60,000 illegals to be registered in Sandakan

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SANDAKAN: The Immigration office here is targeting to register 60,000 illegal immigrants under the 5P (Registration, Amnesty, Monitoring, Enforcement and Repatriation) programme which will be on until Aug 1.

Immigration deputy senior assistant director (1) Jaimin Sumpit said most of these illegal immigrants were plantation workers from surrounding areas such as Kinabatangan and Beluran.

He said the number included their wives and children who could take advantage of the 5P to avoid action and return to their country of origin voluntarily.

“There will be no charge for the registration which is being conducted in eight other districts,” he said.

The eight centres are at the Kudat, Menggatal (for Kota Kinabalu), Ranau, Keningau, Sipitang, Tawau, and Lahad Datu community halls while in Semporna the venue is Balai Seni Inabah.

Registration is from 8am until 5pm on weekdays and 8am to 1pm on Saturday and Sunday.

In Tawau, the exercise received encouraging response with 500 people having registered by 11am.

Kaslim Tasse, 47, from Palopo, South Sulawesi, Indonesia, who entered the country 27 years ago and had been employed as a legal worker at Table Estate for more than 20 years, hoped that he would be able to continue working here.

“The management treated us well,” he said, recalling that his employers were originally known as Borneo Abaca Limited (BAL), one of the oldest plantations in Tawau, which is now owned by Sime Darby.

Now married and a father of three, aged between seven and 20, he said he had never returned to his hometown since then as Tawau was a ‘gold mine’.

His countryman Mohd Arif Bacho, 48, who hailed from Nunukan and worked at Bombalai Estate which is also owned by Sime Darby echoed the same hope.

“I enjoy working here as my employer provided everything. I want to continue working here as long as I am required.

“I am also thankful that the Malaysian authorities have allowed me to renew my passport which expired three months ago,” he said. — Bernama