Mixed signals on _citizenships_ for sabah illegals _ free malaysia today


KOTA KINABALU: The politicians on both sides on the one hand, and the private sector on the other , seem to be divided on a suggestion by the Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS) President T. C. Goh that third and fourth generation illegal immigrants needed for the labour force be granted permanent residence and/or “temporary citizenships”.

Sabah Resource Development and Information Technology Minister

Siringan Gubat, the latest politician to add his voice to the growing controversy, has warned that granting permanent residence and/or “temporary citizenships” to third and fourth generation illegals in Sabah would “compound the state’s long-standing migration issues”.

“It’s not feasible,” he said in flatly rejecting the proposal. “We don’t need such a policy to be implemented.”

“We have already experienced so much trouble because of the illegal immigrants. The Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants was clear on this.”

He rules out the prospects of the Sabah Government accepting the proposal. “Once we accept the illegal immigrants, even more would come here, expecting us to accept them.”

“The proposal creates a loophole to be exploited by illegal immigrants.”

The Sabah Restaurants Fellowship Association (SRFA) and the Sabah Builders Association (SBA) beg to differ with the politicians across the political divide.

SRFA President Kapitan Lim Vun Chan, who owns the popular Port View Seafood Village in Kota Kinabalu, disclosed that 80 per cent of eatery workers in Sabah are foreigners. “Politicians can say anything to gain support. They will not get our support because this is a serious issue which affects the restaurant sector.”

SBA President Cheong Kwee Min conceded that the construction industry in Sabah could not do without foreign workers. “At the moment, we fork out as much as RM3,500 per worker – excluding accommodation, transport and other expenses — to hire foreigners. We have to go through a complicated process.”

“The Pan Borneo Highway project would grind to a halt without foreign workers. They are skilled and can work longer hours than locals.”

Like Lim, Cheong urged the Sabah and Federal Governments to regularize illegal immigrants who are working in Sabah . Both industry leaders didn’t mention permanent residence and/or “temporary citizenships” for illegal immigrants, apparently aware that the proposal by FCAS was a political “hot potato”.


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