polls, the federal Pakatan Harapan government decided to go ahead with the PSS, but has met with opposition from numerous Sabah parties, including Umno, PBS and SAPP.