Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Illegals can stay on few conditions
Bosses must register them; apply for valid documents: CM


Enforcement agencies in the State are ready for the “Ops Bersepadu” that is expected to be launched anytime now to flush out illegal immigrants. Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said the State Government has also obtained the agreement of cooperation from the Philippines and Indonesian Governments on the processing of their citizens’ travel documents during the operation. “The Philippine Government has also agreed to cooperate in terms of accepting its citizens who are deported from Sabah,” said Musa, who is also the State Operation Director. Speaking to reporters after chairing the State Security Action Committee meeting here yesterday, he said illegal immigrants who are arrested during the operation will be deported without facing any other action. However, illegal immigrants who are employed and are registered with the Immigration Department would be allowed to remain in the State provided that their employers apply for their travel documents and work pass, he said. “This is the request of employers in the State as was raised by the Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS) President Datuk Sari Nuar Tan. The employers appealed to the Government to give them time to register their illegal workers,” Musa said. “We allow their request and the Immigration Department agreed to let the employers register the workers but the operation will still go on as we have to flush out those who are unemployed and living in the State illegally,” he said. According to the Chief Minister, employers whose illegal workers have been arrested need only to show proof that the workers have been registered with the Department to secure their release. The employers however must make sure the illegal workers get their travel documents because the Immigration Department will only issue work pass to those with valid documents, he said. On the call by FCAS for a 50 percent reduction in the levy imposed on them for hiring foreign workers, Musa said the matter has been discussed and will be forwarded to the Federal Government for consideration. Meanwhile, State Immigration Director Datuk Baharum Talib said there are 220,000 legal foreign workers employed in several sectors throughout Sabah. “In the plantation sector, there are 74,000 legal foreign workers and we arc expecting about 80,000 more to be registered during the operation,” he said, adding that the sectors that are given leeway in this operation are the manufacturing, construction, plantation and service. Those engaging illegal immigrants as maids are encouraged to register their employees as they are also given leeway by the Department, he said. Baharum said that with the list of workers, the Department will go to the work sites, especially those with a lot of workers, to get their thumb prints under the biometric system. This is necessary because some illegal immigrants have been found to be using a single passport, he said, adding that by keeping records of their thumb prints, the Department will be able to keep track of them. “Once they have been registered, the workers need not return to their home countries to apply for their travel documents as they can contact their embassies to do it. “Their employers however must give them ample time to do so,” he said, adding that sending the workers home would affect their employers’ operations. The employers, he said, will be responsible for assisting their workers in applying for their travel documents and work pass. To the question whether the operation would involve 1MM 13 holders, Musa said the target this time is only illegal immigrants. “The operation will be done in stages and now we focus on the illegal immigrants first. “We will do it one at a time. For those with dubious MyKad, the National Registration Department (NRD) will be doing the verification of authenticity,” he said, adding that local authorities will be involved in the demolition of squatter houses occupied by illegal immigrants.

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