KOTA KINABALU: Sabah PPBM today welcomed the implementation of the programme to send illegal immigrants back to their original countries by the home ministry through the Immigration Department.
Liaison chief Hajiji Noor hoped this programme, which will be carried out in the peninsula, will be extended to Sabah.
The Sulaman assemblyman said Sabah has a huge number of illegal immigrants, a problem that has plagued the state for decades now.
“The people of Sabah have been waiting for such a programme to be implemented in Sabah. Many of us are increasingly worried by the continued influx of illegal immigrants.
“The concern is further heightened following the increase in crimes committed by illegal immigrants, including murders, armed robberies and many other violent crimes.”
He believed the programme would be able to restore peace and order in Sabah.
Hajiji was commenting on the announcement of the deportation programme by Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday.
Muhyiddin said illegal immigrants were committing offences under Section 15(1)(c) for overstaying and Section 6(1)(c) for not possessing legal travel documents under the Immigration Act 1959/63.
Any illegal immigrant wishing to participate in the deportation programme will have to pay a fine of RM700 and show proof of intention to return home.
The programme will be carried out by the Immigration Department without involving any third parties, including vendors or agents.
More than 200 immigration officers and personnel operating 80 counters all over the peninsula will be tasked with carrying out this programme.
In its effort to solve the illegal immigrant problem, the Sabah government has opted to regulate and register illegal workers, together with their families, despite protests from Sabahans.
Many Sabahans prefer that these people be sent back to their original countries.
They can then come back into Sabah through legal channels instead of sneaking in through the backdoor and be rewarded for it with documents from the state government.