KOTA KINABALU, Jan 26, 2016:
Sabah Progressive Party president Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee is confident that issuing Sabah IC (identity card) to genuine Malaysians in the state is the way forward, especially in solving its long standing immigration problem.

The former chief minister said in any case, the Sabah ICs would be able to provide fast relevant background about a person, including their origins, among others, overcoming the current system which was unable to provide such information.

Referring to the mysterious Sabahan man recently picked up by police with six other suspected terrorists in Johor, he said it was odd for the authorities to be still in the dark about his identity.

Recently, Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun said the police was still investigating the identity of the 31-year-old suspect, and whether he was a Sabahan or a foreigner holding a Malaysian document.

It is common for foreigners to illegally obtain Malaysian identity cards from syndicates and make their way to the Peninsular Malaysia to seek employment.

“With the Sabah IC, thanks to information available, the police will be able to acquire his background in no time, including establishing his former schools, his family, social circle and employment history.

“Such information would be useful not only for preventive actions against terrorist attacks, but also in conducting ‘deradicalisation’ programmes for the future,” he said in a statement today.

Expressing his bewilderment over the little information police have on the Sabahan suspect, he said: “I would have thought that before the police arrested the terror suspect, the police would have uncovered his activities, and, therefore his identity, before nabbing him.”

He further noted that instead of solving Sabah’s issues on illegal immigration or foreigners illegally obtaining Malaysian documents, the dismal failure of the federal government in protecting the sanctity of citizenship documents, such as MyKad, had exposed the vulnerabilities of our national security.

“Therefore, the Sabah government should immediately set up a department to issue Sabah ICs to genuine Malaysians in Sabah,” he concluded.

SAPP and other local parties from both divide had voiced their concern over the long-standing immigration issues, and the Sabah IC was one of the recommendations given to the Technical Committee set up following the unveiling of the Royal Commission of Inquiry on illegal immigrants in Sabah a couple of years ago.

To date, no decisions have been made over the recommendations, and Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, who heads the Technical Committee, said it might come sometime this year.


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