KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal will bring the proposal to shorten the renewal period of the Sabah Temporary Pass (PSS) from three years to one year to the Foreigners Management Committee.
He said the proposal would lead to labour shortages especially in the plantation sector after the relocation of the Indonesian capital to East Kalimantan.
“We know they are not Malaysians, but how do we make sure they can work and they need documents that require us to work with the Indonesian consulate general and the Philippine embassy for work permits,” he told the state legislative assembly here yesterday.
He was replying to a supplementary question from Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan (Tambunan-STAR) who suggested the renewal period for the PSS, which would be implemented June 1 next year, to be shortened to a year.
The PSS is set to replace the three documents issued to foreign nationals residing in Sabah, namely the IMM13 passes, census certificate and Burung-Burung Card.
Shafie said the reason for the three years validity of PSS is because the pass has security features to prevent it from being forged.
“We do not want a repeat of what happened with the IMM13, Kad Bancian and Kad Burung Burung as there are cases of these documents being issued recently. It is easy to replicate the documents he said, adding, “not only the documents, even my signature has been forged.”
The forgery is worrying but the PSS with its security features that uses biometric cannot be duplicated, he stressed.
“I will bring your suggestion to the committee to consider notwithstanding the cost of producing one of the passes which is about RM100. We know that they face problems but we know that there are more than 140,000 holders of the Kad Bancian and Kad Burung Burung in Sabah but the figure can increase if the PSS is easily issued,” he said.
Shafie said that there is also the need to take into consideration those who are in Sabah illegally but are employed as skilled labour in sectors that are the backbone of the state’s economy.
“We have to realise that they are here illegally but are employed. We cannot deny that this is happening and they may be employed in plantations or in the construction sector.
“We know they are not Sabahans but to ensure that they can work (here) they must have the necessary travel documents and this is where we need the cooperation of the Indonesian Consulate here and the Philippine embassy too.
“They ensure that their citizens are properly documented and the State Government will issue the work permit. We have also issued work permits for investors from China who required their countrymen to work here but on condition that they are required to leave the state once their job is completed,” Shafie said.
Jeffrey contended that the three-year validity for the PSS will not resolve the problem of the presence of illegal immigrants in Sabah.
He pointed out during the question and answer session that the presence of illegal immigrants in Sabah is a big problem that cannot be resolved easily.
“We must be careful with our actions because some could encourage many more to come. While we have also implemented actions that will discourage these transient migrants from coming to Sabah, I feel that we need to ensure that what we do will discourage more of them to come with the intention to be regularised,” he said.
Dr Jeffrey questioned the rationale of the three-year validity for the PSS adding, “if they only need to renew it every three years then during that period they will be roaming around like citizens. They will keep on renewing every three years and this does not resolve the problem,” he stressed.
So it is better to limit the validity to 12 months so that there will be room to resolve the problem, he said.