KOTA KINABALU: The Federal Government is urged to stop any proposal to provide documents to foreigners, including illegal immigrants (PATI) in the state.
The Homeland Solidarity Party (STAR) Kapayan Division Chief, Jafery Jomion, who often spoke about illegal immigrants, asked the government and the Home Ministry (KDN) to fulfill their promises made to the people before successfully defeating the Warisan government in 2020.
“We must study and review the history of the State and Federal governments in dealing with the illegal immigration problem, look at the adoption of IMM13, it was the first document that was used from 1972 to 1984 to tackle such issue.
“This document was issued to allow Filipino war refugees to live and work in Sabah at a cost of RM90 a year compared to those of Filipino immigrants who came here legally having to pay more than RM400 for passport costs including work permit guarantees amounting to thousands of ringgit,” he said in a statement today.
He added that although IMM13 allows refugees to live and work in Sabah and Labuan, it has registered a total of 73,000 people and according to studies conducted, as of 2010, it has reached 84,000 people.
“The IMM13 project is inexpensive but failed because there are still many illegal immigrants roaming around without fear, moreover it was replaced with the ‘Burung – Burung’ Card in 1986 to 1988 with the same function as IMM13.
“After nearly 20 years of analysis, it was found that only 9,000 people were still refugees and the rest of about 316,000 people went undetected or had already become ‘express citizens’ or holders of well -known ‘IC projects’ in the early 80’s,” he said.
Jafery said, as a result of the census introduced by the federal government, it had registered a total of 300,000 individuals in 1990 to 1991 in 32 refugee settlement scheme areas in the state.
“However, not all of them hold the refugee status holders, it has shown that after 19 years many already have received Permanent Resident (PR) status, became citizens or stateless.
“In the second census, 59,237 refugees without IMM13 from 1991 to 2007 were successfully registered and obtained Census Certificates, the census was incomplete until 2011, however in 2012, 69,317 people registered but no certificate was issued by the Federal Special Task Force.
“Therefore, of the number recorded, this means after 40 years from 1970 to 2010 and based on the growth rate of their fertile population it is expected to have exceeded 1.6 million people but why only 136,055 people remain holders of 1MM13, Burung – Burung and Census Certificates in 2020?
“Therefore, why can’t the total of 1.464 million individuals be traced, this number including the Sulu Lahad Datu intruders who hold Malaysian identity cards, those who those who have become citizens and migrated to the peninsula or they deliberately did not renew their documents for fear of being detected as civil offenders or the like,” he questioned questioned.
In this regard, he said, the best approach should be in accordance with the recommendation of STAR President, Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, which is to use the existing law to arrest those illegal immigrants, caned and sent back to their country of origin as implemented in Singapore.
“Singapore is the best country to be used as a reference in dealing with such problems or to look for more effective methods.
“It seems, there is no need for us to issue a foreigner card to replace the IMM13, the Burung Burung card or the census card as before.
“Just consider a Foreign Worker Card registered by an employer or anyone who wants to be a guarantor with a minimum payment rate so that not only the government will get the data but the people or guarantors can also monitor their whereabouts.
“If they cause a problem, the guarantor can report it to the authorities for further action,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jafery explained that foreign workers in the construction sector receive a salary of between RM60 to RM100 a day and the income is greater than locals who now only receive a minimum wage of RM1,200.
“Therefore, there is no reason for them not to be able to pay the cost of a passport or Foreign Worker Card if they have good intentions to earn a living.
“If they fail to register or get a foreign worker card, it means they are lazy and may be involved in crime,” he said.