Sabah Temporary Pass: Focus is on 136,000 foreigners

KOTA KINABALU: There are 136,055 foreigners holding IMM13, Surat Burung-Burung and Census Certificates in Sabah who will be issued with the Government’s Temporary Sabah Pass or Pas Sementara Sabah (PSS) scheduled for June, next year under Phase One.Home Deputy Minister Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman (pic) said they are the early or original holders of the three documents that the government would cater for first before their children and dependants that may sum up to about 600,000 as a presumption. It could be more or less. He said the government would concentrate on this figure so that a proper census can be carried when they come to register for the PSS and their documents would be combined into a single pass which would be easier to identify them.

“I am aware that the Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin did target 600,000 foreigners in Sabah holding the three documents to be issued with PSS during the launching of this planned exercise of PSS.“Again I am explaining that the 600,000 is just a presumption that includes their children because there are parents who are both IMM13 holders and their children have no documents when the Immigration Department stopped issuing the 1MM13 document.“The number of their children has caused the number of foreigners to get the PSS to reach 600,000 as an estimation that could be more or less,” he said, after chairing a Technical Committee on Management of Foreigners in Sabah here on Monday.Azis said they are concerned first to streamline and coordinate holders of the three documents and do census because the government has no data on them.On why these IMM13 holders who are refugees could not be sent back to the Southern Philippines when the war had long ended, Azis said the main problem is because the Philippine Government refused to accept them.

“Bear in mind that the IMM13 holders have three to four generations in Sabah and I did pose the same question to former director-general of Immigration Department Datuk Mustafar Ali who briefed me that the IMM13 holders were sent to the Philippine embassy in Kuala Lumpur with the transportation cost borne by the government.“When interviewed by the Philippine officials, the holders were asked where they were born and where their homes are in the Philippine. They replied that they were born in Sabah and they do not know where their home towns were in the Philippines.“When asked whether they want to be sent back, the holders said they did not want. Thus, finally the embassy decided to reject them,” he said.“If the Philippines did accept them, then it would not be a problem to us, now. Well, if this matter can be easily done by the previous government with more than two decades ruling, I am sure they would have done it long ago before us (new government) which is less than two years governing the country. “The previous government was not capable of addressing the matter because they already know the reasons why it was difficult to tackle it. Yet some leaders who were from the previous government seem to purposely ask us why the holders could not be sent back when they know the reasons,” he said.Azis likened them to the Rohingya refugees in Kuala Lumpur which Myanmar did not recognise as their citizens when Malaysia wanted to send them back.That is why the Rohingyas are still in Kuala Lumpur as they do not have place or country to go back to and to compare them to the Philippine refugees (IMM13 holders), who claim to have been born in Sabah and thus do not want to be sent back.

Source: Daily Express