KOTA KINABALU: A massive crackdown against the thousands of illegal foreigners in Sabah is in the final stages of planning and set to kick off soon, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.
He added that the crackdown would initially focus on the state’s east coast, including Lahad Datu district which saw the intrusion of some 200 Sulu gunmen at Kampung Tanduo last February.
“The operation would then be carried out in other parts of Sabah,” said Musa, adding that the Immigration Department would also be carrying out statewide checks at factories and plantations to ensure employers and their workers were complying with the various laws and regulations.
The integrated operation is to be coordinated by the Federal Special Task Force on illegal immigrants.
It would involve the police, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), the military as well as the National Registration and Immigration departments, said Musa when responding to a question from Datuk Joniston Bangkuai (BN-Klias).
Musa added that the Eastern Sabah Security Command’s (Esscom) ongoing population census of those living at seaside settlements was the first step in a long-term plan to relocate them.
“Foreigners without any documents in these settlements would be referred to the Immigration Department for further action,” he said.
He added that some 8,190 foreigners were deported from Sabah between January and July and 6,209 comprised Filipino nationals.
The remainder comprised Indonesians (1,870), China nationals (38), Vietnamese (30), Pakistani (24), Nepalese (12), Indian nationals (three), Ukrainian (two) and one German and Bruneian each.
Musa said 5,130 more foreigners were detained during the same period after they were found to be staying in Sabah illegally.