PM orders Immigration Dept to prioritise processing undocumented migrants in Sabah to contain Covid-19

Undocumented migrants from Indonesia are seen at the Tawau Ferry Terminal June 3, 2020. — Bernama pic
Undocumented migrants from Indonesia are seen at the Tawau Ferry Terminal June 3, 2020. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9 — Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today said he has directed the Immigration Department to prioritise the management of detained undocumented migrants that have slipped into Sabah as Malaysia faces its third wave of Covid-19.

The prime minister maintained that these undocumented migrants were the cause of the current wave of Covid-19 cases in the north Borneo state.

“I have also instructed the Malaysian Immigration Department to focus more on the management of illegal immigrants in Sabah, which has become one of the causes of the Covid-19 pandemic spreading in the state.

“This includes the need to increase the capacity of the Immigration Detention Depots to house these detained illegal immigrants while ensuring all those in detention are not exposed to the risk of contracting Covid-19,” he said in a statement after chairing a special National Security Council (NSC) meeting to discuss the epidemic in the country.

Muhyiddin and several other members of his Cabinet have been in self-quarantine since Islamic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri tested positive for Covid-19.

Muhyiddin said other issues raised in today’s NSC meeting included discussions on whether or not to close schools in the state due to the high infection rate.

He said an official announcement would be made by the Education Ministry concerning the matter in due time.

Also discussed was hospital capacities for those treating Covid-19 patients, with Muhyiddin saying the Health Ministry would discuss joint efforts to treat these patients together with the Armed Forces.

“The meeting had agreed that the Health Ministry will discuss with the Malaysian Armed Forces to receive assistance from them in the form of medical equipment that can be offered by the Armed Forces’ Medical Corp,” Muhyiddin wrote.

Since early September, Sabah has become a red zone for Covid-19.

Many Malaysians see the statewide election on September 26 as the trigger for this latest wave.

A total of 274 new cases were recorded in Sabah today, with the total number of Covid-19 infections within the state currently at 1,901 cases.

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