KOTA KINABALU: Yong Yit Jee, a member of Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) Supreme Council cum lawyer said that the Federal and Sabah State Government could ‘kill two birds with one stone’ by implementing Sabah IC and extending “Back For Good” (B4G) programme in Sabah.
Yong, who is also a lawyer, says that the proposed “Foreigner Card” would be unconstitutional and illegal if it allows the foreigners to reside and work in Sabah. It would also breach the Federal Constitution and spirit of MA63 that safeguards Sabah’s autonomy on special immigration status.
“Under Passport Act 1966 (Act 150) and the Immigration Act 1959/63 (Act 155), all foreigners are required to have valid travel document and work permit to enter, reside or work in Sabah and Malaysia. Any individuals who entered Sabah unlawfully shall be arrested and deported to their countries of origin.”
“This proposal could do more harm than good. More illegal immigrants may be encouraged to come and reside in Sabah,” he said.
The Minister of Home Affairs, Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin claims that the card is supposed to identify the number of foreign nationals present in Sabah. This can also be done by extending the B4G program as proposed by Jamain Sarudin from Solidariti Rakyat (SORAK), a local NGO.
Plus, B4G program allows foreigners to return to their respective origin countries without any legal repercussions. Foreigners who joined B4G may return by applying or renewing their passports and enter Sabah through proper immigration channels. This is similar to the regularisation programme implemented by the Sabah and Federal governments.
“Simultaneously, both Federal and Sabah State Government should implement Sabah IC soonest possible. Make the necessary laws such as Sabah Registration Enactment and set up a Sabah IC Registration Department.”
Therefore, I urge both Federal and Sabah State Government to focus on implementing Sabah IC and extending B4G programme in Sabah. Sabah IC would help undocumented indigenous peoples and Malaysians who have settled or grew up in Sabah and filter out illegal immigrants while B4G would reduce illegal population in Sabah at the same time.