KOTA KINABALU August 2, 2011: The presence of illegal immigrants in Sabah will no longer be an issue after the latest registration exercise, said State Secretary Datuk Sukarti Wakiman.
He said there had already been four regularization exercises in Sabah prior to the 5P (Registration, Amnesty, Monitoring, Enforcement and Repatriation) programme held in the state.
“Since the state implemented the exercises in 1988, 1997, 2008 and 2009, I think the illegal immigrants issue should not be an issue in Sabah anymore,” he said yesterday.
Sukarti said the exercises in 2008 and 2009 registered a total of 474,584 illegal immigrants, and expected less illegal immigrants to turn up during the present 5P programme.
The 5P programme, which saw 116,898 illegal immigrants registered, was supposed to have ended yesterday but was extended till Aug 8.
“We have extended the registration period after considering the appeals from employers and those illegal immigrants who have still not registered themselves and their families,” Sukarti said, adding that there would be no more extension period after this.
The 5P programme in Sabah is different from that held in the peninsula where illegal immigrants in Sabah have to return to their countries of origin before coming back as legal workers.
Out of the nine registration centres statewide, Lahad Datu had the highest turnout with 37,891 people registered followed by Sandakan (34,058) and Tawau (27,630). Most of those who registered were Indonesians followed by Filipinos, and that more than half of the illegal immigrants came from the plantation sector.
"Kami menganggarkan kira-kira 500,000 pendatang asing tanpa izin akan tampil ke hadapan untuk mendaftarkan diri melalui program itu.
"Urusan ini akan dijalankan di sembilan lokasi di seluruh Sabah,"
Setiausaha Kerajaan Negeri Datuk Sukarti Wakiman