Thursday, June 26, 2008


KL to flush out illegals
Massive operation soon to send back immigrants without valid documents


The Federal Government will soon launch a massive operation to flush out illegal immigrants in Sabah, a protracted and highly-charged issue that has again been raised of late. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who yesterday announced the coming operation, said it would cover all identified foreign nationals who have no valid personal identification documents either from their homeland or from the Malaysian authorities. “We will deport them to the countries that are willing to accept them,” he told reporters after chairing the Special Cabinet Committee meeting on Illegal Immigrants in Sabah. Najib said this would be done after his meeting with Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders soon. So far, about 300,000 illegal immigrants from the State had been deported, according to him. Asked whether the decision was taken following pressure from BN Component Parties in Sabah, Najib said it was to reflect the Federal Government’s firm commitment to address the critical illegal immigrants’ issue in the State. He said the Federal Government had identified the issue as a serious problem and Sabahans want effective action to be taken. Stressing that illegal immigrants issue is a complex matter in Sabah, Najib said deporting the foreign nationals from the State would be dealt with step by step. “There are all sorts of claims, it’s a complex problem, let us handle it step by step,” he said when queried on allegations of the illegal immigrants being given Malaysian identity cards and other documents to legalise their stay in Sabah. On whether the operations would cover foreign nationals living in various settlements since the 1970s, Najib said it would. “Some of the settlements may be affected but these are the things we will check on the ground. But what is important is our firm commitment to tackle this problem,” he said. To another question on the root causes of the problem, Najib said there were many including the failure of the illegals to recognise the borders, in addition to the lure of economic opportunities in Sabah. “We also know some of them came in legally but they overstay and become illegal immigrants,” he added. - Bernama