KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal clarified that the issuance pass to register children of IMM13 holders was handled by the Immigration Department, a department under the federal government.
Mohd Shafie said he was shocked after finding out the matter and ordered the registration of children of parents with IMM13 pass to be halted immediately.
“We (state government) do not know (the registration of children of IMM13 pass holders). When I was chairing the Security Council meeting two or three days ago, the issue was not brought up or discussed as we only discussed the best way to tighten security at the state border.
“I was shocked when I got to know the issue when in Kuching Sarawak. I immediately directed them to stop accepting applications from children of IMM13 pass holders as we have no prior knowledge on the matter,” he said.
Mohd Shafie was commenting on the issuance of IMM13 pass to children of such pas holders in Sabah and Labuan after opening the 15th UPKO Triennial General Meeting here today.
Yesterday, the Immigration Department in Sabah halted registration of children of IMM13 pass holders in Sabah and Labuan immediately.
Earlier, a video recording showing a large crowd believed to be foreigners gathering at the Immigration Department Special Unit office at Wisma Dang Bandang near here went viral on social media which drew various perceptions alleging the issuance of the document was to facilitate them obtain identity cards to become local residents.
For the record, the registration of IMM13 was halted in 2013 when the document was issued to Filipino refugees who ran to Sabah in the 70’s following a political crisis in the southern region of the country.
Mohd Shafie said the issue linked IMM13 was not discussed at the State Cabinet and he gave his commitment to overcome the issue and ensured it would not recur in future.
He said application for self identification document by illegal immigrants should not be entertained and they should instead be sent back to their original country because the government spent thousands of ringgit to hold them in the Red House (Temporary Detention Centre).
In this regard, the state government also wanted a proactive and efficient approach taken to combat the issue among Sabah local residents especially in the interior who do not have identification documents.
In a related development, Mohd Shafie said the state government wanted the power of federal government in handling personal identification documentation especially for Sabah residents to be transferred to the state government to ensure the issue of illegal immigrants in the state is comprehensively resolved.