‘No’ to amnesty for illegals Non-governmental and opposition leaders disagree with proposal
Several nongovernmental and opposition leaders have expressed strong reservations about the proposal by Islamic welfare body Nebisa to give a final round of amnesty to illegal immigrants in the State. “The problem, of illegal immigrants in the State is a ‘grandmother’ issue and should be addressed with political will, sincerity and seriousness on the part of KL as the Government of the day,” said Consumers Association of Sabah and Labuan (CASH) President Datuk Patrick Sindu. “Don’t listen to new suggestions! Just go ahead with the plans and operations to flush out the illegal unmigrants out of Sabah once and for all. These illegal immigrants have given enough problems, including social, health and political unrest in the State,” he added. Patrick said the committee set up to tackle the repatriation of illegal immigrants should be under the jurisdiction and control of Sabah while Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Sen Najib Tun Razak and the Federal Cabinet should only sit as advisors, he said. Stephen Wong TienFatt, Secretary of the Sandakan Chinese Chamber of Commerce, concurred with Patrick. “We welcome foreign workers with legal documents and work passes. We especially need workers in our construction and plantation sectors. “But KL must have a round-table meeting with Manila to solve the issue of illegal immigrants through negotiation. If that fails, then the case should be brought up to the International Court of Justice,” he said. Meanwhile, Kota Kinabalu Member of Parliament Dr Hiew King Cheu said all illegal immigrants must come in with proper and legal documents and must be registered and legalized as workers. “Then it would be much easier for our Immigration Department to monitor and control their movement and activities in Sabah. Sabah is badly in need of skilled workers but we must do it right and in accordance with the laws of our nation.” The Labuan PBS Division has also raised doubts about the viability of the amnesty proposal. “I do not agree with th proposal because the Government gave an amnesty before but the problem of illegals still persists. Some of them went back but many did not,” its Head, Peter Mak said. He said Nebisa’s figure of no less than 100,000 illegal immigrants returning home voluntarily during the last amnnesty is not substantiated, and the real figure could be much less. Mak, who isa PBS Supreme Council member, added: “Since the Government has come up with a pla to repatriate the illegals, it should carry out the plan, lest the peopi perceive the Government as not being serious about it”. According to Nebisa, no less than 100,000 illegal immigrants returned voluntarily and at their own expense when former Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat gave them an amnesty for them to go back to their country.