KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 6): The amnesty programme for illegal immigrants in Sabah is not aimed at granting citizenship or identity cards to them, said Deputy Home Minister Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman.
He said the programme was an initiative introduced by the new Pakatan Harapan Government to register the group for record following the uncontrolled entry of illegal immigrants into the State under the previous administration.
The Sepanggar MP said the programme was actually to get foreigners working illegally in Sabah to be registered to enable the Government to be in control of the situation especially those involved in crimes.
“I understand the matter was played up as a political issue in Sabah that purportedly the Government today was nurturing the illegal immigrants and was giving them citizenship.
“This is not true as the power to accord citizenship is under the Federal government and the approval for citizenship was also placed under the Home Ministry office,” he said when winding the debate on the motion of thanks for the royal address for his Ministry at Dewan Negara today.
Mohd Azis said the Government was seriously combating the inflow of illegal immigrants by repatriating 573,720 foreigners from 1990 to Sept 3.
He said cooperation with the Philippines Embassy also helped expedite the preparation of documents to send illegal immigrants back to their countries of origin.
Meanwhile, the Senate today passed the motion through a voice vote conducted by Deputy Dewan Negara President Datuk Seri Abdul Halim Abd Samad.
The Senate will sit again next Wednesday.