KOTA KINABALU: NGO Angkatan Perpaduan Sabah (APS) urged the Government at Federal and State-level to get tough on illegal immigrants (PATI) in Sabah, make it as part of the drastic measures for curbing Covid-19 pandemic.

Its Vice President, Paul Kadau, who made the call, also suggested that if possible, the State Government to include measures or plan on eradicating PATI in Sabah in the five-year Sabah Maju Jaya (SMJ) Development Plan which is expected to be launched in the middle of this month.

He said the Government must employ drastic measures to catch and deport illegal immigrants in Sabah and consider this as part of the measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the State.

He said this is simply because it is much easier to control the movement of the locals than the PATI, who always carelessly move around and thus may fail the efforts by the Government to effectively curb the spread of the pandemic.

“Just look at those PATI involved in illegal businesses like cigarette peddling on the five foot ways in the city and almost all towns in the State. They continue to wander around and sell contraband cigarettes whether it is Movement Control Order (MCO) or not.

“If any of them were infected Covid-19, they would easily spread it to the buyers who in turn spread it further to others,” he said in a statement Tuesday, adding the same with those including Pakistanis who would go around and everywhere including to remote villages to sell their goods who have the potential to spread the virus.

“These people do not care about MCO or standard operating procedures (SOP),” he stressed.

He also suggested the Government’s security and enforcement agencies conduct house-to-house checks in the squatter colonies and water villages to track down the PATI and take appropriate action against them as they may be a virus carrier.

“The Government needs to give a serious focus on the PATI problem in Sabah and take immediate action to catch and deport them as soon as possible.

“Lack of foreign workers should no longer be used as an excuse with the increasing number of locals becoming jobless now who would be willing to fill up any job openings as long as it comes with an appropriate amount of salary,” he said. Pr/BNN