KUCHING, Oct 17: The Sarawak government will not relax its immigration policy without thorough and careful consideration.
According to a statement from the Chief Minister’s Office, the present immigration policy remains status quo.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had recently been reported as saying that the time will come when Sabahans can enter Sarawak without being subjected to any conditions.
He was reported to have said Sabahans may enter or leave Sarawak with no fees imposed.
“There are some aspects that we need to look at and in fact for Sabah and Sarawak, there are no problems with that.
“But, there are some factors that need to be understood and taken into account, including geopolitical factors,” Abang Johari was quoted as saying at a press conference in Kota Kinabalu recently.
Responding to the news report, the Chief Minister’s Office “wishes to clarify that what the Chief Minister said in response to a reporter’s question in Kota Kinabalu recently did not in any way suggest that such a relaxation would be implemented without thorough and careful considerations of the social and geopolitical conditions including the problem of refugees”.
“The Chief Minister clearly stated that the present arrangement still stands,” according to the Chief Minister’s Office in a statement today.
Meanwhile, following news reports of Abang Johari’s statement made in Kota Kinabalu, many local leaders in Sarawak including those from Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP), State Reform Party (STAR) and Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) have come out with statements highlighting the possible security issues that Sarawak may face if Sarawak were to adopt an open border policy towards Sabah.
In their views, Sabah is plagued with the issue of a significant number of illegal immigrants and the opening of Sarawak to Sabahans may cause the problem to spill over to Sarawak.
It is also a concern as Sabah may be seen as a gateway for foreign terrorists to enter Sarawak. — DayakDaily