Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Caught illegals ‘cannot return’


Illegal immigrants who are caught during the on-going integrated operation will never be allowed back into the State, even if they enter legally. Data on these illegal immigrants will be stored with their thumb- prints taken through the biometric system during the screening process conducted after every operation. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak stressed yesterday that the doors to the State are permanently closed to illegal immigrants, “even if they enter via legal means” in future. “They will be denied entry (into Malaysia) if our records show that they have entered illegally before,” he said. In addition to this, the Defence Minister disclosed that the Malaysian security forces are keeping a closer watch on the country’s vast international sea borders to prevent deported illegal immigrants from reentering Sabah. “We realise some communities in these parts consider our borders as porous and they have entered and exited at will. We are ensuring that there will be no repeat of this,” Najib told reporters after a two-day visit to the military’s forward bases around Sabah. He was also briefed on the progress of the on-going operation immediately after touching down at Terminal Two of the KK International Airport at 2pm yesterday. “At least a total of 11,686 people had been checked since the operation was launched at 3am on Aug 7 and of this, 4,634 were subjected to further screening. “A total of 500 people were subsequently held at the Menggatal Temporary Detention Centre and also at Kern Paradise (an army camp) in Kota Belud. Of the figure, 393 are Filipinos comprising 144 men, 147 women and 91 children; 106 are Indonesian nationals with 59 men, 36 women and 11 children, and also a woman from Brunei,” he said. Najib assured that the operation will continue until every single district is covered in Sabah. “We have yet to decide on a time frame, but it will go on for as long as it is needed,” he said. To date, there have been no complaints from foreign Governments on the massive crackdown as the illegal immigrants were treated well, and checks were carried out courteously and humanely. Asked on when the deportation exercise will begin, Najib said: “It will be done soon. I believe the deportation exercise is being accepted by both nations (The Philippines and Indonesia) and they are giving good cooperation to us we do not foresee any problem.” He added that the current operation would be focusing on illegal immigrants without any identification documents. When asked on doubts by a Sabah leader on the effectiveness of the operations as it did not include foreigners holding documents obtained through dubious means, Najib said: “Let’s not complicate the matter. This operation is focused on illegal immigrants who are paperless.” Upko President Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said on Monday that when it comes to illegal immigrants, the Government is challenged with a bigger problem. “Those paperless foreigners are not the challenge. The problem is illegal immigrants holding MyKads or other identification documents. This needs to be tackled immediately,” said Dompok. He also stressed on the need to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to trace the root of the problem and also to track down the culprits behind the issuance of MyKads to the illegal immigrants.

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