Malaysian lawmakers for crackdown on illegal migrants

May 26th, 2008 - 3:18 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, May 26 (DPA) Malaysian politicians urged the government to intensify efforts to detain and deport undocumented immigrants in Sabah state on Borneo, news reports said Monday. The state’s deputy chief minister, Joseph Pairin Kitingan, said there was an urgent need to set up a royal commission of inquiry to deal with the increasing number of undocumented migrants in the eastern state.

“Regardless of whether a royal commission of inquiry or a select committee is established to deal with the problem, police and immigration operations to nab the illegal migrants should continue and in fact, be intensified,” Pairin said Sunday.

“We must be really serious in protecting our citizens and sovereignty of our country,” he was quoted as saying by the official Bernama news agency.

Sabah is home to hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants, most of whom come from the neighbouring Philippines.

Many of the migrants have lived in the state all their lives and have neither Malaysian nor Philippine citizenship.

Lawmakers from the state have urged the government to come up with a solution to deal with the problem of increasing illegal immigration, saying the growing numbers posed a threat to locals.

“There are children of the illegal immigrants who are born here, and they don’t know the language of their own country,” said Anifah Aman, a member of parliament. “They also don’t have any identification documents.”

Anifah said the problem needed to be addressed by both the Malaysian and Philippine government.

“We can’t just take an easy path and just send them to the middle of the ocean and release them there. This involves international laws,” Anifah was quoted as saying by the Malay-language Berita Harian daily.

The Malaysian government frequently conducts raids on illegal immigrant settlements, nabbing and deporting the migrants.

However, in Sabah’s case, the Philippines has refused to receive the migrants because they are also not Philippines nationals.

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