KOTA KINABALU, June 11 — Unscrupulous groups have already started taking advantage of the Sabah’s impending datafication plans and are duping foreigners into spending up to RM300 for "official documents”, the state government said today.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said the state government has not begun the process and therefore no organisation has been given any contracts or are tasked with any official information gathering.

"I have received reports that there is a group that is carrying out this activity, issuing documents, and even charging up to RM300 per person.

"I implore the public not to be misled by these opportunists, who are only out to take advantage of these undocumented foreign workers and nationals," he said in a statement here.

He said the proposal to carry out datafication process of undocumented foreign workers and nationals in Sabah is still being reviewed and the Special Committee for Undocumented foreign workers and nationals has not even presented its full report to the Sabah cabinet.

"As such, the Sabah government has not assigned any department, agency or non-governmental organisation to collect data,” he said.

His statement today comes after a screenshot of a WhatsApp status was being spread, alleging that a "datafication registration” is currently underway in Inanam, and that a document is issued along with a picture of the registered undocumented foreigner for RM300 each.

Kitingan stated that the government has not decided to issue any cards to foreigners and that the special committee will only propose a datafication exercise for the time being, with the next course of action to address the illegal workers and nationals problem to be determined later.

"I warn any entity, particularly those who are involved in this latest syndicate, to stop the fraud immediately. Those who have been duped by them should lodge police reports so proper investigations can be carried out right away," he said.

The government is in the midst of proposing a solution to its perennial foreigner issue and is likely to introduce a foreigners’ card of some sort in an effort to regulate non-citizens in the state.