The Cabinet has approved the restructuring of the Committee on the Management of Foreign Nationals in Sabah (JKPWS) to address the issue of the residents’ identification documentation, said Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
He said the first meeting with Sabah Chief Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal pertaining to the committee would be held in the near future.
“I met with Chief Minister (Shafie) this morning and we have discussed to hold the meeting in the near future. One of the issues to be discussed is how to streamline the management of foreigners in Sabah as this problem has long been taking place in the state.
“During a meeting we also discussed how to improve the cooperation between the state and federal governments especially in relation to the security and well-being of the Sabahans,” he said.
He was speaking to reporters after a get-together with Home Ministry staff, agencies and departments, in conjunction with his working visit to Sabah today.
Muhyiddin said with the approval to restructure the JKPWS, the Immigration Department and the National Registration Department would have bigger responsibilities in dealing with the issue of illegal immigrants as well as looking for the best solution to address the problem.
Meanwhile, he said, the Sabah National Registration Department (NRD) would ask the villages’ chiefs across the state to voluntarily report on the births and deaths in their respective areas.
“Birth and death must be recorded so that no further problems arise such as stateless individuals and so on.
“I also ask the Sabahans who face problems registering to inform the nearest NRD offices so that the problem can be solved the best possible way,” he said.
Committee set up to address stateless children issue
Meanwhile, the stateless children issue in Sabah should be dealt with by the state and federal governments.
Commenting on the matter, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the government has the platform to address it by activating the Sabah Foreigners Management Committee.
“The main committee level is jointly chaired by the Sabah Chief Minister (Shafie) and the home minister (Muhyiddin).
"With this platform, we will not have overlapping roles by setting new committees to coordinate the problem,” she said when met by the media after opening the Beaufort Disaster Evacuation Centre in Beaufort today.
She said there are similar problems in the Peninsula but at the same time the government has to protect the rights of its citizens as well.
Recently, a private television station revealed a village near a rubbish dump in Sabah which was inhabited by a community including children who did not have citizenship.
Earlier, Wan Azizah officiated the RM5 million disaster evacuation centre for Beaufort district.
She said the centre which was built in December 2016, was completed in June last year with various facilities such as bathrooms, surau, kitchen and an operations room.
"The relief centre will provide victims of floods which occurred frequently here with proper shelter,” she said.