KOTA KINABALU: Following the shelving of the controversial Sabah Temporary Pass, or ‘PSS’ in its Malay acronym, both the Federal and State governments must now present a better solution to effectively resolve the perennial issue of the presence of huge number of illegal immigrants in Sabah, said Tan Sri T.C Goh, president of the Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong).

“The government is duty-bound to step up effort to resolve this issue, in order to ensure a sound security for the state and its people, which is paramount to the state’s economic development,” he reminded.

Goh who is also the president of the Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS) stressed this while officiating at the Chinese New Year gathering cum dinner for the elderly folks hosted by the Kota Kinabalu Hin Ann Association (KKHAA), at the Putera Theatre Banquet Hall, on Friday. Also in attendance were, Xiao Qing Wu, the deputy Chinese Consul General in Kota Kinabalu, Dato Sri Ngoh Kim Hua, president of The Federation of Heng Ann Associations Malaysia, president of KKHAA, *Simon Hong and* the organising chairman for the event, Regina Goh

Goh also welcomed and supported the State government’s decision to cancel the implementation of PSS which was supposed to be implemented on 1 of June this year, as announced by the Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal recently.

“We are indeed pleased with the Government’s decision in heeding the people’s objection to this controversial plan of granting the PSS to foreign immigrants, among them are the illegal immigrants,” he said.

He nonetheless reminded that though the PSS is now shelved for good, the foreigners and illegal immigrants issue affecting the state still remains and needs to be properly and thoroughly resolved.

He pointed out that currently out of the 3.9 million population of Sabah, one-third of it are the foreigners i.e. 2.74 million residents are Malaysians while 1.15 million are foreigners, and of this figure, it was estimated that 55,000 of them possessed various types of documents including the IMM13 document for the refugees, Kad Burung Burung and Kad Banci, and are allowed to work and conduct businesses in Sabah. However, the State Immigration Department has effectively stopped issuing such documents in 2013.

Goh concurred with the Chief Minister’s recent statement that it’s not easy to deport holders of such documents back to their country of origin as, it’s a complex issue which had existed for many decades.

He went on to note that official records showed that Sabah had between 1990 to 4 September 2019 deported 586,357 illegal immigrants. Despite such an effort, the illegal immigrants from the neighbouring country continued to sneak in to the state. This was mainly due to Sabah’s porous coastline of 1,400 kilometers, in the east coast especially, which thus made it rather challenging for the relevant authorities to prevent illegal cross-border activities.

Goh thus urged the State government to better liaise with the Federal government and the relevant government agencies, and to strive to find a better and effective solution for this perennial issue which had been besieging Sabah for many decades.-pr/BNN

Goh (centre) is joined by Wu (5th from right), Ngoh Kim Hua and Simon Hong in the Lao Shen session, at the function.