KOTA KINABALU: Parti Solidarity Tanah Airku (STAR) president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan yesterday urged the State Government to follow the rule of law in legalizing illegal immigrants (PTIs).
He said the proper way of legalizing illegal immigrants should be sending them back to their country of origin and issue pass to them when they returned with their document or passport.
Dr Jeffrey said legalizing a non-citizen in Sabah was in violation of the law.
“We do not want another Project IC number 2,” he said to the media at the Black Sunday 10 peaceful gathering organized by a non-governmental organization (NGO), Sorak Sabah at Lintasan Deasoka here yesterday.
Some 300 individuals turned up to protest against legalizing illegal immigrants in Sabah.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Shafie Apdal has announced that the State Government would look into issuing special documents to illegal foreign workers in Sabah to solve labour shortage, particularly in the plantation sector.
Also present were former Minister of Community Development and Consumer Affairs, Datuk Jainab Ahmad Ayid and Sorak Sabah chairman Jamain Sarudin.
Dr Jeffrey pointed out that most illegal immigrants came from a country which has made claims on Malaysia.
“So long that has not been settled, this (issuing document to illegal foreign workers) is a dangerous thing to do because by sheer numbers alone when they are here, they can claim this country as theirs.”
He said the people would not object if the government followed the rule of law and enforced the law.
“This is also why we want the issuance of Sabah IC,” he added.
Meanwhile, Jamain said the issuance of the special documents has violated the Immigration Act, which stated that any individual who overstayed their visa would be considered as illegal immigrant.
He claimed that around 800,000 illegal immigrants would be getting the document to enable them to work in Sabah.
“Why does the government want to issue document to them? This action has breached existing laws.
“Foreign workers without documentation or permits should be arrested, charged and deported back to their countries.
“They do not have the right to stay, work and earn a salary in Sabah,” he stressed.
He was also against the proposal to allow foreign workers to bring their families here as it would erode Sabahans’ rights and access to housing, infrastructure, healthcare and education.