Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that the government will soon launch a massive operation to flush out illegal immigrants in Sabah. He said those without valid documents will be deported to a country that is willing to accept them. What that means,I am not sure. One thing I know for sure not many countries will accept them if they are not citizens of the country.Even the Philippines government have refused to accept its own citizens.
There are many Filipinos and Indonesians in Sabah who are paperless because they destroyed their travel documents to erase any hint of them being Filipinos or Indonesians.There have been cases where the Philippines government have refused to issue travel documents to allow them to return to their country after being arrested by our security forces.
The Philippines government refusal to open consulate office in the state to expedite issuance of travel documents to its citizens and not dropping its claims on Sabah should be viewed as unfriendly and a form of aggression towards Malaysia.The Indonesians have been more accommodating with repatriation of her citizens.They have two consulate offices in Sabah.
Many Filipinos are languishing in detention camps at the expense of the Malaysian taxpayers because the bloody irresponsible and shameless Philippines government couldn't care less about its citizens. Every government that came along had ignored the problems leaving the burden to the people of Sabah to bear.
The Federal government past indifference to the problem is a permeation of its arrogance when it was less politically vulnerable and conveniently chose to ignore the plea of Sabahans to deal with the problems.
Let's hope this time it is not another exercise to pull the wool over Sabahans' eyes like all previous exercises, as the Malay idiom, panas-panas tahi ayam (temporal heat of chicken shit) says of such gestures that is insincere and short-lived.
Just rounding up those illegals and sending them back to their home country is not going to remove the thorn in the flesh.Almost all of those that have been sent back, somehow, returned either illegally, some with the help of corrupt personnel in our enforcement and security forces and others with the help of equally corrupt Immigration officers of their home country, given new passport with new identity. The vicious cycle goes round and round and we would be back to square one unless something concrete, sincere and viable is implemented.
As the Philippines government are not helpful and not responding to our appeal, harsh measures must be taken to resolve the problem once and for all.
The Federal government should consider doing all of the following.
1.The task force empowered to flush out illegals should comprise at least 30% Sabahans.The reason behind this is that the personnel from Peninsula can't tell the difference between the 'ducks and the chickens', only Sabahans can tell whether they are illegal immigrants or not.
2.Close the border with the Philippines for the next six months to incoming traffic and repatriate as many illegals as possible during the period.
3.All illegals, before being sent back, must be photographed and fingerprinted and such details to be made available on all Immigration computers at all entry points in Sabah. If poor country like Cambodia can keep a bank of photographs of all its visitors to the country, no reason Malaysia not able to do so, as long as no one profit too much from purchase of the software and equipments.
4.Refuse re-entry of those that have been sent back and only allow those with confirmed employment contract to enter.
5.Increase air and sea surveillance of the sea borders with our neighbours.
6.Naturalise those who had been here for two decades or more.
The government is either ignorant or closed its eyes to the massive corruption within the enforcement agencies.Here lies the most insidious disease of all and one which can easily be wiped out if there were strong will to do so.
It's time the government carry out intense indoctrination of the enforcement agencies on the importance of patriotism and the dire consequence of taking bribes from illegal immigrants.
Ask both legitimate and illegal immigrants or any Sabahan for that matter about the infamous check point at Mile 38 Kota Kinabalu-Sandakan-Tawau highway. How some of those manning the check point were rumoured to be able to collect more than what the Prime Minister is paid.The check point has since been closed down.
Sabahans have to be practical about this long-standing issue and not be too unreasonable and demand the impossible as expressed by some KDM leaders that they want the state to be totally rid of all Filipinos and Indonesians.
On humanitarian ground, as much as we hated it, some of those who have been here for decades should be considered for naturalisation.
To think that only Sabahans are faced with this problem is a fallacy.The U.S have similar problem with its Hispanic neighbour and many European countries faced similar threat from influx of African and Asian immigrants legal or otherwise.
Sabah is in a sorrier state because there are just too many of them which require some cleaning up by the Federal government.
Let's hope this is not another 'panas-panas tahi ayam'