Thursday, July 10, 2008


Illegals: Govt needs to get serious, says PKR


Building more detention centres to accommodate the illegal immigrants and their deportation on a piecemeal basis by the Federal Government will not solve the problem, said Parti Keadilan Rakyat Sabah Deputy Chairperson, Christina Liew. She said it was announced recently by the relevant authority that detention centres in Sabah could hold up to 8,000 illegal immigrants by December this year. She said the deportation of 2,000 illegal immigrants each month as disclosed by a Government body would hardly make a dent in the perennial problem. “Besides, the deportees will likely 1eturn to Sabah within two weeks... Therefore what difference does it make whether the Government deports them or not?” she asked. Christina reckoned the State Government and all the Sabah MPs should speak in once voice in resolving this problem, by telling the Federal Government in no uncertain terms the people of Sabah have enough of ‘wayang kulit’ (shadow play) on the matter. “If the Federal Government is sincere and serious in resolving Sabah’s problem, it must have a concrete plan to resolve the PTI (illegal immigrants) problem instead of the fatal effort of deportation. Instead of holding the large number of illegal immigrants in detention centres pending deportation, Christina suggested the Government utilize the detention centres as ‘transit points’ or ‘entry points’ for future immigrants coming legally to Sabah. “We should allow those immigrants who come to Sabah legally to seek employment to comply with the relevant immigration laws of our country, like what has been done by Singapore and Hong Kong. Once these foreigners have gone through the vetting process, they would be issued with work passes sponsored by their employers as we do not want criminals or those with diseases,” she said. Christina also urged the Government to review the levy as the existing rate was very high and had encouraged foreigners to sneak into the country and work illegally. Like Indonesia, she said, the Government should also press the Philippine Government to open a consulate or a trade office in Sabah to assist its nationals with problem on documentation.

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