KOTA KINABALU: Sabah opposition leader Jeffrey Kitingan has told the Warisan-led government to be innovative in finding a way to solve the illegal immigrant issue in the state once and for all after the state decided to drop the Sabah Temporary Pass (PSS).
Kitingan, the Keningau MP, said while he was thankful to Chief Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal for listening to the people’s voice, he wondered what effective solutions were being pursued to solve the migrant problem now that the PSS idea has been shelved.
“If the state government is sincere in wanting to solve the illegal immigrant problem, it must come up with a new effective mechanism to achieve a solid, once-and-for-all solution.
“The state ministers must stop thinking that the people are stupid and can still be fooled with empty sweet words.
“What we want is a solid solution,” he said in a statement here today.
Jeffrey contended that the people were sceptical of the announcement that Sabah was dropping the PSS idea as one of Shafie’s senior ministers, Peter Anthony, had said the same day that the government was looking for a better mechanism to make the migrants’ pass acceptable.
“Did he mean that the PSS is going to be implemented after all, maybe under a different name?” Jeffrey asked.
Jeffrey, who is Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) president, suggested that the government involve all stakeholders in getting a consensus on tackling Sabah’s biggest problem.
“We suggest the government consider the problems objectively. You must define correctly what problems need to be resolved because you cannot lump everything under PSS.
“The illegal immigrant problem in Sabah has many levels and involves different people from different countries.
“The most serious cases involve the Filipinos, Indonesians and the Pakistanis, in that order,” he said, adding that all illegal immigrants must be deported as this is the law.
Jeffrey said IMM13 refugee card holders were the most qualified to be given special consideration for citizenship, or PSS, and not those holding other documents.
“But the IMM13 holders and their children must be genuine refugees. Any IMM13 document given after 1985 should be rejected,” he said.
“Holders of Kad Burung-Burung and the census certificates, issued before 1995, should be considered for temporary residence or work passes on a three-month or monthly basis, provided they have a valid passport.
“All others should be regulated based on our immigration and labour laws,” he said.