Five permanent checkpoints will be built and upgraded throughout Sabah to prevent the entry of illegal immigrants, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar. These checkpoints with lighting facilities will be located at Jalan Tawau-Kunak, Jalan Papar-Beaufort, Jalan Sandakan-Telupid, Jalan Sipitang-Tenom and Jalan Pensiangan-Kalabakan. Syed Hamid said two controlling centres would also be set up at Wallace Bay and Sg Melayu in Sebatik to maintain security and harmony of the islands near the boundary. Speaking at a press conference at the district police station here yesterday morning, Syed Hamid said the entry of illegal immigrants was a national issue and the figure was not exactly accurate. “More than 2.1 million foreign workers are working in our country where 220,000 are working in Sabah. “It was learnt that there are one million of illegal immigrants in Peninsular Malaysia and 89,000 in Sabah. From the year 2001 until 2008, a total of 122,000 illegal immigrants have been deported from the State while 161,000 have been detained for investigation,” said the Minister who was making a visit to Sabah. “It is not an easy task for us to solve it because it concerns logistics and enforcement between boundaries. The Government wishes to reduce such problem to zero level with the cooperation from all the parties. It is important to solve the problem appropriately,” he pointed out. Touching on the stateless issue, Syed Hamid said a committee had been set up to solve the illegal immigrants problem. “A few groups maybe formed based on their (illegal immigrants) categories. Many matters should be studied deeply, including the sensitivity of the local situation,” he said. Syed Hamid also said his Ministry was concerned over the drug smuggling problem in Sabah which has become serious. Sabah is a strategic place for the smugglers to transit the drugs to other countries. Hence, all the parties should cooperate and act seriously to eradicate the problem, he said. Also present at the press conference were Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Noor Rashid Ibrahim and District Police Chief ACP Jaafar Yusof.