Blitz on illegals to be a continuing process; cops just doing job: CP,
As far as the Police are concerned, the massive operation to rid Sabah of illegal immigrants will be a continuing process. “We are just enforcing the law. If a person is caught without proper documents, it is wrong for him or her to be in Malaysia,” said State Police Commissioner Datuk Noor Rashid Ibrahim, when contacted by The Borneo Post yesterday. “This is basic knowledge on the law. We in the Police are just doing our job to enforce the law we have no choice but to arrest the illegal immigrants,” he stressed. Reiterating that they are ready mentally, physically and, in strength, Noor Rashid said through proper planning and with integrated collaboration with other agencies, including the Immigration Department and Federal Special Task Force, the massive operation could be carried out smoothly. Asked about his opinion over a call by a nongovernmental organisation, Islamic Welfare Body (NEBISA), to offer a final round of amnesty for illegal immigrants in Sabah, Noor Rashid replied: “We are just enforcing the law, offering amnesty is not under our jurisdiction.’ He said the Government will have the final say whether to offer amnesty period to the illegal immigrants or otherwise. “Our concern would be whether there would be ample space to hold the illegal immigrants pending deportation, but I believe that the FSTF is doing its level best to handle the situation,” he said. And if the time comes, we (police) will launch the massive operation to flush out illegal immigrants in Sabah,” he said. NEBISA founder D. Zulkiflie Mohd Nasir made the call recently, saying that a letter has been sent to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Sen Najib Tun Razak, who heads the Cabinet Committee on Sabah Illegal Immigrants. According to him, the final amnesty was an offer given by former Chief Minister Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat in 2001, and as a result, some 100,000 illegal immigrants returned to their countries of origin voluntarily. “It could at least save Government funds. Most of
those who had voluntarily returned to their respective countries was doing so at their own expense, and the Government was able to save the RM5O million allocated to deport them,” he said, adding that it could also be a solution to prevent overcrowding at the temporary detention centres in Sabah. Najib had on July 17 announced that the large-scale operation would be launched early next month to flush out up to 150,000 illegal immigrants throughout the State. He said the Cabinet Committee on Sabah Illegal Immigrants had obtained approval from the Cabinet for an allocation of RM5O million for the logistics requirements of the operation. Najib said the Paradise Camp in Kota Belud would be used to hold the illegal immigrants prior to their repatriation. “The operation is open-ended and would first be carried out in the West Coast of Sabah before the East Coast where the detention centre is expected to be ready by the end of the year,” he said, adding that matters concerning street children of foreigners would be handled by the Home Ministry and the Women, Family and Community Development. In addition, the Home Ministry had held bilateral discussions with the Philippine and Indonesian Governments on the forthcoming operation and they understood why Malaysia had to resort to such action. Najib said that in this aspect, Malaysian consulates had been specially set up in Nunukan, Indonesia as well as Zamboanga City, the Philippines, to facilitate applications for visas for the Indonesian and Philippine nationals who want to work in Sabah. The number of security forces, particularly the police, would be increased not only to conduct the operation but also to ensure that there was no increase in crime during the period of the operation. He also said that besides the operation, enforcement would be carried out with the focus on preventive measures to stop further illegal immigration, adding that the army would patrol the border.