KOTA KINABALU, June 14 — The Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA) intends to standardise the documentation of foreign nationals from the Philippines in Sabah by using only using one document, namely, IMM13, as among the strategies to facilitate identification of undocumented migrants from that country.
Its minister, Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said the government would not issue any new document to the group but was instead looking at using an existing document to avoid any confusion.
“No (to issuing new document)... We have IMM13 ... At the moment that’s the only one that we are trying to look at (using only one document),” he told reporters after a visit to the Menggatal Temporary Detention Centre (TDC) here, today.
IMM13 is one of the documents issued to citizens of the Philippines with refugee status, in addition to other documents such as the Census Certificate issued during the Federal Special Task Force legalisation programme and the Kad Burung Burung programme of the 1970s to the 1990s.
Hamzah said the use of only one document such as IMM13 was also to smoothen the process of sending the group back to their home countries.
For the record, Hamzah said there were about 136,000 undocumented migrants in the state using identification documents including IMM13, Census Certificate and Kad Burung Burung.
“The government feels there is no need for so many documents to be issued to foreigners. As such, we want to rectify this so that only one card is used and the rest canceled.
“This is a strategy to enable regularisation to be done (and then) we can contact the embassies of the countries involved to inform them about their people (in Sabah) so that they are given proper documents.
“If they (foreigners) can get the right document, they can work here in our country but as foreign nationals and registered as foreign workers,” he said.
Meanwhile, Hamzah said his ministry intended to send all 7,000 undocumented migrants at the TDC throughout Sabah because the government was forced to allocate a huge expenditure to manage the group.
However, MOHA would resolve the matter in stages including holding discussions with the Sabah government to address the issue after receiving detailed information on the matter, he said.
The people of Sabah were also asked to co-operate with the agencies under MOHA in an effort to overcome the flood of undocumented migrants in the state, he said. — Bernama