Sabah govern­ment not aware of reg­is­tra­tion drive for vis­i­tor pass

The Star Malaysia - - Nation -

KOTA KINABALU: The state govern­ment is in the dark over the new reg­is­tra­tion drive for the im­mi­gra­tion refugee pass IMM13, and the Chief Min­is­ter has vowed to get to the bot­tom of the mat­ter.

Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Ap­dal said the state Cabi­net had no idea that the Im­mi­gra­tion Depart­ment had re­opened the reg­is­tra­tion for the pass un­til it was re­ported in the me­dia on Thurs­day.

“I am not aware of the mat­ter or that the im­mi­gra­tion had such a plan at all.

“They did not men­tion it even dur­ing a re­cent se­cu­rity coun­cil meet­ing,” he said af­ter open­ing Upko’s tri­en­nial con­fer­ence here yes­ter­day.

IMM13 is a vis­i­tor pass is­sued by the Im­mi­gra­tion Depart­ment to Filipino refugees who fled to Sabah in the late 1960s and 1970s fol­low­ing a civil war in their coun­try.

The chil­dren of these refugees are el­i­gi­ble to ap­ply for these doc­u­ments to al­low them to stay with their par­ents.

IMM13 hold­ers are al­lowed to stay in Sabah and Labuan and work without hav­ing to ap­ply for a work pass.

They are also al­lowed to at­tend school and get med­i­cal ser­vices from the govern­ment.

Cur­rently, there are 55,000 hold­ers of the pass in Sabah.

The is­suance was stopped in 2013 due to se­cu­rity con­cerns, among oth­ers, fol­low­ing the Kam­pung Tan­duo, La­had Datu in­tru­sion in­ci­dent.

Sabah’s Im­mi­gra­tion Depart­ment, how­ever, re­opened the ap­pli­ca­tion on Oct 1 but an­nounced an im­me­di­ate sus­pen­sion on Fri­day fol­low­ing the in­struc­tion from Shafie.

“I will find out who made the or­der to re­open the reg­is­tra­tion and why no one even both­ered to dis­cuss with the state Cabi­net or in­form them in the first place.

“We can­not let this hap­pen; for those who are il­le­gal im­mi­grants, we must send them back to where they came from, but for those with one par­ent who is a lo­cal, they must be at­tended to and we will see how we can as­sist in their doc­u­men­ta­tion,” he said.

Shafie said the or­der may have come from the fed­eral govern­ment as doc­u­men­ta­tions were un­der their ju­ris­dic­tion.

“This is also a prac­tice that we want to thrash out,” he added.

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