Sabah to proceed with ‘foreigner ID card’, says deputy chief minister

Kitingan said the Sabah government wanted to start the process as soon as possible and had considered putting in place the necessary mechanisms. — Photo by Firdaus Latif

By Julia Chan

Thursday 02 June 2022 17:53 MYT

KOTA KINABALU, 2 June – Sabah is set to move forward with the implementation of an ID card for foreign nationals in the state following majority consensus at a public meeting here.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Jeffrey Kitingan said a favorable response from the meeting of opposition politicians, non-governmental organizations and indigenous groups was akin to a green light the state needed to proceed. his plan to regulate “inland strangers”.

“It was a good session. Now you can say we have a mandate to do data collection and then give identity to foreigners in Sabah,” he said.

He said the process will involve building a digital data bank that can be updated at any time.

“It will be an integrated data system that will be monitored by authorities under the Home Office and other enforcement agencies,” he said.

An earlier voting session saw 89% of participants in favor of the ID card, while 99% voted in favor of digitizing data.

Kitingan said the outcome of the public session will be compiled into a report by the committee tasked with resolving the issue. It will then be submitted to the state government before being presented to the Ministry of the Interior.

The project will focus on “inland” aliens – those who hold various immigration documents like the “burung burungand the IMM13 document – while others are “normal immigration or legal issues”.

“We are still naming the document. As you have noticed, the use of the word “card” is sensitive, whatever the card. Some suggestions called it ‘kad warga asing‘ Where ‘kad bukan warganegara‘ or just ‘digital map’,” he said.

“Anyway, we will take into consideration the issue of human rights and our sovereignty,” he added.

Kitingan said the state wants to start the process as soon as possible and has considered putting the mechanisms in place.

During today’s open session, Kitingan was on the panel along with representatives from the State Department of Immigration, Police, Office of International Affairs and Research of the Chief Minister’s Department , the National Security Council and the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam), among others.

Kitingan, who heads the state’s special committee tasked with resolving the issue, said the report has been drafted and will soon be presented to the state cabinet.

He oversees the report after gathering input from law enforcement authorities, political leaders, affected groups and community leaders on how best to address the issue of undocumented aliens in the state.

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